LOCATED JUST FIVE MINUTES FROM Tinker Air Force Base, Liberty Trails had a simple mission, says Carol Williams, director of single-family homes for Oklahoma City–based builder GT Homes. “We really cater to the military,” she says. “During wartime, [we] really wanted a great place during a stressful time.”
The primary amenity for the 86-acre community is a “great playground” with a quarter-mile track, Williams says. Plus, Liberty Trails is convenient to the major highway into town, but it is far enough away to be peaceful.
Since 90 percent of the buyers are military families, GT Homes has heavily focused its marketing efforts on the base. The military has strict rules about advertising on the base, Williams says, so the builder keeps a high profile through sponsorships of social events, such as the annual Oktoberfest and Spring Fling, as well as holiday activities and sports teams. “In the last year, they've needed more and more sponsorships because their budgets have been cut drastically for any social activities,” Williams says. “They can call us whenever they need something.”
GT Homes also works closely with the base's housing office to help personnel and their families who want to purchase a home. Its staff works with a local bank to offer prospective buyers a “learning experience on how to buy a home,” Williams says. “We try to help them buy what's right for their budgets. It's usually the first investment they've ever made.”
The builder's Web site has been important as well because “a lot of people are transferred here from out of the country,” she says.
A homeowner referral program also has proved valuable, says Williams. Current owners receive one cash bonus for referring a prospective buyer, and another if the referral purchases a house. “[Owners are] the best billboards you can have,” she says.
Project: Liberty Trails, Oklahoma City
Date sales started: April 2004
Sales through February 2006: 145
Total units planned: 269
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Oklahoma City, OK.