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Entry-Level Housing: How Building Materials Manufacturers Can Partner With Builders

The housing market has shifted dramatically, becoming increasingly more expensive. If you’re wondering how to effectively sell to builders and take advantage of the recent changes in new construction, including the need for entry-level housing, we’ve got a few great ideas for you.

Photo of Zach Williams
Photo of Beth PopNikolov
by Zach Williams and Beth PopNikolov

More About This Episode

The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insights on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.

This week, Zach connected with someone who knows the ins and outs of the home-building market. Carla Sevilla, owner of Chanticleer Properties and principal of Glenwood Homes, shares how building materials manufacturers can navigate (and sell to) builders in the entry-level housing market.

Finding Success in New Home Sales

It’s not news that new homes on the market have been pricey, especially with the state of the supply chain in the last year. Carla is on the front lines of this issue, but she’s found plenty of opportunities for her and her team at Glenwood Homes. They’ve been building hundreds of homes in North Carolina at affordable prices for the last several years.

Carla started in real estate during her time in the Marines. “I fell in love with sales and new construction at that time,” says Carla. “I probably sold more homes to fellow Marines than I was making in the Marine Corps at the time, and I just became very passionate about new home sales.”

Carla wound up getting her MBA in real estate development and worked for both national and regional builders until finally starting her own home building company. Glenwood Homes builds in North Carolina’s Triangle market, in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area.

Her experience in real estate and homebuilding gives her a wealth of knowledge about entry-level housing and how to sell to homeowners (even during unprecedented times).

And business is booming right now.

“We do a lot of volume, and we have just a very finite set of plans,” explains Carla. “But they are plans that work, and we are happy to deliver them in this awesome market right now.”

115 Building Affordable Homes for Todays Homeowner


Building Affordable Homes for Today’s Homeowner

The market that Carla and her team work in is on the rise, and part of that is due to cultural shifts in how people live and work today.

“Now that people can work remotely, they are choosing to live elsewhere in North Carolina, and the Triangle area is a top relocation spot,” according to recent Raleigh news reports. People who live in states with higher costs of living, like California, are flocking to those more affordable communities out East.

The opportunity has been fruitful for Glenwood Homes, especially since they’re able to offer a wider range of home options to new homebuyers in the Triangle area. Larger builders in the area have caught on to the opportunity there, too, but struggle with giving homeowners the kinds of customization that Carla and her team are able to offer.

“I think just being so big, it is a bit of a challenge,” explains Carla. These large national builders are more rigid in how they do business, and “being so tied to your systems and processes, doesn't allow that builder to be a little more nimble about product changes or options upgrades for the consumer.”

Being a smaller, more flexible firm has brought big returns to Glenwood Homes, for a couple of reasons. What we do in our company is we actually find the land, the raw land, we entitle it and we develop it,” explains Carla.

“We are able to purchase home sites a little less expensive than some of the other builders in this market because we do have that land entitlement capability in our company,” she says.

The other strategy is focusing just outside of the hot spots where the big developers are. Carla and her team are working in areas that aren’t as competitive. “We're going to Johnson County, we're going to smaller communities that do have land, that do have raw lots that maybe the big guys aren't competing against us,” she says.

These cost-efficient strategies mean that the customer winds up with a beautiful, affordable home they’ll love. Carla explains: “Now that people are working from home more, you can go a little further outside of the metropolitan areas. So that's giving us a less expensive dirt cost, which allows us to pass those savings on to the consumer.”

115 How To Dive Into Entry Level Housing

How To Dive Into Entry-Level Housing

The goal for Glenwood Homes is getting the homeowner into their affordable new house, as soon as possible. Supply chain issues in the industry have made that a problem for everyone building properties right now, but Carla and her team have found ways to navigate that by working with the right manufacturers.

She explains that these partnerships have been key to getting projects done on time and to Glenwood Homes’ continued business success. “They've really partnered with us during this crazy time of having products available and being able to meet our customer's demand,” Carla explains. If a manufacturer is running low on products, they might offer an upgrade to the next level of product, to help meet project milestones.

Building materials brands can also partner with builders like Glenwood Homes by offering high-quality, lower-priced products that homeowners will love.

Since Glenwood offers homes around $300,000, the products need to be budget-friendly. “I can't afford to put the five-inch plank engineered hardwood in the homes, but we've found a great sheet vinyl product and a really great LVP product that looks so similar,” explains Carla.

Being Flexible in New Construction

No one can predict exactly what trends will look like in home design and the construction market, but Carla gives us a clue: flexibility.

“All of my plans that we design are going to have a flexible space at the front of the home,” she explains. Glenwood Homes gives their customers a choice about how they're going to use their new home’s square footage. “Because they're spending so much more time at home, they're really thinking about every square foot.”

Building materials manufacturers can sell to new homeowners by thinking more broadly about how your products will benefit their design, and by making those products available as soon as possible.

“At least in my price point, they really want to have the best value proposition and get into that home with a certain square footage, certain bathroom count, certain bedroom count,” says Carla.

Want Even More Insight?

Glenwood Homes stays successful because the customer (and their budget) stays top-of-mind. “Our company focuses on very affordable product,” explains Carla. Because Carla and her team offer their customers a turnkey home buying solution, we expect they’ll see even more success in the coming years.

You can listen to the full interview with Carla for more ideas and selling solutions.

If you have a question for Carla, you can connect by emailing her at [email protected].

If you have a question for us about your builder selling strategies, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].