Stevens Fine Homes probably should have been a casualty of the housing crash.
Craig Stevens started the company from his pickup truck in 1993, riding the market up, doubling closings every year to 325 in 2005. Then he rode it down, bottoming at 68 deliveries in 2008.
That’s when, odds were, the company’s story should have ended. Instead, its closings doubled in 2009 to 128, even as the Wilmington, N.C., market fell 20 percent. In 2010 Stevens expected to close 125 homes. And the company is making money. Here’s how it’s survived:
Liquidity: “My dad [a builder] was always screaming in my ear, ‘Don’t spend it because it won’t go on forever,’” Stevens says. He listened.
Agility: The company successfully retooled to target first-time buyers for the tax credit in a 30-day blitzkrieg in 2009. Since, it has created new product that brings in active adult buyers.
Good tools: Stevens created a computer system that synchronizes all facets of the company, from sales to closings, significantly cutting construction time.
Calling in experts: Stevens hired sales and marketing consultants and listened to them.
“It’s like spokes on a wheel,” Stevens says. “You have to have every spoke working.”
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Wilmington, NC.