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Home Our Story BLOG: The Story S3_Ep2_Is an Inventory Home Your Best Option? (Whitney Pryor & Chelsi Frazier)

S3_Ep2_Is an Inventory Home Your Best Option? (Whitney Pryor & Chelsi Frazier)

Monday February 21, 2022

Everyone's Home building or buying journey looks a little different, and at John Houston Homes, we want to provide the perfect home for our customers no matter what stage of life they're in or the timeline they have to get into a new home. On this episode, we share everything you need to know about our Inventory homes and why a Move-In Ready home might be the right choice for you. Whether you're relocating for a Job, want to be in a different school district, or simply don't want to go through the process of building from the ground up, we believe one of our Inventory homes is a great option that can meet all of your needs and more! 

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S3_Ep2 Inventory Homes (Whitney Pryor & Chelsi Frazier).mp3

Intro: [00:00:04] Welcome Home, a podcast brought to you by John Houston Homes. Join hosts, Chelsea Frazier and Whitney Pryor, as they walk you through the exciting adventure of your home buying and building journey.

Whitney Pryor: [00:00:18] Thank you listeners, for joining us today on the Welcome Home podcast. I'm Whitney and I've got Chelsi here with me. Hey!

Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:26] Hi!

Whitney Pryor: [00:00:27] It feels great to be back in the studio recording season 3 of the Welcome Home podcast. I'm really excited about all the new things that we're going to be talking about. What are we talking about today?

Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:39] Today, we're talking about everything you need to know about inventory homes.

Whitney Pryor: [00:00:46] What is an inventory?

Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:48] It goes by other names, as well, like spec home.

Whitney Pryor: [00:00:52] Yes, showcase home, something like that.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:52] Quick move in, there are several industry terms, but an inventory home is basically a home that is already under construction. Sometimes it could be fully complete and it's for sale or it's just in the process. It is a home that you don't have to pick things out, everything's already selected. You just look at the floor plan, look at the selections, the price and decide if you want to buy it. There's a lot more to it that we'll get into today, but that's kind of an inventory home in a nutshell.

Whitney Pryor: [00:01:26] Yes, that's great. It's such a great opportunity for people that have a different timeline in mind, right? Not everyone has 10-12 months, 8-10 months to to build a home from scratch. Not everyone wants to do that. Not everyone wants to go through that full process, work with the builder and see all the updates. Some people just prefer to have a home that looks gorgeous and they don't have to do anything except move into it, right?

Chelsi Frazier: [00:01:55] Yeah, maybe you have to relocate for work or you want to live in a different school district. You want your kids to go to another school in the city you already live in or you want to move to another city, different county or something like that.

Whitney Pryor: [00:02:09] Their lease is up.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:02:10] Yeah, tons of reasons.

Whitney Pryor: [00:02:12] Tons of reasons that's right. Yes, it's definitely a great option for builders. When people look at builders and they think of home builders, there isn't just the option of building from scratch. We do have the inventory option, which is the best of both worlds. It will get you into a home quickly. It's nice and new. It has a warranty. It is all the great things of getting a new home, but you're not having to wait.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:02:37] Yeah. We really wanted to talk about that today because we do have inventory homes on our website. We're going to continue to have inventory homes. We're hoping to sell a lot of inventory homes this year. We just wanted to kind of lay the basis or kind of get some information out there for people who aren't exactly sure what an inventory home is, what are the benefits, etc. We're going to kind of cover all that today, but I wanted to kind of kick it off with like, why do builders build inventory homes? What is the reason for that?

Whitney Pryor: [00:03:09] Right. Of course, the biggest reason is that not everyone has that timeline to build a home from scratch. For the home builder, we can sell custom build jobs with customers that want to build from scratch, but it's definitely advantageous for us to go ahead and start building homes that don't have any buyer attached to them that are available for sale, so that people that have that shorter timeline, can get into a home. It creates more opportunities for us to serve people's needs out in the community.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:03:48] You're driving through a community and you see homes under construction. How do you know if it's an inventory home or a home somebody's already contracted and building? I kind of want to give our listeners a way to figure out how to find an inventory home?

