Q&A with Jim Suor

What is the hottest new feature today?

Master baths with a huge walk-in shower with no door and not having a tub in the master bath.

What feature would you have built several years ago that is now totally passe?

Laminate flooring and formica/solid surface countertops.

Any macro trends in new-home design/Southwest living?

The white and gray theme is still very popular with younger couples. Farmhouse-style homes are becoming very popular, as well

What are other trends in finishes?

Traditional stained cabinets are timeless, and will always be a standard. Whites and grays are still popular. Porcelain wood-tile flooring is in huge demand. Oil-rubbed bronze plumbing/light fixtures are most desirable. Fireplaces are more common than one might think. Probably 50 percent of our homes have fireplaces, electric, gas or wood-burning. Gas is most popular.

Do folks have natural gas or propane?

Only a few communities in the county have gas. Most people still like this option, but propane is always available no matter where you decide to build. Tanks are traditionally leased for a very small annual fee.

What subdivisions/neighborhoods/areas here are hot right now?

Chaparral Estates, Val Vista Estates, Saddle Creek, Los Montanos and areas by Central Arizona College. Coming Soon: Arroyo Verde Estates.

Have lot prices increased lately? What about construction costs?

Unfortunately, both are increasing. Lot costs have started climbing in the last four months, and build costs steadily climb with material increases and labor demands.

What percentage are custom homes versus spec homes?

Almost everything we build is custom/pre-sold. We usually build one spec at a time.

How do you market your specs? Is the local REALTOR community important?

Most of our marketing/advertising is done via our signage in front of our homes and online — website, Facebook, etc. Local REALTORS are extremely important. We receive many of our leads/customers from the local REALTOR community.

How many homes do you currently have going at any one time?

We always have five to seven going at one time. Our goal is to start a new home every three to four weeks, and have been doing so for the last 18 months.

Which sub-trades to you do yourself? How many employees currently work for Absolute Homes?

We do large percentage the work in-house. I have put crews/employees together over the last four to five years, and have continued to grow. We have our own concrete crew, framing crew, flooring/shower installers, cabinet installer, block wall and pavers installers, garage door installers and landscapers.

Explain the full range of services your firm provides:

  • Custom and semi-custom homes
  • RV/detached garages
  • Kitchen and bath remodels
  • Additions/remodels
  • Concrete work
  • Block walls/pavers
  • Full landscaping, from maintenance to new installs
  • Barbecues, outdoor kitchens, ramadas and synthetic grass

Do you want to grow? If so, how big?

We want to grow, so we can complete more homes per-year. This will enable us to keep pricing lower and affordable for our clients. We want to grow, but still give our personal attention to every home. That has helped us to be so successful.

Tell us about the regulatory environment – county versus city?

Because of our clients’ demand for larger lots, our primary building envelope is county, rather than city. Pinal County cut their impact fees in half about two years ago, helping the building costs go down. The city fees have not changed much over the last few years, and are considerably more. The big difference with county versus city is the sewer system.The higher impact fees in the city include sewer hookups, whereas the county needs septic.

What else would you like people to know about you, your company and/or the current state of homebuilding in our area?

I love what I do. It is an extremely hectic and chaotic career, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have an amazing wife and family that supports me and the business, and couldn’t do it without them. I love the day my clients move in. No project is perfect or without headaches, but that day makes it all worthwhile. I also love the fact I can see any of my thousands of past clients in the store, and stop to say. “hello” and catch up. We are here to stay. I have had my younger brother working for me for the last couple years, and plan to have him take over when I can’t walk anymore (I love it too much to quit any earlier). We even have my 6-year-old nephew wanting to work for us one day, so who knows! It’s time to build new. Prices on existing 10-12 year-old homes are virtually the same price for a brand new custom with a warranty. Get on board now.