Early this year DR Horton headed into College Station with a splash. Signs went up and promotions abounded. Their first subdivision they built in was called Dove Crossing. On December 19th KBTX, one of our local TV stations ran a story about DR Horton and how they have attempted, largely unsuccessfully, to compete in the Bryan/College Station market. Out of the 78 lots they purchased in Dove Crossing, only 35 have been built on, and many of those 35 are still for sale. Currently they are offering steep cobroker fees and paying closing costs for consumers.
What went wrong? Randall Pitcock, our local Homebuilders Association President, asserted that he believes they weren't able to offer the personal service that many of the homebuilders around this area do. He went on to state that the builders here see the consumers at community functions and that builds trust. Interestingly enough the article also stated that we have more builders here, per capita, than anywhere else in Texas.
I hate to disagree with the estimed Mr. Pitcock (who by the way does offer a fine house and good follow through!), but these same builders who go to church with the consumers and see them at the grocery store, in many cases don't seem to think that follow through, or warranty issues are of great importance and cause grief to their clients in the end. I don't feel that it has anything to do with building trust, after all one of the nations largest homebuilders is likely to stand by their product.
DR Horton, in my opinion, entered the market without studying it enough first. Dove Crossing is a neighborhood with homes priced in the middle of our range, 140-155K. One problem with that is their is competition galore in that price range. The homes that they built had a minimum of amenities, lacking common features such as bull-nose corners, crown moulding and ceramic tile. The next subdivision down is obviously a low cost subdivision with only one side brick to each home and extremely small yards. To add insult to injury the subdivision is located across from a heavily student oriented neighborhood with duplexes galore. In fact, in one of the homes I showed the master bath features a large window (with no frosted glass, or glass blocks) that faces these duplexes across the street. DR Horton, apparently had another subdivision in mind when they moved here, and that one was right next to the highway. We are small town America here. In Houston, Dallas, Austin, or other extremely populated areas buyers may be accustomed to living near a freeway or duplexes, but not in our area.
I believe that DR Horton could have made it given an intense study of the area and talking to clients as well as agents to see what is needed in the area. Too bad they didn't.