Whitney Pryor: [00:04:03] Definitely. There will be an available sign in front of the yard. In the yard of that home, there will be a John Houston sign that says "Available", and that's how you'll know that that's an inventory home. We do have homes in the community that might be, what we call a "build job", that someone is building from scratch and that home is not available. We're building it for a customer. That home will either have a sold sign or no sign at all. Our inventory homes will always have an available sign in front of it showing that that home is available for sale.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:04:44] Sometimes the sign blows over. I say sometimes, it happens pretty often, or the home just isn't ready to list yet. Please know if you if you don't see anything you think "oh, I really love this lot", you can always go buy the model home or sales office and check on it. Definitely don't think that is literally the "only sign", that would be there and that it's an inventory home, because sometimes that does happen.

Whitney Pryor: [00:05:12] Yes, definitely. You know, Texas and the high winds. Our signs blowdown or maybe we've had a great month and we ran out of signs and we're waiting to get more signs in. If there's a home that you like, I would definitely encourage you to stop by the model home and let them know which address you where at, so that they can tell you because it might be that it is available. Or it's not available, but they might have that same floor plan being built as an inventory home somewhere else in the community and can give you that information. Don't ever think of it as, "oh, this one's gone. I can't get it", because we might have that opportunity somewhere else.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:05:54] Yeah, for sure. We've got a great Online Sales Team, shameless plug because it's part of our team, but call Whitney, call the team and ask them. You can say, "hey, this is the address, can you look it up", because we've got access to those systems and can let you know.

Whitney Pryor: [00:06:10] All the phone numbers on our signage, on our website, that all rings through to our amazing Online Sales Team. If you can give them kind of the street where you're at and the address is even better, but we know that if the homes under construction, you might not have that. We try our best to figure out where it is that you're talking about and that way we can let you know if that home is available or if they have other opportunities there too.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:06:36] Sometimes you can find the address spray painted on the the trash bin on the lot.

Whitney Pryor: [00:06:44] Yes, usually there's a trash box that's built and they'll spray paint the address number on that. That's not just a random number, it's usually the address. It helps our vendors and trades find which home they're working on, but it's also very helpful for those of you that are shopping or looking around in the community and need to find the address, as well.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:07:05] Let's talk about at what point in construction you can actually go walk the home and get a feel for the floorplan and the selections?

Whitney Pryor: [00:07:13] Yes, there are several different stages of construction that we go through. Really, the best point to look at a home, if you're looking under construction, is once it's been sheet rocked. Once it's been sheetrock, you can really get a good idea of the layout in the space, how big the rooms are, and where things are located. You can even look at it in frame stage, but it's a little more difficult to tell space wise how things are going to be and what they are. Sheet rock stage is really the best point of construction to figure out the layout and design of the home.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:07:49] Sheetrock, typically, don't quote us on this because it's a crazy market, but once it's at sheetrock, what is the typical amount of time it has left until it's complete?

Whitney Pryor: [00:08:00] Typically, once a home has been sheet rocked, you're looking at about two to three months past that. Each market's a little different. Some might go into four to five months, but typically it's two to three months after sheetrock is when the home will be complete. It's kind of a midway point, a little past midway, but almost a midway point of construction.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:08:24] For John Houston homes right now, that's the point about where we are listing inventory homes on the website.

Whitney Pryor: [00:08:32] Yes.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:08:33] The reason for that being, it is, like Whitney said, further along sheetrock, so we have a better knowledge of the cost of the home. Also, you are not going to be waiting a long, long, long, long, long time for it to be ready. It's kind of like that sweet spot of, hey, this is coming. We know the price because we've already purchased the lumber. It's on site, the bricks there, and then it's two to three months away. For people that are looking in advance, that's a good thing for them.

