While most builders are being forced to merge, downsize or claim bankruptcy, Highland Homes is making, and even improving, its national rankings for its continued growth.
Builder Magazine has ranked Highland Homes the 84th largest national homebuilder for 2008, up from 121st in 2007.
"It's not very often you see a small, independent builder make such great strides, especially with the ups and downs of the building industry," said Bob Adams, president of Highland Homes. "This is a nice accomplishment in very difficult market conditions and a huge milestone for any builder, let alone an independent business."
Bolstered with the improved ranking, Highland Homes will "continue to focus on the little things, paying attention to every minor detail of this business in order to continue its success," Adams said.
"The owners of this company review every customer survey returned after buyers move into their new homes and it gives them great satisfaction to read their compliments and confirms Highland Homes is on the right track," he said.
Adams said Highland Homes was heralded earlier in 2009 in several publications for its steady, month-after-month increases in sales, and for leading the industry by using social media to balance marketing and advertising to increase visitor traffic and sales volume.
"It's been a great year," said Kathie McDaniel, director of sales and marketing for Highland Homes. "We faced the same challenges as other builders in terms of downsizing and reducing our ad budgets. Sales have increased from what used to average 35 per month to more than 50 per month, and many times exceeding 50 sales per month."
Expansion is the obvious sign of success and Highland Homes is showing just such a sign. On Sept. 19, Highland Homes started selling new homes in St. Cloud at Deer Creek, near Orlando. The homes will range from 1,200 to more than 2,600 square feet of living space, with one-story or two-story plans. Prices are from the $120,000s.
"Highland Homes has been strategizing about entering the Orlando market for two years now and the time has finally come," Adams said. "The Orlando expansion is expected to be just as successful as Highland Homes' Tampa communities."
Ayersworth Glen, a master planned community in the Riverview area, is located off U.S. Highway 301, just south of Big Bend Road, and has had consistent sales since it opened in 2007. This community features a clubhouse with a fitness center and community room, bike trails, playground, sports field, and one of the largest community pools in the area.
"Homeowners love it because it's country-club living at an affordable price," McDaniel said.
Prices at Ayersworth Glen start in the $120,000s. For more information, call (813) 938-4810.
The Greens at Hidden Creek is another Tampa area community doing well, she said. This community is located off Eiland Boulevard in Zephyrhills and has quick access to Interstate 75 and the University of South Florida campus. The community had its grand opening in May and has had several sales already.
"The community is not a CDD community and offers a nice rural setting with pond and conservation views," she said.
Prices start in the $140,000s. For more information, call (813) 395-8977.
Highland Homes builds more than 40 floor plans, most of which include a screened, covered lanai and luxury bath, McDaniel said.
"The luxury bath features a garden tub and separate shower, double vanities, and a walk-in closet in the master suite," she said.
Enhanced architectural details and upgrades are throughout the home designs and Highland Homes has partnered with several brand manufacturers to offer homebuyers plenty of options, such as Whirlpool appliances, Merillat cabinets, Delta faucets, Pittsburgh paints, Armstrong flooring, Mica countertops, and several others.
Homes built by Highland Homes are also equipped with new energy related features, such as 14 and 15 SEER air conditioner units and programmable thermostats.
"Highland Homes has its own warranty department to provide better customer service and a personal touch that carries through from first contact at the sales center to long after the buyer moves into the home," McDaniel said.
Founded in 1996, by Robert J. and Joel Adams, the vision of Highland Homes was established with a commitment to excellence and family values, she said.
"The company's strong leadership and it owners' personal commitment are what the company's employees attribute to its personal success," McDaniel said. "Attitudes are contagious and when you see it in the leadership, it will automatically spread throughout the company."
Highland Homes has more than 20 communities throughout Central Florida, including Lake and Polk counties.
Visit the company's Web site at www.highlandhomes.com for more information.