If you’re looking to buy a home in Rio Grande Valley or shopping new homes in Laredo, you have a lot of choices when it comes to builders. So why should you choose WestWind Homes? What makes our processes and our homes superior?
Lance Price, Division President of WestWind Homes in Laredo has been building with WestWind Homes almost since the beginning. He doesn’t just help families get the homes of their dreams, he lives in a WestWind Home himself. Here are excerpts from our interview.
What makes WestWind Homes the best new home builder?
Westwind Homes makes a very, very unique home. What we focus on, our desire and intention is to build a home with the family in mind.
We invest a lot in the aesthetics of the house because our goal is to make it liveable for the family. Each of our neighborhoods feels unique. There are savings to the customer because of our large-scale buying power, but the homes don’t all feel alike. That’s intentional because each one is a place where someone puts kids to bed at night.
One thing we’re known for is being an extremely energy-efficient builder. I can vouch for that myself since I live in a WestWind Home. My house isn’t huge, it’s around 2200 square feet, but still, it’s a good size. My utilities are super low. On average, I have a $150 electric bill, and the whole house is electric.
What Sets WestWind Homes apart as far as design and construction goes?
Our building processes are unique for the area. We do a post-tension slab, where the foundation actually has steel cables inside of it. They pull against each other like the strings of a tennis racket. So inside that foundation, the left is pulling against the right and the front against the back.
The whole thing is extremely secure, and it prevents foundation issues. That’s why we’ve poured more than two million square feet of WestWind Homes foundation that has never failed.
Another difference is our framing process. A lot of builders, they get homes in a package and put it together like a bunch of Lincoln Logs. It’s very one-size-fits-all. That isn’t the way we do things.
When we build every home, it’s still a stick build. Every time we start with lumber and build a stick frame that’s specific to that home.
Also, every home is engineered. Then the engineer has an inspector, someone who doesn’t work for us that basically checks our homework. Next, the city inspects. There’s just an extremely rigorous inspection process on the slab and the frame. All that gives each buyer an extremely durable, well-built home.
What else do you offer buyers might not get with another builder?
We’re pretty unique in the Laredo market in that we’re one of the only folks with a full-blown design center. Each buyer can come in and sit down with someone specially trained to help them identify what style they’re going for and pick out a design scheme.
It helps them get a look that flows together, to get a house that really feels like a home, and still stay within their budget. With everything in our design center, we’ve already negotiated great prices.
We have the colors and finishes people want, and they really have a lot to choose from. Some of the most popular right now are the Tuscan look, French Country, Mediterranean, Contemporary with a lot of greys, a Spanish hacienda look with lots of earth tones, etc.
You mentioned savings. How can buyers save on new construction by working with WestWind Homes?
Our massive amount of buying power translates into huge savings. Compare us to the guy who builds one or two homes a year on idividual plots. In contrast, we might build 200 homes a year all in one spot.
When we talk to suppliers and say we need enough sticks and bricks to build 300 homes, they give us tremendous discounts. We get volume discounts on shingles, wood, bricks, flooring, all of it.
Everything we offer to buyers, all the choices they have for personalizing their new construction is at a pre-negotiated price that’s the best one out there. We can call up suppliers and say we need 3,000 square feet of this particular tile or 500 of these faucets. They’re more than happy to sell us that many for less, and we pass that savings on to the buyer.
Also, we build in subdivisions. That’s different price-wise than buying one lot at a time. We might have 80 or 100 lots in one community. We’re buying in bulk there also, so we pass on that savings.
Our San Isidro Ranch community is unique because we’ve made things even more affordable with a 45-foot lot. Typically lots are between 55 and 60 feet in width. With a slightly more narrow lot, we’ve improved affordability. That’s important because the cost of development has gotten really crazy, but wages haven’t changed.
What are some of the features that make WestWind Homes so energy efficient?
The biggest energy user is the air conditioner, so we start there. Our area has 110 degree days for a lot of the summer, so whatever we use is going to be put to the test. So, we install extremely high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) heating and cooling units. When you have an 18 SEER air conditioner, it’s extremely energy efficient, so your bills stay low.
Also, we use Low-E windows to filter out the light that transmits heat. They have a microscopic, transparent covering that doesn’t change the amount of daylight that comes in, but it minimizes infrared and ultraviolet light, reflecting that heat away from your home’s interior.
We do blown-in insulation in the walls. We actually seal up every nook and cranny so the energy you pay for isn’t leaking out. If there’s a gap at the foundation, that gets caulked and sealed. We also wall off space in the attic and take extra steps in the garage to keep heat from seeping into the house.
Plus, our blower door test checks for leakage on each house. You can get a home too tight, where the air feels stale and smells musty. That isn’t livable for the family, so it goes against everything we’re working for. We make sure there’s adequate air exchange so it’s energy efficient but never has that uncomfortable, stagnant feel.
A lot of people say building is stressful. How do you help buyers through the process?
There are three things in life you’re never ready for – getting married, having kids and building a home. They’re all more stressful than you anticipate, no matter how much you prepare ahead of time.
Our sales team has been trained to help folks get through that. It’s a huge advantage just to be surrounded by people who have been through it time and again, who know what’s normal and how to help you through the bumps.
There’s no way to completely take the stress out of building a home. If you know upfront what to expect, that helps. Then, when it gets overwhelming, you go back and start with your original purpose. Remind yourself why you started and the benefits of seeing it through. Remember in the end you get a home, a place where you can tuck your kids in at night.
At WestWind Homes, our job is to help people through and to remember what it was like when we were there. The thing is, new homes are the last handmade product in America. They’re individual and put together by human beings. The process is never going to be perfect.
That’s why we have our design coordinators and home advisors. When buyers worry it’s not going to turn out right, we go back and talk them through their choices. Ultimately they realize it’s not about what their mother-in-law wants or what happened when their uncle built a home. It’s about their family and seeing their own dreams come to life.
What about the Home Buyer’s Club?
Last year we sold somewhere around 160 homes in the Laredo market. Of those, 64 people went through the home buyer’s club. That’s 64 people who otherwise wouldn’t own a house right now, but today they have a place for their family to call their own. They have a place to raise their children, and they’re building equity in something of lasting value.
The year before that, 48 people went through our home buyer’s club. When they do, we help them get on a budget. They learn how to save money for a down payment. They pay down debt and repair their credit. It’s life-changing.
Where to Find WestWind Homes New Homes for Sale
Search Laredo Homes for sale or Rio Grande Homes for sale online. Or, fill out our contact form and our customer service team will be in touch to answer your questions, schedule tours or start your home buying process today.