You’ve heard it before; location, location, location. Choosing the community you build in can be just as important as picking out the floor plan or selections for your new home. On this episode we bring in Patrick Gillis, John Houston Custom Homes Sales Manager for the Master Planned Community, Estates at North Grove in Waxahachie, TX. If you’re looking to relocate to the Ellis County area or interested in finding out if a Master Planned community is right for you, this episode is a must-listen!
S2 Ep3_Enclave-North Grove Estates (Patrick Gillis).mp3
Intro: [00:00:03] Welcome Home, a podcast brought to you by John Houston Custom Homes. Join hosts, Chelsi Frasier and Whitney Pryor, as they walk you through the exciting adventure of your home buying and building journey.
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:19] Hey guys, thanks for joining us on this episode of the Welcome Home podcast. I've got Chelsi here and it's a bright, brand new year. We're excited to get started and tell you about who we've got on today.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:32] Today, we have Patrick Gillis. He's a sales manager in the North Grove Master Planned Community in Waxahachie. We're going to talk about all things North Grove, what he's got coming there and things to look forward to in that Master Planned Community.
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:44] Patrick is arguably one of my favorite salespeople, arguably is the key word there, but I love him to death. I think most people do. It's just a delight working with him. Welcome to the show Patrick.
Patrick Gillis: [00:01:00] Wow! Thank you, I feel super special.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:01:03] You are, you're very special.
Patrick Gillis: [00:01:04] Well, that's true.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:01:05] We hear a lot of great, fun stories from people that buy from you or work with you. We are very excited to have you on and talk about North Grove. It's Waxahachie's newest Master Planned Community. Why don't you just tell us a little bit about North Grove overall?
Patrick Gillis: [00:01:18] Coming from a salesperson, it sounds like salesman Mc salesman, right? "It's this. It's that", but really, the buyers have told us all of these things. It really is a super desirable place to be. The access in and out of Highway 35 and Highway 77 is convenient. Waxahachie has really grown up from grocery, restaurant, major medical convenience - all of those things, all put together by the huge, great backbone of a superior school district has really put us in a super successful location. It's all those things that people are looking for. You can walk your kids to school. You've got hiking, biking and trails. You've got pools, parks and playgrounds. All those things, are right in your back pocket, whenever you want to access them. It's been tremendously successful.
Whitney Pryor: [00:02:22] The one thing that I love about North Grove and I don't think a lot of people really think about this when they're buying a home, but especially where North Grove is situated, how it's off of Highway 77, which is super busy, right? You've got the the traffic light there. There's a lot of communities that are off of 77 that don't have that traffic light. It makes it a big deal as far as turning in and out on 77. That's what I love about the neighborhood. It's just a small detail, but if you've ever had to try to access 77 in Waxahachie, you know that's a big deal.
Patrick Gillis: [00:02:58] I was about to say, it's a small detail until you live that. I joke around and I say, "people I don't hate you enough to have you go out on Bessie Coleman, by all this commercial, try to turn left and go south on 77."It's awful. You bring up something we don't necessarily think of until people are like, how do I get in and out of this place? It's super busy. There's so many access points in and out. That traffic light has been a Godsend, it really has. It just eases a lot of fears. Even in the model homes, as we sit and talk to people to find out what they're looking for, people say, "I love that there's an Elementary School, but what do I do with pick up and drop off?" My boys now are both teenagers, but it feels like it was fifteen minutes that I was in the pick up/drop off line and that can get kind of hairy.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:03:57] That's two hours of your life. I don't know how people do that.
Patrick Gillis: [00:04:01] Then you have those special days when you think, I'm going to have pole position I'm going to be the first car. The boys are like, oh, my gosh! I'm like taste victory guys, you're the first ones! Success is awesome! It's a real thing. We go through different ways to get in and out of the community. Hey, if you're leaving in the morning and you want to avoid this, you can go this way. They've structured this community in such a smart way that there's always access points in and out. Even those people that are going to be living right next to the school, whether they think that's a great place or maybe that's all that we have left at that point in time, it always makes it so much easier, which is awesome.
