Our Affiliate Club members are some of the best in the industry, so we're excited to put the spotlight on them for our Affiliate Club Member Spotlight Series on the ABoR.com blog! This month, get to know Highland Homes and iTrip Vacations.
Gold Affiliate Club Member
Q: Tell us a little about Highland Homes and what sets you apart from a typical homebuilder.
A: Highland Homes is an employee-owned company. This is pretty cool because every employee you work with at Highland Homes is also an owner. It has created a unique culture of pride and accountability that you don’t see every day. The most common thing I hear from REALTORS® and buyers is that they associate Highland Homes with excellent customer service and quality home building. Another thing you might not know about Highland Homes is that we only build in Texas – it’s the best place to be!
Q: What should someone look for in choosing a homebuilder?
A: Most buyers are looking for a particular location or school district or master-planned community when they begin to shop for a new home. That’s great because then it allows you to narrow down your options. Once you are at that point, a buyer should look at the features and floorplans that speak to them. At Highland Homes, we have an in-house architecture department that has an ultimate goal of livability. To us, livability means having a variety of floorplans that work well and feel good to a variety of buyers. We consider a lot of details of the average day to day life of our customers. For example, when you come home at the end of a long day at work, you don’t want to be reminded of the pile of laundry that you didn’t finish the evening before, so our plans won’t force you to walk through the laundry room from the garage. Or if you have guests over and forgot to make your bed, that’s ok! They aren’t there to see your bedroom, and our plans have master bedrooms tucked away from the view of the main living area.
Finally, reputation and recommendations are very important to buyers, so I suggest working with a REALTOR®! They make it their business to have the most thorough information about new home builders and can steer you in the right direction to make what is potentially the biggest purchase of your life, a pleasant experience.
Q: What are the most common mistakes you see homebuyers make when building a home?
A: Some buyers may end up trying to rush the process due to a certain timetable they are on and that can end in hurried decisions that they may regret later. If at all possible I recommend giving yourself as much leeway in the timeframe as possible, especially on a new build. Most everyone knows moving is stressful. Try to plan ahead to ease that stress and enjoy the process of buying a home. It’s the American dream!
I think you should also consider included features when choosing a home so you know approximately how much you might want to spend at the design center. The last thing you want is to pick a plan based on upgraded features that squeeze your budget too tight. Get an idea of the features you have to have and most sales counselors can tell you based on your vision a ballpark of what you should plan to add on in upgrade costs. If you’re on a tight budget, be sure to choose a builder with a lot of included features so you can get a good value.
Q: What value does Highland Homes get from being an Affiliate Club Member with ABoR?
A: Wow, that’s a great question with many answers! ABoR has been a phenomenal resource for us at Highland Homes. Of course, it allows us to connect with so many REALTORS®. The REALTORS® that we meet through ABoR are also working hard at their craft and that’s important to us. We know that a REALTOR® who is involved in ABoR is hard-working and continually seeking to educate themselves on behalf of their clients. We also like the variety of interactions that ABoR provides. We have print and digital ads, event sponsorship opportunities, Realty Round Up, social events, etc. At Highland Homes, we truly value the REALTOR® community and want to stay close so we can create lasting working relationships.
Silver Affiliate Club Member
Q: Tell us a little about iTrip Vacations and what sets you apart from a typical vacation home rental company.
A: We are a full-service vacation rental property management company handling every aspect of the vacation rental process. From professional photos and cleanings to managing guest communication and the booking calendar, we do it all. What makes us different is that our owners and guests benefit from speaking directly with the owner of the company. We offer a white-glove level of support that others can't touch!
Q: How can REALTOR® property managers benefit from your services?
A: Long-term property managers are a great partner for iTrip. There are often times when our owners want to transition from short-term rentals to long-term rentals (or vice versa) and iTrip Vacations only manages short-term rental properties so having this partnership in place is a great opportunity to pass business.
Q: What advice would you have for a property owner interested in starting a vacation rental property?
A: If done successfully, managing a vacation/short-term rental is a full-time job. We have experience in this field and our properties book at a much higher rate than the industry average. If you want to maximize your rental income, it's important that you work with a property management company that specializes in the management and marketing of vacation homes.
Q: What value do iTrip Vacations get from being an Affiliate Club Member with ABoR?
A: The incredible networking opportunities. iTrip Vacations offers a great Agent Referral Program. Having the opportunity to speak about this program and the services we offer to REALTORS® from multiple brokerages all at the same time is a great way for us to get the word out.