Step of faith

OKC cou­ple’s home­build­ing com­pany grows with the mar­ket de­spite giv­ing up Sun­days.

The Oklahoman - - FRONT PAGE - BY RICHARD MIZE Real Es­tate Ed­i­tor [email protected]­la­homan.com

Au­then­tic Cus­tom Homes com­mit­ted heresy as far as busi­ness is con­cerned, but de­cid­ing to close on Sun­days — ev­ery­thing: of­fice, model homes, staff phones — was a step for­ward in faith. Busi­ness, it turns out, didn’t suf­fer a bit, said Brandi Woods, co-owner with her hus­band Kenyon. In fact, it grew, as the pair ex­panded their work from the north­west part of the metro area into Choctaw and Stillwater. Model homes were closed Sun­days start­ing in Jan­uary 2017. “Most peo­ple em­braced it. We did have some push back both in­ter­nally and out­side of the com­pany ini­tially, but we stood strong that this was our new nor­mal,” Wood said. Au­then­tic started 59 homes and closed on sales of 42 in 2016; started 61 and sold 61 in 2017; and started 87 this year, which will see 70 sales, Woods said. “The com­mu­nity has em­braced the fact that we are closed on Sun­day and now our model homes are busy on Satur­day,” she said. “Real­tors are wel­come to show our homes on Sun­day, but our staff will fol­low up on Mon­day, as their phones are off. I keep my phone on, just in case some­thing is ur­gent, but rarely does it ring as peo­ple are now used to our hours.” Au­then­tic’s growth helped push con­struc­tion up 4.9 per­cent through Novem­ber in the Ok­la­homa City area com­pared with the same pe­riod last year, ac­cord­ing to The Builder Re­port by Dharma Inc. in Nor­man. Builders started 4,526 houses, com­pared with 4,315 through Novem­ber 2017, in Ok­la­homa City, un­in­cor­po­rated Ok­la­homa County, Bethany, Blan­chard, Choctaw, Ed­mond, Mid­west City, Moore, Mus­tang, New­cas­tle, No­ble, Nor­man, Shawnee and Yukon, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. The in­crease wasn’t as great as in the same pe­riod 2016-2017, when the num­ber of starts went up 7.4 per­cent — but con­struc­tion has been pos­i­tively rosy in 2018 com­pared to 2015-2016, when starts fell 17.3 per­cent. This year has had “a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing: ris­ing in­ter­est rates, never-end­ing rain in Au­gust, an elec­tion, and more,” said Steve Shoe­maker, vice pres­i­dent of sales and mar­ket­ing at Ideals Homes of Nor­man. “We had a re­ally con­ser­va­tive fore­cast mov­ing into the year. Then the first quar­ter jumped out of the gate with the strong­est sales for a quar­ter that we’ve ever seen at Ideal Homes,” he said. “The sales lev­eled off, but stayed con­sis­tent through­out the year.” Shoe­maker said Ideal saw sur­pris­ing upticks in de­mand this year in Moore and south­west Ok­la­homa City, es­pe­cially in its Feather­stone ad­di­tion, on the north side of SW 164 west of S West­ern Av­enue, and Na­tive Plains ad­di­tion, north of SW 164 on the east side of S Penn­syl­va­nia Ave. “We can’t get lots off the ground fast enough to meet de­mand,” he said. “When all the dust set­tles, 2018 will be the sec­ond best year of rev­enue in Ideal Homes’ 28-year his­tory.” Woods said 2018 will go on

Au­then­tic Cus­tom Homes’ books as a suc­cess in more ways than one be­cause of the Sun­day clos­ings.

“This com­pany is built on Chris­tian val­ues and we value fam­ily and peo­ple above all else. It was time to take that bold step of faith,” she said. “We have had con­sid­er­able growth over the past two years and great op­por­tu­ni­ties have

come our way as we be­lieve that God is open­ing doors and bless­ing this com­pany.

“Not ev­ery­one has a pul­pit to preach from, but we be­lieve that ev­ery­one has a plat­form, and we are us­ing the plat­form that we have been given to spread

the love of Christ. Putting fam­ily first — ours, our cus­tomers, and that of our em­ploy­ees — is very im­por­tant. Af­ter all, fam­ily is what fills the homes that we build. What could be more im­por­tant than that?”

[PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

Au­then­tic Cus­tom Homes is build­ing this home at 12916 Fire­rock Cir­cle in The Porches at Pon­derosa ad­di­tion on the east side of County Line Road north of Me­mo­rial Road.

[PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OK­LA­HOMAN AR­CHIVES]

Kenyon and Brandi Woods, co-own­ers of Au­then­tic Cus­tom Homes, are shown in one of the com­pany’s model homes, which are closed on Sun­days.

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