Stately Builders Featured in Metropolitan Builder July 2015February 3, 2016
Stately Homes More than a Custom Builder
By Kathy Bowen Stolz
While many builders focus only on producing custom homes, Stately Homes of Katy is much more, according to Ted More, president of Stately Homes. “We do remodeling, build additions and provide handyman services. We also serve as project managers for other builders and developers.”
More said the company each year builds five custom homes, ranging from $500,000 to $1 million and from 4,000 to 7,000 sq. ft., for which it use architects and engineers to design. Its projects range from 700 to 7,000 sq ft. This is summer the company is experiencing a high demand for out door kitchens, covered patios and kitchen remodels.
However, Stately Homes’ staff serves as project managers for 40-50 town homes that it oversees each year. “We’ve had great success over the last 10 years as project managers for smaller developers. It’s a lower risk for us and allows us to expand our brand and our product through ventures with other developers.”
“since 2004, there’s been a huge transformation of the Heights area. This is largely attributed to the explosion of the town home market. Our town homes are three or four stories, 2,000 to 3,000 sq ft and sell for $450,000 to $550,000.”
He added that rooftop terraces are increasingly popular because they allow residents to enjoy a spectacular view of downtown Houston.
Because of Stately Homes’ typical town home client is a young professional who is building his or her first home, Ted put a detailed explanation of the building process with corresponding timelines on the company website, www.buildstately.com. He said the details help the clients understand the process while aligning expectations for the completion of their town home.
“Customer service begins on Day One with appropriate expectations,” More noted. “Early on, we recognized that if we try to satisfy the customer, not the bottom line, we’d be successful. We don’t spend much money on marketing. Our business is strictly referral-based and it’s grown every year.”
Flexibility is one element that sets Stately Homes apart from other builders, More said. Being easy to work with and communicating any delays helps build good customer service, too.
A college class sparked Ted’s interest in building. A finance and real estate major, More graduated from Texas Christian University in 2001. “I was lucky enough that a real estate class my senior year featured land development and got me fascinated with building. I got a job with a production builder and started working the day after graduation.”
More started Stately Homes in 2006 after spending five years working for production builders in Houston. “I soaked in as much as I could, because I always had a goal to start my own business. Chris Trlicek was especially helpful in teaching me how to be a project manager. My parents, Ted and Teresa More have always been supportive. This allowed me to launch Stately Homes with the help of a construction loan and a single credit card. Shortly thereafter, I was recruited by a developer to build town homes in the Heights.”
Although many builders name their companies after themselves, More chose the name Stately Homes because it calls to mind the image of a “grand estate.” However, he is frequently called “Mr. Stately” by bankers and the like, he said with a chuckle.
He noted that his extensive building of town homes in the Heights area has created a “Stately Homes presence” in that area. He has also built in the Rice Military and Montrose areas, but he builds all over the greater Houston area.
The Company is growing. Between 2006 and 2010 Stately built three or four custom homes each year. But a move in 2010 back to his hometown of Katy changed his business. Ted and his family moved to WoodCreek Reserve, where he built his personal home and a spec home.
He expanded his business when he purchased 15 lots that other builders had relinquished in that neighborhood during the economic downturn. “that opportunity had a significant impact on the success of our company.”
Ted has his eyes open to other opportunities. He said he just signed the papers to purchase 31 acres in Katy which he will co-develop. “We worked with a local realtor to find land because we needed to create our own opportunity. Well-known developers attract larger builders than us, making it challenging to enter the production market.” He is partnering with another builder to build 100 homes that will be in the $350,00 to $400,000 range.
“With this project, we’re kind of going back to our roots, but it’s appropriate to meet the huge market demand. This is a great location in the city of Katy. Katy is just booming. It’s one of the hottest zip codes in America. Our goal is to sell out the homes in the next three years.”
More was the sole employee when he started Stately Homes, but now there are four employees: an office-based director of operations, a project manager in the field, and two superintendents. In his role as president, Ted focuses on finances, purchasing and budgets in addition to handling sales.
He said it can be challenging to make sure all of the details in building a home are taken care of. But he noted that building is an organizational process. “We plan it all in advance and then execute. It makes for a successful building process.”
More said he enjoys training and participating in Ironman competitions and regularly attending TCU football games. H has an interest in flying, but there’s no occupation he’d rather be doing than building.
“My real passion is being out in the field, working with the trades. I really enjoyed being in the trenches in the early days. I’m an on-site guy. I get out to the job sites at least twice a week. I love to see the progression, the transformation of turning of what was a field into a home. It’s really rewarding to drive by a house and think, Wow! I built that!”