Going countercyclical to the “big box” trends and finding success in a niche market of smaller homes and townhouses
Known for its attention to detail and superior construction, JEH Homes is located on the north side of Atlanta in Alpharetta and primarily builds homes in Forsyth, North Fulton and Gwinnett counties in Georgia. With a vast range of design options, the company offers ranches, cottage style, traditional two-story homes and townhomes.
“Many of the big builders are building the big-box-style homes, so we created our core business model around value-priced smaller homes and townhomes,” Jim Jacobi, co-owner of the company, says. “We got away from the big box and it created a big niche for us in the market.”
This strategy has proven successful for the growing JEH Homes: The company closed 300 homes in 2013, up from 168 homes in 2012 and 88 homes in 2011. JEH Homes is currently working on a variety of new projects. Most notably is its new community, Roswell Manor. Located in Roswell, the neighborhood includes 73 manor-style homes ranging from 2,500 to 3,200 square feet.
“We offer some of the best values in the market,” Jacobi says. “Many features and options that are considered upgrades by other builders, we offer as standard. Our niche has been to provide value-priced housing within the markets that are typically higher end.”
Bill Evans Jr., George Hovis and Jacobi formed JEH Homes in 2007. These recognizable names in the Atlanta new homes industry were able to successfully start the business in an economic downturn.
“As a result of the downturn, the Atlanta market has consolidated so much that 25 builders now sell 75 percent of the new homes which has decreased product diversity within the market,” Evans says. “We had to differentiate ourselves from the other builders to be successful.”
Diverse in professional backgrounds and united by strong ethical character, they combined their talents and seasoned experience to offer the highest quality crafted homes with the most desirable upgrades at a remarkable value.
“Even with all of the new challenges in today's real-estate market, our entire team remains steadfastly dedicated to our mission: ‘Attention to Detail, Commitment to Quality and Dedication to Customer Service,’” Jacobi says.
Jacobi has more than 15 years of experience with the home building industry involving land planning, engineering and development. During his career, he performed and managed the acquisition, design and development for thousands of residential lots. Additionally, his expertise includes all aspects of land acquisitions consisting of contract negotiation, market analysis, due-diligence evaluation, governmental entitlements and municipal codes. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University and a Georgia-licensed landscape architect.
Evans has been in the banking, building and development business for more than 30 years. During his career, Evans was a founding member of three financial banks - Heritage Bank, Premier Bankshares and Piedmont Bank. He has been on the board of a NYSE company, a NASDAQ company and an American stock exchange company. He is also a past board member of the Atlanta Regional Commission, Dekalb Development Authority and Dekalb Chamber of Commerce. Evans is a Georgia native and received his MBA from the University of Georgia. He has earned the respect and admiration of his peers and is widely recognized as a leader within the Atlanta home building industry.
Hovis has more than 30 years of experience in banking, real estate development and home building. During his development career, Hovis was involved with the development of more than 10,000 residential lots. His other strengths include negotiating contracts with builders, coordinating development activities and building homes. Additionally, Hovis serves on the board of directors of the Private Bank and has established a stellar reputation throughout the financial community.
The company understands and appreciates the true meaning of “home” with all of its Atlanta new homes including numerous standard upgrades, GREENdesign Initiative smart features, excellent school districts and remarkable values that are backed by its outstanding Worry-Free Warranty.
The comprehensive GREENdesign program targets the design, construction, operation and maintenance of each home intended to reduce its associated raw materials, energy requirements and environmental impacts. All homes built with the GREENdesign Initiative are more efficient and consume less, which enables JEH homeowners to potentially save hundreds of dollars annually.
GREENdesign homes are intentionally designed using dimensional planning with open floor plans that utilize space very efficiently by minimizing walls, hallways and common dead space. Therefore, these homes require much less construction materials to achieve an equally livable home compared to the big-box-style homes. There is also less area to heat and cool, plus it enables better airflow circulation, which makes the home easier to heat and cool. These strategies reduce the amount of building materials required, saving resources and reducing the homeowner’s energy costs.
“The prime locations of [JEH’s] communities are complemented by the diversity of home plans offered for every lifestyle such as spacious two story homes featuring master up or master on main, traditional ranch plans and charming townhomes,” the company states. “Our reputation for a strong commitment to homeowner satisfaction sets us apart from other builders and our name JEH Homes is the personal endorsement by the owners to uphold that reputation by standing behind every home we build.”
JEH Homes utilizes and relies on the best suppliers and trade partners to uphold its reputation. Its long-term, positive relationships with its trade partners ensure the highest quality materials and the best installation methods. Through these partnerships, the company is able to conform to the International Residential Code and Georgia Residential Energy Code, as well as any local government requirements.
From closing six homes in 2007 to closing 300 in 2013, the company is on a path to even more growth. Its annual revenue of more than $60 million is achieved with only 26 full time employees, foreshadowing a promising future.
“We are forecasting continued growth by offering an improved diversity of home designs and multiple new community locations,” Jacobi says.