Whitney Pryor: [00:04:46] Some of the other amenities that North Grove has includes a pool. When is that expected to to open? It's this year, right?
Patrick Gillis: [00:04:55] It is. The amenity center is vertical. The park, kind of in between Wolf Creek and Country Meadows, not that everybody's going to be like, "oh, I know exactly where that is," is already up and going. It's been cool seeing families out there and kids playing basketball. They're playing ball, little ones are monkeying around on the jungle gyms and all the playground equipment.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:05:23] It's covered right, a covered playground?
Patrick Gillis: [00:05:25] Yep, they've got that and they have the pergola that is just super cool. You see everybody come in. It's just a great focal point for people to get to know one another. The amenity center, which is a different improvement there within the community, is vertical. You can see the forms where they're going to start digging for the pool. Everything that we have seen, those guys have been well ahead of schedule. The pool should be in by May 2021. People are going to be swimming in 2021, hopefully not with masks, but it'll be happening.
Whitney Pryor: [00:06:02] That's awesome.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:06:03] That's very exciting. We love the location, it's great. This community has great access to shopping and dining on the North end of Waxahachie, allows for quick access to 35 for people commuting to Dallas for work and an onsite Elementary School. It just checks all the boxes. It has jogging and walking trails. I love the amenities as a whole, but let's talk about the homes and what we put in them. We've got the lifestyle. If you're looking for community parks, playgrounds, pools, all that stuff, North Grove's got it. How about the houses? Let's talk about those.
Patrick Gillis: [00:06:39] Any builder can do cool, fun, pretty things, but our architecture team is just so well versed. It always starts with the really excellent, open-living kind of a floor plan. Our plans are very livable with very open spaces. People always congregate in the kitchen. Our plans offer very open livability, kitchen, dining, family room relationships, great sized bedrooms, outdoor living spaces, which over the past 7 to 10 years, have really become a focal point in this market. The outdoor living space.
Whitney Pryor: [00:07:16] Especially in this season of life. People are just staying at home and doing more.
Patrick Gillis: [00:07:20] Absolutely. Our architecture team is really focused on that and has made that a highlight in so many of our plans.
Whitney Pryor: [00:07:29] That's great! Something else to point out, too, is that North Grove is a Master Planned community. We have several what we call, phases within that, right? You're not going to get all of the same type of plans and lot sizes. There's a mix of it within this development. We've got some that are rear entry, some that are front entry and some of them have a side entry garage. They vary from 1600sf - 1700sf all the way up to 4000sf+.
Patrick Gillis: [00:08:03] That's a great point because you can really go down the entire menu. Whether you're a first time homebuyer, which we have plenty of those saying, "hey look, this is where I feel financially comfortable. I don't want to go above X as far as dollars are concerned." We go in there and figure out where the maximum amount of value is with that. Then, you've got your move up buyers that are looking for something different. Then you get you know, I hate to say and empty nesters, but, there are people that their kids are through school. Now, they're looking to get closer to grandkids or what have you. How that is, again, for lack of a better term, a menu of plans and a menu of options. Do you want a larger yard space? Do you want a pool in your backyard? Do you want all of those things? Are you in that stage of your life? We can we can take care of that, that is easy. Do you want an oversized pie shaped lot in a cul de sac. We've got that. Again, to go back to that previous question that I totally didn't answer at all, as far as the amenities and what we're putting in the homes. You go out and you market a price point to get people in. They come in and they're like, "hey, I saw that for this." We've all seen the ad for the 1995 pickup truck, brand new and we'll go, hey, where's that? They say, oh, there was only one and the person who first called got that, but now let me show you... It's like dude, come on now, that's not where I feel financially comfortable. We can break all that stuff down. The standard included features are really, really well outfitted with custom options that are already there, so you're not mandated to go and spend a ton of money at the design center. That's always the tough disconnect, right? People come in and ask, what's included? Those who have either done it before or have done research before coming in, are so well ahead of the curve. They say, "well, I see that I'm on contract for this, but once I go and pick out all my stuff, where am I going to be?" Being very sensitive and doing this a little bit of time, but also just the experience of having that sticker shock in one of the processes that I've had in past, I'm very sensitive to say, "hey, look, let's settle down and let's get a spreadsheet together. Let's go through all the stuff that you want, so that projection can be expected from the very beginning and the whole process becomes a lot more fun, which is supposed to be." Rather than, your mental calculator in your head completely short circuiting and then that whole process is super stressful.
