49 minutes | Feb 1, 2021

Ep29 Steve Hextell: Mastering the Office Condominium

As Vice-President for Southern Home Builders, Steve spent the major part of the last decade leading the company’s expansion into the Texas market with what was a new product at the time, the office condominium. A venture that not only led to great success but also resulted in countless valuable insights and lessons, which we dive into. Today, Steve Hextell has his sights set on exciting new ventures, both through his property management company called The Houston Office Company, and through a new development company called Tenet Developers, conceived to seize opportunities within the office condominium space, and beyond. In today’s episode, we dive into:What exactly is the office condominium product, what makes it unique, why it flies under the radar, and why it works. We discuss marketing, storytelling, the significance of knowing your customer, we discuss managing trades and construction costs, we discuss the main attributes to consider when looking for land for development, and much, much more.Email: steve@thoc-llc.com Website: www.houstonofficecompany.com/ Book referenced: The Tipping Point  by Malcolm GladwellFROM THE EPISODE: ON OFFERING LIMITED OPTIONS FOR CUSTOMIZATION“First of all, the product was really good. The floor plan was outstanding. And so there wasn’t a need to structurally change a lot of things.”“People don’t like to make a lot of changes.”ON KEEPING CONSTRUCTION COSTS LOW“When you're recruiting trades, you have to find people that are the most value trades out there. You can get them to do your project if you can promise them consistent delivery of available ready units for them to get in and out.”“Construction costs are an ongoing management process of exploring and looking at trades, riding other projects, construction sites, constantly with your business card out looking for other trades that can come in and competitively bid.”“When you layer on a general contractor and you layer on commercial trades and big trades, the numbers just don’t work. You almost have to be a 1-2 person show keeping your costs so low and driving your costs.”ON MARKETING“We don’t advertise, there was really no awareness campaign at all because we knew who the target audience was.”“We had a really good brand. We knew early on in our first project that our website, our collateral, our image, our logo, everything had to be really first class.”“When you do a good job well then you get referrals, and you don’t pay for referrals, you just ask people.”“Your place has got to look great. You’ve got to build a good product, you’ve got to communicate, you’ve got to ask for referrals. But you have got to have a plan in place. A strategy to execute.”ON FINDING OPPORTUNITIES“One of the key tenets is I always looked for land. I try to buy land in up and coming areas but buy it soon enough that it’s affordable.”“Be prepared to get involved in the market… You have to join the chamber, you have to join the economic development council, you have to talk to people, you have to ride the construction sites and get to know the trades.”“I still think being there with the clients, talking to them and watching your costs every day is crucial.”“Have your hands in every aspect of it. You could lose vast amounts of money really easily if there’s a mistake.”“You have to understand and know every penny that’s being spent.”“There’s an opportunity to be excited about what’s coming. And jump onto as much of it as you can. Be positive about it.”“Be the positive person in the room. Be the positive person about the future of what’s coming.”
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