Southern builder Level Homes only has its hand in a few select markets, but that hasn’t stopped the company from making a name for itself and expanding its communities in Baton Rouge, La., and the Carolinas. In fact, the Baton Rouge–based builder’s commitment to smart, well-planned growth is exactly what made it stand out as the fastest-growing firm on BUILDER’s 2016 Next 100 list.
Level, which appeared on the Next 100 list for the first time in 2014, has since climbed more than 75 spots, to No. 118, and grew by an impressive 101.39% from 2014 to 2015. The home building firm completed and opened four new communities in Baton Rouge and an 850-lot master planned community in Raleigh, making 2015 its biggest year yet.
As president Ric Rojas says, it’s all about location, and Level has been aggressive about buying land in A and B locations.
“We look at core markets that don’t have a lot of ups and downs,” says managing partner Todd Waguespack. “We try to focus on the markets that are consistent.”
With a mix of move-up, entry-level, and luxury homes, Level’s variety of product types not only allows it to appeal to a range of buyers but also contributes to its dual role as builder and community developer.
“Our product development was key,” says Rojas. “We tried to get some synergy with what we’ve already done in Baton Rouge, and we were able to piggyback off our Americana community in Louisiana,” he says of the newest community in North Carolina and the two more set to open in the state in 2016.
But the very thing that has propelled Level Homes to success could be its biggest challenge in the upcoming year. Rojas predicts that increasing community count will be the builder’s biggest hurdle, but Level Homes isn’t getting ahead of itself yet. For now, the company plans to keep its reach close to home and grow in markets where it has already found success, particularly in Raleigh. But if Level does decide to start a new division, Rojas and Waguespack have their sights set on potential acquisitions as opposed to entering new markets and trying to grow organically.
“We’re going to try to grow our core businesses for the foreseeable future,” Rojas explains. “We have quite a bit of opportunity to expand into submarkets of Raleigh and Baton Rouge, and we will continue to steadily grow year over year in our core markets. Our growth isn’t always going to be 100% year over year, but we really want to grow our business operatively.”