Meritage builds homes to meet residents' needs

By carefully selecting community locations, building the right variety of homes and pricing them affordably, Meritage Homes Corp. has become one of the Las Vegas Valley's most respected homebuilders, according to Robb Beville, Las Vegas Division president for Meritage Homes.

"It has never been our goal to be the biggest home-builder in southern Nevada, but we strive to be a top 10 builder here, like we do ineach of our national markets," Beville says. "Our philosophy allows us to be very selective about where we develop communities in the valley. For Meritage buyers, it means a fresh approach to living."

Part of the company's approach includes giving back to residents in its communities. Beville says the practice is best illustrated through the clubhouses found at many of the company's communities. For example, the fully staffed Club at Yellowstone offers three swimming pools, a spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, outdoor barbecue area, basketball court, party room and children's play area. It's the centerpiece of Yellowstone at Mountain's Edge, one of the homebuilder's most popular communities.

"The Club at Yellowstone is our contribution to the residents of Yellowstone at Mountain's Edge," Beville says. "We're developing a similar recreational facility--The Club at Northern Terrace--for residents of Northern Terrace at Providence.

"Homeowners have many expenses. By offering these unique communityamenities, we're telling them we understand," he states. "They can cancel the gym memberships and forget about building pools in their backyards. We eliminate those extra expenses for them."

Regardless of a community's size, Beville says Meritage's homebuyers are sure to find quality and value. Gated entrances, community parks, lush landscaping and clubhouses provide a destination lifestyle to residents--even in some of Meritage's smallest communities.

"Our goal is to give buyers homes they're proud to own in neighborhoods they're excited to call home," Beville says, "Our word is our honor. When we tell buyers they're going to get quality and value, we show them quality and value."

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Beville explains that before individuals and families are happy homeowners, they're happy customers.

"We focus on creating good experiences from the moment a customer enters one of our sales centers," Beville says, adding that the company makes the buying process comfortable and manageable. "It's no secret that purchasing a new home can be overwhelming. By providing our signature customer service and superior quality, we're on our way to creating happy homeowners."

Promoting Growth

Meritage entered the Las Vegas market in 2002 after purchasing Perma-Bilt Homes, a company that began building Las Vegas homes in 1994.Armed with a strategic growth and land acquisition plan, Beville andhis Las Vegas team have consistently achieved their annual goals. "We delivered 541 homes in 2005 and expect to deliver well over 600 homes in 2006," Beville says.

Beville predicts the momentum will continue throughout 2007 as Meritage unveils new communities and model home complexes. Sales are currently under way at 11 Las Vegas-area communities. Great Falls, Whitewater, Glacier and Evergreen are within Yellowstone at Mountain's Edge in the southwest part of the valley. Summer Trail, a gated community of two-story homes, and Watermarke, Meritage's newest condominium community, are also located within the Mountain's Edge master-planned community.

In the northwest, Northern Terrace at Providence offers four neighborhoods: Concord, Salem, Brookline and Andover. Geyser Peak is situated in the north near the base of the Spring Mountains.

"We're on track to open model homes at Summer Trail, Watermarke and Northern Terrace in January and February," Beville says. Meritage Homes at Inspirada, a new master planned community in Henderson, Nev, is touted as "a 2,000-acre town unto itself" with residential villages and a city center. Meritage will feature three new uniquely designed communities.

Beville expects pre-sales to begin in February. "Buyers will have an opportunity to choose from a variety of imaginative architectural styles, estate homes, village homes and city homes," says Beville, adding that model homes are planned to debut in May and July.

"We've made our mark in several pockets of the valley and buyers anticipate seeing our neighborhoods go up in the newest and most popular areas of town. The response to our Las Vegas communities has been phenomenal," he adds.

He credits the success to thoughtful floor plan design, quality construction and consistent customer service. "We're as deliberate about our growth strategies as we are about maintaining the solid reputation we've earned," he states.

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"We're extremely well positioned for the future," Beville continues. "Our current lot supply puts us in a very good growth situation for the next three [to] five years."