Whitney Pryor: [00:09:06] Yes, I couldn't have said it better. In this market, we haven't had all of the answers on timing and pricing. Our goal as a company, is to make it as accurate and give you the best knowledge that we can, so that's why we really did shift gears. We used to list homes when they first started construction. At that point, in this type of market, with us not knowing cost of lumber, it made it very difficult for us to accurately price that home. One thing about John Houston Homes, is that we do not have an escalation clause in our contract. Why that's important to our customers, is once you sign a contract with John Houston Homes, we will never go back and change that price of the home. That is the price that you're contracting on and that price does not change. In order for us to make sure that that's accurate, listing at that halfway point is the best way that we can guarantee that. Doing it at the halfway point allows customers to kind of have more of an accurate time frame. That two to three months is usually when people start looking for homes and preparing for what's coming. It's a great time to start looking at that, but that doesn't mean that we don't have more homes coming. If you're looking at the website and you see a list of homes available but you're looking for something maybe a little bit further out, maybe it says that the home will be ready in May, but you're looking for something more towards July, we will have those homes coming. We just don't have them listed available yet.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:10:47] Right, you make a great point and a little tip for for people. Some things that we have done on our website to kind of adjust and be ready for people is, if we don't have inventory homes in that community right now, we have a tag that says "Inventory Homes Coming Soon", join this interest list and we'll let you know. That way, you're on then, you can put in your email, and say that you're interested. Once we've got them, it'll be listed on the website and all that good stuff. For timeline on the inventory home, you'll see a description of the house, but then you're going to see available Spring 2022. I know that feels vague, but the reason being is, gone are the days, or at least for right now, where we can say this is going to be available February 1st or after. It's just too unpredictable. We can give you a general time of year. You can call in or go see a sales manager. They can give you a little bit more information and keep you updated too.

Whitney Pryor: [00:11:52] Yeah, definitely. There's some things, maybe brick, that is being delayed. We're getting estimates from our trades, but we don't know if that's going to be accurate or not or what's going to happen. We're giving the best estimates we can by giving you kind of two to three month window or time frame of completion. Exact dates, really, we won't know those until a little bit more towards the end of construction.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:12:20] Another thing that we're doing on the website is design selections. We're doing our best, if they're available, to add pictures of what was selected for the flooring, the countertops, the backsplash, the carpet, etc. We've got little collages of those. Those obviously are also sometimes subject to change, but it gives you a good idea of the overall theme and look. Is it more grays and whites, stained cabinets or painted?

Whitney Pryor: [00:12:49] Yes, that has definitely helped. I think we get lots of calls about what the selections are for certain homes. Having those collages of the pictures, I think, has really helped people that are looking for a home. Maybe they wanted to build at first, but realized it's taking a little bit longer to do that, so now they're looking more at inventory homes. It's so helpful to have those pictures of those selections to know what kind of the overall theme is for the home.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:13:21] Yeah, I'm visual, so I can appreciate that for sure.

Whitney Pryor: [00:13:24] Definitely.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:13:26] What tools do we have to help buyers envision that home before it's finished? We talked about a couple already, but we have more!

Whitney Pryor: [00:13:33] We do! We have tons of tools and it's so helpful, especially for those of you that are shopping in the homes under construction and you're not sure what it's going to look like. We've got some great tools to really help you with that. One of them, like Chelsi mentioned, was the design selection images on our website, being able to see what exact design selections are being installed in the home. Another one is our 3D Floor Plan and 3D Model Home tour pages. Those are super helpful. The reason is, with so many homes under construction right now, we have a lot of homeowners that are purchasing a home before it's complete. We don't have any inventory on our website, maybe one, that's 100% percent complete. With that, there's a lot of homes out there that are available under construction that aren't complete. For those buyers, like Chelsi said, that our visual and really need to see something concrete before they make a choice. Even for those that are looking to build. It is a super helpful tool. The 3D Floor Plan tours page, say we have a Concord floor plan, our awesome Marketing Team goes out there and takes a 3D floor plan scan called a Matterport Tour. They scan the whole home and it's like a 360 degree view of that home. From the comfort of your couch, you can sit down, look at those floor plans, and essentially walk through the home of a completed Concord floor plan. It's not the exact home that you're looking at or that you're wanting, but it's the layout of a Concord floor plan. Even though the design selections will more than likely be different than what you're viewing on that 3D floor plan, it gives you a good idea of the space, the layout and how everything looks, so that going into building a Concord or buying a Concord that's under construction, you know exactly what that's going to look like.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:15:43] Yeah, I think it really helps you get a feel for this space. When I walk in, this is going to be to my left, this is going to be to my right, and here's kind of the layout of everything. It's not perfect, but it's the next best thing when you can't get out of your house or your not ready to go talk to a salesperson yet. We have a lot of people in the research phase that will reach out to us months and months in advance. For those researchers or for people that are just curious.

