Drees Custom Homes – Texas Division

In-house design and customization of production homes are competitive advantages of Drees Custom Homes, the Texas division of national homebuilder Drees Homes, says Texas Regional President David Harbin. “We give our customers personal attention, and we have outstanding architectural plans,” Harbin says. “It all begins with strong designs and our ability to execute on the highest quality results for our customers. We allow our homebuyers to customize based on their lifestyle and preferences. Most builders in the production category will not offer this level of customization. We consider ourselves a high-end production/custom builder, and we’re heavily focused on delivering our ‘Custom Homes Made Easy’ brand promise.”

Drees Custom Homes opened its first office in Dallas in 1984 and in Austin in 1998. Drees Homes is ranked as the 23rd-largest national home builder by Builder magazine, and besides its Texas locations, it has homebuilding operations in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio; Nashville, Tenn.; Raleigh, N.C.; Frederick, Md.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Indianapolis; and Washington, D.C. In 2015, Harbin expects the Texas division to build more than 500 homes and Drees Homes nationwide to build more than 1,600 homes.

The company is entering the Houston market by building in three existing Houston communities. These communities are Woodtrace, where Drees’ first Houston model home is now underway; the new East Village of Harper’s Preserve, which features premium home sites; and Summer Lakes, which is located in Rosenburg. Drees Custom Homes will be offering its Austin and Dallas floor plans along with developing new plans specifically for Houston.

Due to the many exceptional developers in Texas, Drees Custom Homes hand-selects developers to work with rather than developing its own properties.

Start With a Plan

Customers building a Drees home first select one of the company’s home plans. “We have extensive customization options for every plan,” Harbin says. “We allow them to make changes to expand their family room, or add media rooms, for example. If they want to further personalize it, we allow them to do that, too. We have an in-house architectural team based in Fort Mitchell, Ky., that will redraw plans specifically as desired for individual customers.”

When plans are finalized, customers then visit the Drees design center in their metropolitan area to select their colors and finishes and make other choices. Once construction starts, Drees’ employees called “builders” coordinate construction of the home with customers and subcontractors that the company considers its trade partners. “We’ve got to have a high-quality vendor base that knows and appreciates how we do things,” Harbin stresses. “We negotiate with them to get the best price we can; yet we always make sure that we’re running our business so that our trade partners are also profitable.”

Harbin relies on the experience of the company’s builders. “We’ve got a really strong production group,” he declares. “The average tenure of our builders is an impressive 13 years, not including the three we just hired for expansion reasons. Part of our success in having and retaining exceptional builders is our commitment to our college recruiting and builder trainee program. It’s an excellent program because graduates are trained on how we do things. That has proven to strengthen the quality of our product and our team as a whole.”

Preconstruction meetings are held with customers, and changes can be made until a cut-off point before construction starts. “A salesperson or marketing manager can write a change order and send that out to whoever needs it, but we do have parameters that we have to operate under to ensure efficiency,” Harbin insists.

Once construction starts, the builders speak with customers weekly. They also review with them the entire house’s mechanical and electrical systems before drywall is installed. “The pre-drywall walk-through is really critical for catching any changes that need to be made,” Harbin declares.

Awards Winner

The Dallas Builders Association announced the winners of its 35th Annual McSAM Awards on April 10 at a gala held at the Hotel InterContinental. The McSAM Awards are held each spring to recognize “maximum creativity in sales and marketing.” Drees Custom Homes won several awards, including the prestigious “Builder of the Year” honor.

Industry experts from around the country judged more than 300 entries that were submitted this year. The awards were presented by the Dallas Builders Association in partnership with PIRCH™. 

Drees has been one of the few to receive the home building industry’s “Triple Crown” – National Builder of the Year, National Housing Quality Award and America’s Best Builder. Locally, Drees builds in more than 20 communities throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. )

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