Brett Lott Homes
Brett Lott Homes’ owner is proud of the company’s longevity, experience and relationships.
By Jim Harris, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media
Brett Lott’s more than 28 years of experience make his company, Brett Lott Homes, a go-to luxury homebuilder in southeastern Washington state. “Our deep knowledge base has given us a good reputation, which I am very proud of,” he says. “We have a long list of people who are happy with the homes we’ve built for them.”
Brett Lott Homes enjoys a positive reputation among not only homeowners, but also subcontractors, who because of the company’s small size play a critical role in completing its projects. Outside of help from his family, Lott operated the company as a one-man outfit up until last year, when he added a full-time project manager.
“I have worked with a few of my subcontractors for 28 years, and there are others I’ve worked with for 15 years. I’ve been working with some of my subcontractors longer than many homebuildershave been in business,” he says. “Our business is built on relationships more than profit margins; I feel that growth and profit will come if you have good relationships and if owners have a good experience.”
Lott started the company in 1990 after his wife and father-in-law – a contractor – convinced him to enter the homebuilding business during a booming housing market. Although the market has seen its ups and downs since then, the company’s small size and Lott’s experience have helped to maintain and expand its client base. “Our clients want to go to someone who has established relationships and knowledge rather than just going with whoever has the cheapest prices on the market,” he says.
Brett Lott Homes builds custom and spec homes in Washington’s Tri-Cities area, which consists of the towns of Richland, Kennewick and Pasco. Lott grew up in the region and has called the Tri-Cities home for 40 years. Custom homes built by the company average in price between $500,000 and $800,000.
Growing with the Market
The company last year closed on 20 homes and expects a similar volume of completed projects in 2018. This increase in project load from 14 homes in 2016 is one of the main reasons Lott added the new project manager. “The growth for us is there; it was important for the company to grow as well,” he says.
In addition, Lott wanted to have someone else in place in the organization who understood the company’s systems to ease future succession of the company, he adds.
Lott describes the Tri-Cities housing market as highly active, with demand outstripping supply. “People are looking for homes and don’t have much to choose from,” he says. “When homes go on the market, they typically have multiple offers. This is really a sellers’ market.”
Although housing in the region is in demand, price increases for land and materials have impacted Lott’s business. “We can’t price homes fast enough to make up for price increases, so margins are less than what they were just two years ago,” he adds. “That’s one of our biggest challenges.”
By Popular Demand
Brett Lott Homes has several custom homes nearing completion or in the early stages of construction. Four of the company’s new homes include basements, which Lott says is not typical for the Tri-Cities region. “Families are upgrading their homes and wanting more economical space with their growing family,” Lott says.
All of the company’s homes are built and designed to client specifications. “Our clients select all of their flooring, countertops, exterior and interior colors as well as appliances, faucets and sinks,” he adds. “They are involved all the way through the project.”
Homes built by the company typically include open floor plans. Several great rooms in Brett Lott Homes’ projects include box-beam ceilings. “These really give a touch of class and elegance to a home and make a great statement when you walk into the room,” he adds.
Prominent design trends Lott sees in the region include a shift from granite to quartz countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. Many of the bathrooms built by the company also include large walk-in master showers featuring multiple showerheads, benches, shelves and custom tile. Tankless water heaters and painted, rather than stained, cabinets are also becoming popular, Lott notes.
‘Doing Something More’
Adding a second full-time employee is only one of several upgrades to Brett Lott Homes’ operations. Lott plans to soon move his office from his home into an outside office space. The company is also improving its website and expanding its marketing efforts, Lott says.
Two of the homes Brett Lott Homes will build in 2018 have community connections. The company is planning to build its first home since 2015 for entry into the Tri-Cities Parade of Homes.
Profits from the sale of another of the company’s homes will be donated to a local charity. The anticipated donation will be one of the largest the company has made to a community organization.
“We wanted to do something more with the community,” Lott says, noting he is also involved with the Boy Scouts of America, Habitat For Humanity and local church groups. “We feel giving the profits from a home sale is a way we can give back that is in our wheelhouse.”