FOR A MAN WHO GOT OUT OF MASONRY DECADES ago because he “didn't want to work that hard for the rest of [his] life,” home builder Steve Wall has yet to let his hands go idle. Wall, the former president and CEO of Choice Homes, recently launched his own home construction company, Wall Homes, in Arlington, Texas.
While the company will target some first-time buyers, it will primarily focus on providing value-priced housing for first- and second-time move-ups. Wall says he hopes to revolutionize what home buyers can expect from a value-priced home by improving the architectural look of the house with new designs and creative elevations. Rather than settling for the often generic look of traditional value-priced housing, home buyers spending anywhere between $120,000 and $225,000 will get something that looks much more expensive, Wall says.
“I want people to drive up [to a Wall home], and say, ‘Wow, that's nice,' ” Wall explains.
Three Wall communities are currently under way in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio areas. Several additional land deals currently are on the table, ready to close in the next few months. And Wall says he plans to move the company into the Atlanta market within the next year.
“We want to be a significant builder in each of the markets we serve,” Wall says of his company's future.
And it appears that Wall is poised to make good on his promises. Armed with years of experience with both D.R. Horton and Choice Homes, he has not only assembled a strong executive team that includes CFO Darris McClure—also a former Choice employee—but he also secured a $50 million commitment from Warburg Pincus. The investment marks the U.S. private equity firm's largest financial interest in private home construction in the U.S. in 15 years.
“The key to this thing is having the capital to compete for land positions,” says Wall. “And after that, we've got a lot of great people who know how to do the rest.”