Whitney Pryor: [00:11:07] The standard features that we include in the home. I've worked with other builders. I know what everyone in the market is kind of offering as a their standard features. It really does feel like we offer a little bit higher level of standard features.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:11:24] It comes with the cost of your home, right?
Whitney Pryor: [00:11:28] It's already included in that base price. One of them is the larger baseboards. I know that's one that a lot of builders might put the 3 1/4" and we are putting 5 1/4". It's a small detail, but it makes a big difference.
Patrick Gillis: [00:11:46] It's the accumulation of those small details that really make that whole feel. That's a great point because people come in to model homes and it's like Disney World, right? It's the greatest home on Earth because no one lives there and we just built it.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:12:00] It's always clean.
Patrick Gillis: [00:12:01] It's always clean, smells awesome and looks new all the time. What are you getting? The higher baseboards, custom cabinets, the built-in appliances, granite countertops and the list goes on. It eases a lot of people's minds. The cabinets to the ceiling, vent hoods and crown molding We've got some great competitors, right? When you really start drilling down, oh, a tile shower pan in my master shower, which looks super cool, I'm not paying more for that? No, I mean you can, we'll let you, but you don't have to. You get that, are you sure sale guy? Am I going to see something different when I get back from the Design Center? No, it's all right there in front of you.
Whitney Pryor: [00:13:06] Even something small that you might not even think about, like insulated garage door. No one really thinks about that, but when you live in Texas and it's a 115 degrees some days in the Summer and then 20 degrees in the winter, you start to think about it. We use our garages for storage, we don't have a basement, right, so a lot of times our garage is our storage. Being able to have a garage that isn't quite as extreme as the outdoors.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:13:34] It's finished out.
Whitney Pryor: [00:13:35] It's finished out.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:13:37] It could be your home gym space or like you said storage.
Whitney Pryor: [00:13:40] Or if you're real redneck ,then it's just your second living room.
Patrick Gillis: [00:13:46] You said not many people pay attention in their garages, but all the guys do that because sometimes it's the only place we can go.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:13:55] These amazing garages with flags and posters.
Patrick Gillis: [00:13:58] Sometimes it's not always by choice either.
Whitney Pryor: [00:14:02] It's the dog house.
Patrick Gillis: [00:14:02] Yeah, my first my first garage I was stoked to even have a home that was unfinished with studs, but still it was the greatest thing. You finish that with base boards and texture, and it's like the greatest thing in the world!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:14:20] I think that the curb appeal is really great with a lot of our elevation's too. We have a lot of mix of stone and brick in those high pitched elevations. What are some things that people really love or that they ask for in there home?
Patrick Gillis: [00:14:33] I see that people ask those questions in different ways. Yes, we've got tremendous elevations. Our one story looks like a two story home, well its that pitch and had that feel. The curb appeal is a big attraction in North Grove Estates. In this Master Planned Community, we've gone through a lot of care. We don't do cookie cutter, that's just not who we are. When we get to that point and we start talking about that, the elevations have to be different. You can't build these homes exactly the same. You have different brick and stone variations, elevation variations and structural option variations.
Whitney Pryor: [00:15:32] I drive down the street and every single home looks different to me. I think that's so important. You don't want your home that you spent that money on to look like your neighbor's home and they don't, they all look different.