The Right Value

A native Las Vegan and CPA, Beville says the southern Nevada homebuilding industry suits him well. He finds his work with Meritage bothexciting and rewarding. "I'm passionate about this industry. I love providing the American dream to buyers in this market," he says, noting that he especially enjoys delivering Meritage homes to happy new owners.

Beville believes buyer satisfaction is linked to the value of his company's products. The division aims to provide more value than competing home-builders by offering exceptional home designs at affordable prices. "We offer a really attractive home package for the price," he says.

According to the company, there is more to the draw than price," he says. "Location is a key component of Meritage's marketing strategy.

According to Beville, his division builds "in the best submarkets in Las Vegas," which includes the popular northwest, southwest and Henderson regions.

"We're extremely selective about the location of our communities and the details that define them," Beville says. "Once we determine that an area meets our criteria, we apply our proven model and create unmatched value for buyers. Our approach sets us apart, and buyers respond."

Broad Appeal

The Las Vegas Division serves a broad customer base that includes first- and second-time homebuyers, young professionals, families, executives and empty nesters. "It covers the whole gamut," Beville says."Part of the plan is to cater to as many people as we possibly can."

The sales approach is working for the division, Beville says, and many first-time Meritage buyers move up to second and third Meritage homes. Along the way, they share their experiences with neighbors, friends and relatives.

In 2005, Beville's division had a 27 percent unsolicited referral rate. "Unsolicited means we didn't offer incentives for referrals," Beville says. "Homeowners see the value of their Meritage homes. They see that the value of their neighborhoods have maintained. They refertheir friends simply because they're happy with their own experiences."

Beville says all buyers receive the same high level of customer service. It's a top priority for the division. "We constantly evaluate ourselves and work to improve," he says. The division participates inJ.D. Power surveys to measure and evaluate its service. "We increaseour scores on a regular basis, yet always strive for more. 'Good, better, best--never let it rest 'til your good is better and your better is best.' That's our motto," says Beville.

Invaluable Partnerships

The division is quick to credit business partners and subcontractors as contributors to its corporate success. "We value our business relationships and tend to keep them for years," Beville says. "Our subcontractors provide an invaluable service to us."

Beville and his team regularly look to subcontractors for feedbackon design, value, engineering and new product releases.

Financial stability and longevity are two characteristics the division seeks in its partners. "We definitely include local companies inthe fold," Beville says. "Our partners don't have to be big, national companies for us to consider them."

Beville adds that, regardless of size, a subcontractor must be able to employ skilled labor. "We focus a lot of attention on the quality of our homes," he states. "We hold subcontractors to those same standards--without exception."

As part of a 2006 thank-you campaign, Meritage offered a reward program to its trade partners.

Helping with Homes

The Las Vegas Division of Meritage Homes is an avid supporter of Southern Nevada-based nonprofit organizations. In 2006, the company made sizable gifts to Opportunity Village, Nevada Cancer Institute, BoyScouts of America, the Las Vegas Sun Summer Camp Fund, Child Focus, Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation and the Lied Discovery Children's Museum, among others.

"It's a privilege and our responsibility to support the community that supports us," Beville says. "We're thrilled to contribute resources to causes that positively impact underprivileged youth, individuals and families."

National Recognition

Meritage is currently ranked by Builder magazine as the 13th-largest U.S. single-family homebuilder in terms of unit deliveries. The company notes that it has achieved a leadership position in the consolidated homebuilding industry, with 18 consecutive years of record revenues and net earnings.

"The company's growth reflects a successful focus on increasing market share through organic growth, acquisitions and start-up operations, while also maintaining excellent returns and a strong balance sheet," Meritage states.

RELATED ARTICLE: Meritage Homes Corp. Las Vegas Division

Projected 2006 revenues: $250 million

HQ: Las Vegas

Employees: 82

Service: Homebuilder

Robb Beville, division president: "When we tell buyers they're going to get quality and value, we show them quality and value."



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