Pinpoint scheduling and keeping commitments to customers are keys for Surrey Homes’ success.
A HOMEBUILDER IS only as reputable as its word. For Surrey Homes, its ability to have product on demand and scheduling, along with identifying grade “A” locations across the Orlando, Florida, metropolitan area has helped the company become an in-demand builder in a fast-growing market.
“We are constantly searching for ‘A’ locations in smaller parcels of 50 lots and under,” says Scott South, president of Surrey Homes. “It is more of a headache for the larger builders, but it suits us just fine.”
Established in 2009, Surrey Homes closed 65 homes in 2014, and already is planning to sell 100 homes in 2015, which would make the company one of the fastest-growing homebuilders in central Florida. Because of this rapid growth, Surrey Homes’ ability to offer in-house architecture and design services has been vital to its success and ability to keep up with demand.
“Our architect is on-site with over 30 years of experience working in the Orlando market,” South says. “Our buyers educate us on what they want, and we provide the different plans and options that meet their needs on a much faster schedule. It has definitely separated us from our peers, and our buyers notice the difference.”
Surrey Homes boasts a state-of-the-art design gallery run by Vicki White, a wellknown industry professional with decades of experience in private and public homebuilding markets.
“When you visit the model homes in our neighborhoods, the colors, selections, furnishings and accessories were all designed and placed by Vicki,” South says. “Meeting the person who has created these beautiful spaces to personalize their new home is very important for our buyers.”
One big difference between White and many of her colleagues is that she is not paid on commission, so new home buyers do not feel pressured to commit to unnecessary design upgrades just to fatten someone’s wallet.
“It is a three-hour appointment that is a real consultant meeting, not an opportunity to up-sell or push the buyer into something they don’t want,” South says. “The buyer feels special because they are actually part of the process. These small nuances make a large difference for us.”
Surrey Homes’ three neighborhoods have a distinct look and feel, but are backed by the same quality customer service and hassle-free approach. The Acuera neighborhood is located in the northwest of Seminole County, Florida, and highlighted by eyecatching exterior features such as wroughtiron gates, beautiful brick streets and soaring trees within hundreds of acres on a state preserve adjacent to the Wekiva River.
Surrey Homes at Savina offers new homeowners six different plans from 1,800 to 3,500 square feet within 40 home sites. The homes feature two- and three-car garages, stonefront elevations and a location within three minutes of two major highways.
Currently, Surrey Homes’ largest products are the three- to five-bedroom homes in the community of Victoria Landings in East Orlando. Located conveniently to access to downtown Orlando, the University of Central Florida, the airport and local beaches, this Surrey Homes community features a playground area, walking trails and low association dues.
“Our goal is to open up four new communities in 2015,” South says. “We allocate additional resources during due diligence to enhance our locations to maximize community features.”
Surrey Homes’ newest development, The Pointe at Hunters Creek, is a 60-lot community that is priced from the mid-$300,000 range with four different floor plans. A smaller, niche community will open in 2015 at Casa Del Lago in Windermere. With only 19 lots in a gated community and adjacent to million-dollar residences, it will give buyers a feel of exclusivity and the knowledge that their elementary aged children can walk to school.
The third and fourth communities opening in 2015 have less than 100 lots each and are located in Kissimmee and Ocoee, Florida. Regardless of the house or the community in which Surrey Homes is building, once the drywall is sprayed in a new home, the company gives the buyer 45 to 90 days of notice of the date the home will be ready for closing.
“The key is in our commitment,” South says. “We provide an estimated month of closing at contract and an actual day of closing upon completion of the drywall phase. It provides a predictable schedule for subcontractors because they can be more efficient, and it fits our focus to deliver on that promise to our buyers. It has been a real game-changer because word travels fast amongst home buyers.”
Surrey Homes’ strong commitment to buyers is matched by its relationship with its employees. In the past year, the company has implemented a more detailed customer survey process, which gives high-achieving employees the credit they deserve.
“We recognize and reward employees who create the customer experience we want to provide,” South says.