Lancaster, South Carolina-based Carolina Country Homes has become a modular homebuilding leader.
FOR YEARS, builders who offered homebuyers modular options had to wade through customer misperceptions – and detail the benefits: speed, quality, strength and sometimes cost.
But Carolina Country Homes is seeing the next generation of modular home buyers, people who already know the advantages modular homes can bring with the right builder.
“There’s been an incredible revolution,” company President David Amigo says. “When we started doing modular, there was a perception issue, but today – after years of our industry trade groups promoting the benefits of modular construction – the public is so much more aware and better educated. In fact, we often have customers who come in telling us modular homes are built better because the materials are in a factory and not out in the weather.”
With specialization and experience – the 17-year-old company delivers about one home weekly now – the company has won the title of most trusted
modular builder in its region, North and South Carolina. That success, Amigo says, has come by sticking to its tag line: “Ease, style and affordability.”
“Our company is really the market leader in the Carolinas,” Amigo says. “There are very few companies that do what we do – the full scope. We’re really a complete project solution. We understand the entire project – from financing to building.”
Working with factory support from the best suppliers, the company can deliver a broad range of customization and end products.
“Last year, we built a home on stilts on Hilton Head (Island, South Carolina) with a stucco exterior,” Amigo says. “That’s what that customer wanted in a second home. We can build that, but we can also build a relatively inexpensive home for a single mom.”
Buyers can peruse the seven fully furnished models at the company’s modular homebuilding center with all the options customers desire – from varieties of countertops, tiles, floor coverings, appliances, bathrooms and paint colors. The company also keeps hundreds of floor plans on file. Buyers can select ranch styles or cape models up to 4,000 square feet.
“Those seven models – fully furnished – give a sampling of a few hundred floor plans,” Amigo says. “The reality is you can customize your homes
completely. There are really an unlimited number of options you can choose.”
The company launched about 17 years ago as a mobile home dealership. Those eventually became difficult to finance, and the Carolina Country Homes team moved into framed modular homes and then to modular homes – with the same or better quality as stick built homes – around 2001.
This year, the company will have delivered over 60 of those homes, thanks to a strong team in all divisions, Amigo says.
“Today, there is so much more that goes with building than your typical builder offers – financing to permitting,” he says. “It’s very complex. We understand all of that. Sometimes building a house is like building Mt. Everest. We know the territory.”
Amigo compares the process to solving a Rubik’s Cube.
“That’s what our business is,” he says. “You have to get all the sides to line up. We often get customers who come to us and say, ‘We love this floor plan.’ That’s one side of the Rubik’s Cube. As you go through the process, something happens. For
example, sometimes you can’t get an appraisal for the value you need on that house. Sometimes that house doesn’t fit on the property the customer has. You have to blow up the one side first to put it back together. You have to have the floor plan, financing, zoning, title work, customer satisfaction.”
Earning customer satisfaction means being honest and upfront with clients on what may arise during a homebuilding process.
“There are a lot of pieces that go into the puzzle,” Amigo says. “Our job is not necessarily just to make them feel good. Our real job is to educate them and give them the ammunition to make an educated decision of what’s best for them.”
Taking the time to understand what elements are most important to the buyer has helped set the company apart, Amigo says.
“It’s back to the tagline: ‘Ease, style and affordability,’” he says. “We’re a firm believer that every project that we do has a combination of those three
aspects that we’re delivering for that customer. For some customers, the ease is so much more important than the other categories.
“For others, the most important is the affordability. They care if they have a payment they feel comfortable with,” he adds. “Other folks’ biggest concern is the style of a house. Our job is not to push people into a certain box. Our job is to educate the customer and help them make the decisions by giving them options.”
Amigo expects that upfront policy to continue to help the company grow.
“We’re going to be a fair company, treat people honestly,” he says. “We’re going to continue to go down the same path: focusing on the customer, making sure our process continues to be more efficient and more consumer friendly.”