Patrick Gillis: [00:15:45] This isn't a pair of jeans. It's not like you get to take them home, try to do a couple of deep stretches, walk around and say these aren't for me. It's not a pair of jeans guys. I'm a very kinesthetic person. That was my super executive buzz word of the interview, but you have to feel it, right? People come in and sometimes I say, "hey, what are you guys looking for?" They kind of hymn and haw. What do you not want? Oh, here it comes. Sometimes that's easier and that's okay. Ultimately, it's going to come down to a feel. Those elevations and how they are very individual. It doesn't happen by accident. We've gone through different communities, whether they are new or are established and see one story after one story and two story after two story. This is almost like row housing. When you get a great developer, great home builders and they're really respecting that curb/ streetscape appeal, that is how all of these pieces come together. It makes a difference. It's a huge feel thing.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:17:10] Right now, you're selling in The Enclave and you've got some rear garage entry products. Coming up later, is phase two of North Grove Estates, is that correct? What's coming up?
Patrick Gillis: [00:17:24] No, the great question! We've got the rear entry product for those that aren't looking for a whole lot of yard space.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:17:30] Yes, low maintenance yard.
Patrick Gillis: [00:17:33] Surprisingly, you got a pretty good yard space.
Whitney Pryor: [00:17:36] It's enough to take your puppy out.
Patrick Gillis: [00:17:38] Yes, 100%. You can relax on your back covered patio. We also have front entry product, which is going to open up that that backyard usability space. In The Enclave, we've done really well. We're on the back end of availability, although we do have some inventory coming up.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:17:58] You have some spec homes, move-in ready homes.
Patrick Gillis: [00:17:58] Yeah, those are already starting to push dirt and will be done in the Summer time.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:18:05] That will be great for being in before school starts.
Patrick Gillis: [00:18:07] Exactly, I know it's a huge part of the year. For our front entry, we only had 10 lots and were already down now to only seven. That gives you great proximity to the parks, the pool, amenity center school, while walking distance within taking your kids to school. Again, going down that menu of do you want one story vs two, rear entry vs front entry and all those pieces. We're running through all of that. We can't get our new phase, which will be The Haven Phase 2, that looks to be on par, weather permitting, that were looking at around August/September. The beginning of next Fall, we're going to have a litany of new lots.
Whitney Pryor: [00:18:59] For The Haven Phase 2, can you tell us a little bit more about what the lots sizes will be?
Patrick Gillis: [00:19:06] Yes, those are all will all be front entry, so a little bit larger backyards. I remember before getting into this business, people say 60, 70, 80 foot lots. That sounds super exciting, but what does that mean?
Chelsi Frazier: [00:19:20] I'm in the industry and I'm still like, "wait, okay what?"
Patrick Gillis: [00:19:29] When I first started, these guys would be say, "oh, look at our elevations." I'm like, "well the ground is flat. I mean what are you trying to sell me on dude?" It's just the width. When it's a 60' lot, it's 60' wide, that's how the developers generally charge us, as home builders, to to buy that lot. Do you want these homes that are 60', 70', just the width and the overall depth where you are in proximity to your neighbor, all those factors come into play.
Whitney Pryor: [00:20:05] If someone's looking for a more spacious lot, then they might look at The Haven Phase 2 as an opportunity there.
Patrick Gillis: [00:20:11] Oh, sure, yeah, absolutely.
Whitney Pryor: [00:20:13] Patrick, tell us, we've gotten lots of calls recently from the online sales side of people wanting to relocate to this area. They always ask us, well, what is that community like? Being someone that lives in Mansfield and works in Waxahachie, what is your take on Waxahachie as a community for all of those that are looking to relocate and don't really know the area?
