President and CEO Jake Happe leads Happe Homes with valuable experience.
Happe Homes has earned a well-deserved position as one of the leading builders in Iowa, and that position is led from the top down by its focused chairman, president and CEO, Jake Happe.
“I have always been in construction and real estate since I grew up in the industry, even cleaning up construction sites as a kid,” says Happe, who was born and raised in Iowa. “I also have a passion for real estate, and by the time I was out of high school at 18 I started building homes, working on a large framing crew.”
The mission of Happe Homes is to be a preferred builder in central Iowa by helping clients realize their home ownership dreams and fulfilling a commitment to exceed client expectations while providing the best product at a fair price.
The mission is completed by implementing the company’s core values of honesty, integrity, an extraordinary customer experience while delivering a quality, turnkey product.
“Our team is represented by an outstanding collaboration of team members with complementary skill sets in the office, in field operations and within our sales agent organization,” Happe says. “Our commitment is simple - we want to build a quality home at a fair price. Throughout the building process, our team members are professional, responsive and patient, and our state-of-theart showroom offers a seamless ‘one-stop shop’ for choosing the selections for a new home.”
The Iowa market opened up for Happe Homes when the recession hit as one of the area’s largest builders that controlled over 40 percent of the market ceased operations. Happe Homes now covers the majority of the central Iowa market, which includes Ames, Des Moines, Urbandale and West Des Moines. They have also partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star for new homes program, and all new homes built adhere to the Energy Star standards.
“Unfortunately, many leaders with building companies do not have a background in construction,” says Happe, who is a member of the Better Business Bureau, Des Moines Home Builders Association and National Home Builders Association. “Having grown up in the industry we have seen the building process at every level, and we know how to get it done.”
Happe Homes gets it done by employing an experienced staff and strong relationships with its subcontractors. The relationships with subcontractors is completely based on performance, results and value to the customer, not complacency and cronyism.
“We never want to lose our competitiveness with our subcontractors,” Happe says. “If we get complacent, they can continue to raise their prices and that goes down to the customer, and we don’t want that. We know what is right and wrong to execute the best operations to get the most for our clients’ bottom line.”
The client experience with Happe Homes often begins with a visit to its impressive 2,500-square-foot home design center, where clients like everything from roof shingles to doorknobs to toilet paper holders.
“It is a one-stop shop and we always make sure we stay on top of the design trends they change every three to four years,” Happe says. “Since I am young (30 years old), I feel like our company keeps on the pulse of design better than most with research, social media and our relationships with realtors. We are always trying to remain in the driver’s seat and stay in control.”
Happe Homes’ displays a variety of design strategies in several different communities, from Aspen Ridge, Prairie Trail and Elkwood Townhomes and Ankeny to Woodland Hills and West Des Moines to Orchard Hills, Orchard view and Arbor Glen in Norwalk.
“No matter of the community, we have a commitment to the core values of honesty, integrity and our extraordinary customer experience,” Happe says.
The positive working relationship with the Happe Homes real estate team is key to the customer experience. They work with four main agents from Iowa Realty: Chris Albright, Alyssa Coe, Missie Fenimore and Brandon Winn.
“OUR REAL ESTATE TEAM ARE ROCK STARS AT SELLING HOMES AND THEY HAVE IDENTIFIED HOW WE WORK.” - Jake Happe, president and CEO
“Our real estate team are rock stars at selling homes and they have identified how we work,” says Happe. “They make it a truly enjoyable, easy and smooth experience for the customer.”
After the purchase, the customer experience remains excellent as Happe Homes provides a clean and transparent home warranty that is written in basic terms, not confusing professional industry jargon. This includes the post-sale service commitment, a one-year builder’s warranty, an external extended warranty and applicable manufacturers’ warranties.
All homeowners are formally contacted after approximately 30 days to determine if there are any issues that require immediate attention. The documented warranty service process ensures issues are resolved timely and to client satisfaction. All homeowners are also provided the same opportunity approximately 11 months after closing.
“WE LOOK FORWARD TO COMPARISONS TO THESE COMPANIES BECAUSE WE ARE IN THE INDUSTRY FOR THE LONG TERM.” - Jake Happe, president and CEO
“We have a full-time interior designer for when the process begins and a clean, crisp warranty for after the building is done,” Happe says. “We are a full-service turnkey homebuilder and we are proud of the position we have developed in the Iowa market.”
Along with that satisfaction, comes big dreams for the future for Happe. He enjoys being in the home building industry, but would like to branch out to different sectors, especially residential retirement.
Happe Homes has targeted the residential retirement community because the sectors led by more experienced and stable companies, more so than central Iowa residential sector, which tends to be more cyclical.
“The market runs its course with less qualified people,” Happe says. “They don’t understand how to run the business and they lack in the customer service department, especially with the home warranty. We look forward to comparisons to these companies because we are in the industry for the long-term and for the good of the customer.”
Happe Homes’ competitors also take note of the successful operations, and the company often sees some of its design and business strategies duplicated by others in the region.
“We get copied a lot,” Happe says. “I am not worried about our competitors copying, I am worried about it when they stop copying.”