Great Southern Homes has built a leadership team with vast experience to become a regional giant.
AN ESTABLISHED homebuilding company with over 15 years in business doesn’t typically have the booming growth Great Southern Homes has experienced in the past two years.
However, with leaders like company founder Michael Nieri and CEO Mike Satterfield, who together boast a combined 55 years of homebuilding experience throughout South Carolina, the continued growth of Great Southern Homes has no bounds.
As the housing market began correcting itself in 2013, Great Southern Homes sold close to 250 homes primarily in Columbia, South Carolina, and surrounding areas. That number jumped to 420 in 2014 when the company added satellite locations in Aiken and Sumter, South Carolina.
As of October 2015, Satterfield predicted Great Southern Homes would finish the year with 650 homes sold, almost doubling its gross revenue mark from the previous year to $120 million after expanding into Florence and Greenville, South Carolina, as well as Augusta, Georgia.
“Michael and I share a very common thought that we’re both incredibly competitive and both like to ride in the front seat of the bus, not the third or fourth seat,” Satterfield says. “We’re very focused on our growth because we’re going into an upcycle in a very cyclical business, so we’re working the next 10 years or so at a very rapid pace.”
Along with the vast experience between himself and Nieri, Satterfield credits the strong team of employees Great Southern Homes has created. Those team members understand how regional markets operate throughout the company’s geographic area.
“We have been fortunate to put together the team we have,” Satterfield says. “Our team is second to none. We have rekindled some old relationships and formed some new ones. We’ve managed to get some of the top guys with us and put together a great team.”
Great Southern Homes has grown by leaps and bounds by expanding its product line as well as its geographic reach.
A Shift in Focus
When the company was first launched, Great Southern Homes focused on entry-level and first move-up homes. As the market corrected itself, Great Southern Homes expanded its product selection to cater to a broader spectrum of buyers.
“I come from the mindset of multiple market segments with multiple price points” Satterfield says. “We have put a great amount of time and effort into expanding what we offer, from entry-level starter homes to executivelevel homes, all the way to custom built homes on your own lot.
“We had to identify market segments and offer something for the majority of buyers to purchase,” he adds.
Along with appealing to different demographics of buyers, Great Southern Homes also has had to cater to the unique demands of various geographic areas. In Florence, for example, Satterfield says all homes fall under different seismic areas, which means each individual home must be constructed differently to meet or exceed local building codes.
No matter the new geographic region, Great Southern Homes attempts to penetrate that market and become an active member in that community, Satterfield says.
“The challenge is that you’ve got to go in and be a part of the community to get your foot in the door, then you’ll have the ability to design
product that fits in the communities architecturally and structurally,” Satterfield adds.
Greener is Smarter
Another reason for Great Southern Homes’ uninhibited growth is its GreenSmart Homes technology. The company’s GreenSmart Homes use state-of-the-art technology to make homes smart and energy- efficient.
These homes feature green initiatives such as R50 insulations, radiant barrier roof sheathing, low-e windows, energy-efficient HVAC systems and tankless water heaters.
Achieving High HERS Scores
According to Satterfield, every house Great Southern Homes builds is independently tested for its Home Energy Rating Score (HERS). The company’s homes’ average HERS score is around 65, but depending on the product and its location, some homes have scored a 50, which is twice as efficient as a typical code-built house.
Through its green program, Great Southern Homes also offers its buyers a two-year home energy money back guarantee that will refund a portion of the homeowners’ energy costs if the homes do not perform as efficiently as promised.
Another aspect of the Great Southern Homes’ handiwork is the automation of every home.
Through Honeywell’s Tuxedo Touch technology, all Great Southern Homes products incorporate a high-tech home automation system that allows owners to automate all aspects of their home through their smart devices.
The Tuxedo Touch system includes a user-automated, high-resolution touchscreen inside the home that allows residents to control and automate the security system, heating and cooling, door locks, shades and lighting.
Smartphones double as remote controls for the Tuxedo Touch system, as well. This gives the homeowners the option to regulate their home’s lighting, thermostats, ceiling fans and shades from anywhere.
“Our technology and energy program are probably what really catapulted us to the next level,” Satterfield says. “There is not anyone else in the marketplace offering what we do, and it’s very important to buyers today.”
A New Variety
In Chapin, South Carolina, Great Southern Homes took a different route with its latest development, The Cove. With so many developers mass-grading the forestry surrounding their communities, Great Southern Homes elected to leave the natural beauty surrounding the development intact.
Even with a higher price point starting around $300,000, the community already is almost sold out, according to Satterfield.
“Most of our competitors in that marketplace will mass-grade and leave no trees,” Satterfield says. “Those are the things that people want, and we were able to provide that in this particular community and product marketplace.”
Great Southern Homes also kept the size of this development to just 19 lots for potential homeowners looking for a smaller community with large wooded lots.
“Not everyone wants to be in a 500-lot community” Satterfield says. “With the small, uniqueness, green aspect and trees of this development, if I could duplicate it in the morning, I would.”
As Great Southern Homes continues to grow, the company’s goal is to become a premier homebuilder throughout the region. Great Southern Homes envisions expanding its reach throughout South Carolina as well as North Carolina and Georgia.
“We’re going to continue to broaden our product offering,” he says. “We will continue to be conceptual and innovative in our design, allowing us to bring buyers the most modern technology for easy living.”