Heritage Homes sets itself apart with its ‘woman-centric’ approach to projects.
By Alan Dorich
It is essential for Heritage Homes to keep current with housing trends. “As you pay attention and have your finger on the pulse of the market, you learn to adapt and be forward-thinking,” President Tyrone Leslie says.
“That’s what our homeowners expect of us,” he states. “Shame on us if we’re not keeping ahead of the curve.”
Based in Fargo, N.D., the custom homebuilder specializes in building within a 60-mile radius of its home city, as well as in Minnesota. Heritage Homes started operations in 1995 as a family-owned business that constructed one to three houses a year.
“We decided we wanted to take it further,” Leslie says, noting that he became Heritage Homes’ sole owner in 2014. Today, the company has more than 1,000 homes in its portfolio and sets itself apart with its “woman-centric” approach that allows it to provide houses to its clients more effectively.
“Women are making up to 91 percent of the decisions when purchasing a new home, which is an incredible number,” Leslie explains. “We make sure we understand our clients’ needs by asking articulate questions from their perspective.”
From that point, Heritage Homes personalizes its service based on the client’s personality, making the process a more pleasurable experience. “They feel like they’re being heard,” he says. “Asking articulate questions helps make the process and the journey become so great.”
It also has left many clients emotional when Heritage Homes hands over the keys to their new house. “They say, ‘We don’t want this to end,’” Leslie says. “I don’t know how you can get a better compliment than that.”
Leslie joined Heritage Homes in 1998 after selling houses and working in real estate in Canada. He credits the company’s success to multiple factors, including its team. “The company has a mentality where it’s not about any one person,” Leslie declares. “It’s about a team of people who are passionate about what they do.”
But the company also is fortunate to have “a team of subcontractors that truly understand our vision,” he says. “Their ambition in life is to provide the same type of work we do with the end-product.”
He also praises Heritage Homes’ banking partners. “They have such trust in who we are as a company,” he says. “We’re so open with them. They have the financing we need to provide the product we do on a timely basis.”
Designed for Comfort
Heritage Homes’ woman-centric approach developed by Design Basics LLC helps them keep in touch with trends, which recently have included millennials asking for less square footage in their houses. “We’re adjusting our floor plans [for] that clientele,” Leslie says.
Retiring baby boomers also are looking for simplicity. “They want something that’s maintenance-free and spacious,” he says, noting that Heritage Homes also is redesigning its floor plans to accommodate those needs.
But the company also is seeing a rise in demand for multigenerational homes. “There are kids who grew up [who are] coming back home,” Leslie says, “or the parents are moving back in because of health issues.”
The adults, he explains, do not want to move into assisted living, which makes multigenerational homes a good fit. “We’re designing homes with double master suites, so they have that level of comfort and living,” he states.
On the Creek
Heritage Homes’ recent projects include The Aspens at Timber Creek, a neighborhood of 26 townhomes in Fargo. The homes were designed for couples whose children have moved out and wish to downsize without sacrificing elegance.
The homes, Leslie notes, feature master bedrooms and bathrooms, along with family rooms and nine- to 11-foot ceilings. “They’re very airy and very spacious,” he says. “We’ve been very successful with this project.”
Heritage Homes is nearing completion on The Aspens, Leslie adds. The company started work in 2015 and expects to be finished in 2018. “We only have four units left, which is pretty incredible,” he says.
Heritage Homes uses other methods to get close to its clients, including an “About Me” quiz on its website. “It helps us understand more about how the family will live and learn how to speak to them,” Leslie says.
“The more we understand our clientele, the less frustrating it is when they talk to Heritage Homes,” he says. “If you don’t understand your client, you’re immediately behind the eight ball.”
The company also maintains clear communication with the client as the project is built. “We’re in contact with them consistently,” Leslie says, noting that clients work with the company’s designer, as well as its project coordinator.
The client’s relationship with the project coordinator also limits the number of people they need to talk to. “It’s almost like a concierge,” Leslie says. “Our clients don’t feel as if they’re left in the dark or left alone.”
Heritage Homes also has its HomeCare Department, which works with the client after they have moved in. “If they don’t call us with any concerns; we call them because we want to make sure their home is performing for them the way we expect it to perform,” he says.
“Very seldom do you see [builders] calling the customer, but that’s not the way it is at Heritage Homes,” he says. “We are continuing to work harder and [get better at] service.”
Leslie sees a strong future for Heritage Homes. “Realtors® are consistently calling us,” he says. “They want us to expand our products and our services, so I can see us getting more involved in that and opening up our product to a broader line.”
The company also will keep improving its designs to meet the latest needs of the customers. “It’s our job to anticipate the needs of our customers before they [express them],” he says.
Heritage Homes contributes to its communities in multiple ways. “There’s not just one thing we do,” President Tyrone Leslie says. “We do everything from giving to Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Awareness Program to the Sunshine Kids Golf Tournament,” he says.
The company also built three homes for the TV show, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” “Only a handful of builders in the world have done that, let alone three,” he says.
“We’re in the middle of doing another one right now for The Anne Carlsen Center,” he says, noting that the company also has donated its time to Habitat for Humanity and the United Way.