Patrick Gillis: [00:20:39] That's a great question. I was new to this part of town when I moved here. I moved here to Mansfield in 2004 and I'm still there now. My kids are going to school there and I love it. I sold out there for a good, long time. When I came out to Waxahachie, it didn't take long. At first, I just kind of drove around because I wasn't terribly familiar with it. I needed to sound sort of knowledgeable when people would ask me questions, which is not always the case with my answers. I drove around and I saw that you've got your major medical, you've got groceries, you've got restaurants and you've got the backbone of a great, emerging growing school district. It looked exactly like Mansfield did 15 years ago. I mean exactly like Mansfield and that is coming from someone who didn't know Mansfield. It's super similar and being very kinesthetic person, it looks, feels and tastes like Mansfield, roughly about 12 years ago when we started getting all the medical, The Field of Dreams and the Hawaiian Falls. It was right in the midst of the downturn in 2009/ 2010, when the world was ending in home building, right? Mansfield was just killing it. Where I live in Mansfield is so similar, just the whole feel part of it. It's just a diverse grouping of people and you just see so many people coming together. Waxahachie people are mostly coming from different areas or different states. That's where it starts getting really cool, fun and how it's just becoming this great melting pot.
Whitney Pryor: [00:22:36] Some perspective on Mansfield, if people don't live in the area or know about Mansfield, it's a very large suburb of the DFW Metroplex. A lot of people want to live there. They've got great schools and 10 or 12 years ago, it was way more affordable than it is at this point.
Patrick Gillis: [00:22:58] Yeah, it's a great point because there's an emotional aspect of buying a home. You're uprooting your kids or trying to set them up for success. You're trying to marry the commute or working from home. There's a lot of emotional things, really guttural emotional things going on when you're choosing a community, then down to the home and the space. There's also a lot of black and white. I can be a very kinesthetic, very emotional kind of a dude, still a dude, dollars make sense. This all has to make sense. When you start taking a look at the dollars and cents of it, I'm super grateful that I moved to Mansfield 16, 17 years ago. Now, in pricing, this is a COVID related thing. I don't know that any of us in home building really knew what was going to happen. We got hit with Stay at Home order. April 2020 was the biggest coin flip ever of what the next week was going to look like vs much less the next month, quarter or even year. People who maybe felt that stress and tightened up, I've seen them lately. We saw you back in March and I say , "oh hey guys, love you, but pricing has gotten a little bit different." The success of the area and the success of the market. When so many things in the world are upended, we've just torn this apart over the last year or so. Even the pricing aspect of it, you're right. There's the emotional part of it and we're there to try to get through that, but the dollars and cents investment value, where are you going to be in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years? When people come in saying, "this is our forever home," until it's not.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:25:17] You've probably heard that before.
Patrick Gillis: [00:25:20] Yea, just as much as when people say, "oh, we're downsizing." Everything you just described is kind of like the home that you're in. That's what we're here for, right? We're counselors and we try to pick through that, but the investment value is so important.
Whitney Pryor: [00:25:36] Waxahachie is not going to stop growing.
Patrick Gillis: [00:25:36] No, oh my gosh, it's just tremendous growth. You couple that with interest rates and you're just trying to do the best thing for whatever stage of life you're in. I've done the, we've got one, we've got the next one on the way and this school district. I want this kind of safety for my wife who works from home or whatever that dynamic may be, to I've had the big two story home and we don't want that anymore. We want something more manageable. It's just going through that whole roster of plans, different products, different lot sizes and different amenities. One thing that I see, and I do joke, because you guys know me. When empty nesters come in and we start talking about the community and you've got the amenities center and the school. They're like, "oh, we don't care about that." I say, you may not, but your investment dollars do a whole lot. Yes. Or "oh, I don't want an HOA." Their the property value police. You care what your investment goes, right? Well then that elementary school that you say, "oh I don't want to pay school taxes." Yes you do. Yeah you do, don't fight it. Don't do that to yourself.
Whitney Pryor: [00:27:02] We appreciate you coming on today to talk to us about North Grove, Waxahachie and why it's just a really awesome community to to move to.
Patrick Gillis: [00:27:11] It is, thanks for having me on, this was great!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:27:14] Thank you.
Whitney Pryor: [00:27:15] That wraps it up! Thank you so much for listening to us today. If you would like to get more information about Patrick's community, feel free to visit our show notes in the description, we'll link there to his community. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or just give us a ring at 866.646.6008. As always, you can visit our website at www.jhoustonhomes.com. Thanks again!
Whitney Pryor and Chelsi Frazier: [00:27:51] Welcome Home.