Q&A: Serene Homes: Capitalizing on a hot market

Betty Dillard bdillard@bizpress.net

Construction is set to begin this summer on the first of two residential communities in west Fort Worth by Serene Homes, a new national, single-family homebuilder headquartered in Southlake. The builder will debut its “smart home” designs, featuring the latest in technology, in the 430-acre The Hills of Windridge development and the 93-acre The Trails of Fossil Creek community. Located on White Settlement Road off Loop 820, The Hills of Windridge has 1,284 available lots. Houses will be priced from the $170,000s to the low $300,000s and range from 1,778 to 3,506 square feet. Houses at The Trails of Fossil Creek will be priced from the $140,000s to $160,000s with three- and four-bedroom, one- and two-story plans ranging from 1,464 to 2,926 square feet. There are 467 lots available. The elevations and floor plans for each home are named after serene places from around the world, such as Alpamayo (Peru), Santorini (Greece), Tulum (Mexico) and Tuscany (Italy). Model homes in The Hills of Windridge are expected to be open in June with move-in by the end of the year, according to Jeff Peterson, executive vice president of land acquisition and development for Serene Homes. Peterson said Serene Homes decided to debut in Fort Worth because of its hot housing market and shortage of homes. “We chose Fort Worth for our first two communities because people and employers like Wal-Mart, Amazon and Motorola and others keep moving to this area from all over the world,” Peterson said. “In order to satisfy the demand of all the influx of companies and their employees, Serene Homes will be able to help equalize the supply and demand scale.” In addition to offering customized, smart home functionality, the homebuilder boasts a high-tech sales center where buyers can visualize design options when they access an augmented reality layout with RFID and 3D display capabilities online from their computer or mobile device. Serene Homes will provide technology training for homebuyers for the first year, according to Peterson.

How and why did Serene Homes get started? Serene Homes was started because our company has a desire to change the home-buying experience as well as homes themselves. Every aspect of our lives today is touched by technology. Our cars are talking to us now and our phones have become personal computers that we keep in our pocket. All of this is getting better, faster and smarter. Except our homes have stayed the same. Sure designs change, color schemes change, and some products become better in our homes, but the entire process has stayed the same for years. It is time our homes are smarter, in design, features and technology. It is time for something new and something people will want. We are here to fill that void and offer a great product with more features at competitive prices.

What are ‘smart home’ designs and what are some of Serene Homes’ smart features? Smart home designs are homes that allow homeowners the opportunity to control their home from their phone, tablet or computer. How many times have you left the house and wondered if you remembered to turn off the light in your bedroom? Or if you left the iron plugged in? With the Serene Home smart technology, you can simply turn off those switches with your phone and not have to worry. Smart homes also allow homeowners to have peace of mind with security in their home. We have a feature that is included with every home where if someone breaks in, there is a sensor with a camera that begins taking pictures as soon as there is movement. We can set it up so that lights come on when this happens or the homeowner can even be alerted when someone pulls into their driveway. The great thing about this, it can be controlled from anywhere in the world.

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Are your homes just for the tech-savvy homebuyer? Absolutely not. That is the major concern I had when we started considering smart homes. We tested this product on people that have very minimal understanding of technology. Everyone was very excited with how easy this is to operate. We even have contingency plans if the power goes out or if batteries die. This system is so easy to use and can be custom tailored to each homeowner’s individual needs.

Besides smart home designs, how else does Serene Homes set itself apart from other homebuilders? For years homebuilders have built homes that are geared toward generating the most profit to the builder. Unless you buy a custom home and design it exactly how you want it, you are more than likely going to have to settle for things that you really don’t want. At Serene Homes, we have thought about the many features that are important in a home and have either added these features or created designs to be more accommodating. We didn’t just purchase stock plans and begin building and selling these. We thought about every single area of the home and how we can make the best use of the space.

Why did Serene Homes choose North Texas to debut its communities? There are more people now moving to Texas than anywhere else in the U.S. Employers have discovered that Texas is a great place to run their companies and employees have discovered that moving to Texas gives rise to a better quality of life. We couldn’t imagine debuting our new Serene Home communities anywhere else.

Are there plans for future communities in the Fort Worth area? We are currently in the process of acquiring another 1,200 acres in which we expect to build another 5,500 homes. This is just what is on the horizon now. We are constantly looking for more opportunities that are ideal for future projects.

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Is Serene Homes making any changes to the buyer process? We have changed the process entirely on how a new home is purchased. Everything is going to be an experience that will make the home-buying process amazing. From visiting our sales office to making selections at our design center, the experience will be like no other home-buying experience. I can’t give away everything here. You will have to come see for yourself.