Whitney Pryor: [00:16:14] For those out of state that can't fly in and look at our homes in person. It's a great opportunity.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:16:21] Yeah, for sure. We have those of our Model Homes too, so you can see them fully furnished. That's always really fun, especially for design ideas. Yes, exactly. We do have an exterior visualizer tool that you can play around with brick, stone and paint selections. Coming very soon, we have a kitchen visualizer. That's obviously another big room in the house that a lot of people like to do some extra stuff in and where we all spend a lot of time in our homes, so there's that. We've got images, galleries of images on our website.

Whitney Pryor: [00:16:56] Yes. Yeah, we try to keep that updated. We have tons of images from all of our inventory homes that we've photographed over the years, soo getting ideas of what those look like in certain floor plans is definitely very helpful.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:17:12] Yes, and you can always walk the homes too. You can walk other inventory homes and walk Model Homes.

Whitney Pryor: [00:17:17] Yes. You can call the Online Sales Team. We're happy to give you a couple of addresses of certain floorplan that you're interested in. If you're wanting to walk it, we might have one that's under construction that's nearing completion, that you can go ahead and walk, or we might have a model home of that particular floor plan that we can send you to and view it fully furnished.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:17:41] Yeah, and probably not that far away, either. I feel like some of our cities are 15 to 30 minutes from each other, so it's very doable.

Whitney Pryor: [00:17:48] Yes, definitely.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:17:51] There are a lot of tools to help our buyers envision that home before it's finished. Another thing that I always ask Whitney, she's full of all the knowledge, is there a time of year that more inventory homes are sold and a reason why? I ask that because I think it will help our listeners also kind of coming into that season.

Whitney Pryor: [00:18:10] I think this is kind of just in general with lifestyle, but a lot of people buying homes, if they have children, they're looking to move in the Summer. What we see typically, is leading up to those summer months, we're super busy. We start the New Year off very, very busy. That's where we have our most amount of inventory homes available usually. If you're looking for a really good selection of inventory homes, the beginning of the year is a great way to to find a good selection. When you get closer to May, then our inventory starts getting a little bit lower because we have more people that have purchased homes. We typically see people in the Summer buying homes to try to get their children moved in the Summer, so they don't interrupt the school year. Once school starts back, that typically dies down a little bit.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:19:02] Yeah, we see a lot of movement in the Spring too, right? People are kind of getting prepared for end of Summer move in?

Whitney Pryor: [00:19:07] Yes, all the planners out there start planning months in advance, because that's a big move. Sometimes you're moving into different cities and school districts, so they start preparing months in advance. To get your best selection, you really want to start looking in early Spring for your Summer move in.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:19:26] Perfect, great advice! In a nutshell, to kind of round out our everything you need to know about inventory homes episode, if you're looking for why an inventory home is right for you? Maybe like three things.

Whitney Pryor: [00:19:40] Okay, if you are looking for a home that is beautifully designed already for you. If you're looking for a home that is just a couple of months from completion vs. having to wait 8, 10 and sometimes 12 months for a home to be built. If you're looking for a home that has all of those selections that you've been wanting, but you don't want to go through that building process and have to manage all of that, then an inventory home is definitely right for you.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:20:20] Perfect. Thank you so much, Whitney. You're a wealth of knowledge.

Whitney Pryor: [00:20:23] Thank you, Chelsi! Thank you listeners for listening in today on the Welcome Home podcast. If you have questions about our inventory homes, feel free to give our online sales team a call. You can reach them at 866.298.1416.You can check out our list of inventory homes available at, as well as, check out all of those awesome tools that Chelsi and the Marketing Team have available for our listeners at the website. We also are on Facebook and Instagram, so if you are wanting up to date information about community openings and new inventory that's listed, definitely follow us on Facebook and Instagram for that information. Thank you for joining us again on the Welcome Home podcast.

Chelsi Frazier and Whitney Pryor: [00:21:18] Welcome Home!