Growing up in a family of homebuilders and engineers helped Peter Oakes develop extensive knowledge of homebuilding and design. Today, he is president and owner of Axon Homes, serving Mount Pleasant, S.C. and the tri-county area.
“My mother is a custom homebuilder in Ohio, and my father is a developer and civil engineer,” Oakes says. “I have seen all of the aspects of building homes.”
Off the Ground
Deciding to start his own company, Oakes came to the Charleston region within the last 18 months to start up Axon Homes. Initially, the company focused on getting some spec homes going and getting involved with presales and bigger projects.
“I decided to go off on my own and come to South Carolina because the market is great here,” Oakes says. “You can’t keep houses on the market right now, and spec houses are being sold even before they are finished. The entire area is growing.”
Oakes had also worked with a local realtor from Carolina One’s New Homes Division, which is the largest brokerage company in the area. “They were able to guide me to land and business opportunities, which was very helpful,” Oakes says.
So far, Oakes has developed three spec houses ranging in price from $650,000 to $2 million. He is also soon to start on a number of presale projects once the permitting process is complete.
Thanks to Oakes’ broad exposure and vast experience in the homebuilding industry, he is familiar with all styles and all price ranges. As he has immersed himself in the local market, he has grown familiar with regional trends. He says most buyers prefer to live in an area that has amenities such as walking trails and family friendly recreation options. He says they want the Charleston-style home with concrete fiberboard siding, a metal roof and the Charleston look with big, wraparound porches and lots of outdoor space.
Oakes says green amenities for homes are garnering more interest, but not if it will cause a massive increase in a project’s price. “Spray foam insulation is catching on, but environmental add-ons are still price driven,” Oakes says. “Some people are willing to pay extra up front to save on long-term power costs.”
Axon Homes is carving out a niche by offering semi-custom and custom options. In the semi-custom sphere, Oakes can offer various options for plans and amenities, providing a range of readily available options and helping them make quicker choices. Those homes will generally come in around $400,000 to $800,000. For million-dollar homes, Axon offers fully customized development. Oakes wants the company to have a good balance of projects, and he will continue to invest in land so the company can get involved in smaller developments as well as larger projects.
Personalized service will help set Axon apart. Oakes is accessible to clients, and he hired two individuals to help run job sites. In addition, Axon offers in-house interior designers to help with design choices, as well as the “Live Free While You Build” incentive to help homebuyers with living expenses while their home is built.
“I’m focused on the company’s progress and ongoing development,” Oakes says. “Satisfaction is what leads Axon Homes to continued growth.”