It’s been 25 years since Bob Benes founded Aspen Builders, a company that now reigns as one of Lincoln’s top home builders. As the business celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, Benes reflects on the past, sets goals for the future and recommits to providing top-notch services to people at every price point.
But Aspen wasn’t an overnight success, “We lost money on our first two homes,” Benes recalls. In 1992- its inaugural year, Aspen built 10 homes. Since then, Benes has focused on achieving his company’s goals: to build houses that have character, to be competitive in the real estate market and build affordable homes.
Staying focused on these objectives, Benes steadily grew his enterprise. For a long stretch of time, the company built 35 to 40 homes each year. Now, with a staff of 32 people who provide in-house expertise, Aspen averages 90 homes per year. For 2017, the business is on track to put up 100 houses.
“We’re at the point where we’re trying to grow a little more,” Benes said. “We have an in-house person doing drafting work, an interior designer, three job supervisors and a full- time warranty person.”
Though its pace of home building continues to increase, Aspen is not sacrificing quality for quantity. Benes doesn’t cut corners on key design standards that ensure longevity and durability.
For example, Aspen has its own employees who do framing, which helps control the quality right at the beginning. The business also has diversified its offerings, enabling it to appeal to customers across a wide range of budgets.
Five years ago, Benes debuted Remington Homes, a separate division within Aspen Builders designed to streamline the building process. Buyers make choices from a set number of floor plans and customization options, which eliminates the stress associated with too many choices. Benes isn’t surprised that the Remington line, which now accounts for 35 percent of Aspen’s business, becomes more popular every year. Its “semi-custom” approach demystifies the home building process, while still allowing customers to express their personal style.
“Remington makes the homebuilding process really simple,” Benes said. “Some people are really afraid of the process. They wonder how they’re going to make it happen.”
Aspen’s staff walk Remington clients through the process of choosing one of six different floor plans, which range from a two-bedroom ranch to a four-bedroom two-story. Then, the buyers can select from among 40 materials to customize the interior and exterior features.
But for the buyers who want a more custom home building experience , Aspen is a better option.
Aspen Builders allows for a higher level of customization options from custom drawing a floor plan, to all the small details throughout the building process. With both Aspen Builders and Remington Homes, “You work with great subcontractors, receive great services and have a great warranty,” Benes said.
A typical build time for a new home is only about five to seven months. And at any given time, the company typically has 12 to 15 spec homes available in Lincoln and the surrounding areas.
In celebrating their 25th year, Aspen Builders will surpass the mark of helping over 1,000 families realize their dream of building a home.
Homes go under contract quickly, given clients’ satisfaction with Aspen’s services. Past customers describe their experiences in glowing terms, praising the company’s ability to give undivided attention to each buyer, stay honest throughout the process and build unique homes within a designated budget.
“We have a staff of very knowledgeable people who are always available,” he said. “There are always people in the office who can answer questions and help you work through the process.”
Benes has lofty goals for the coming years. He plans to continue building Lincoln outward, breaking new ground in southeast, southwest and north Lincoln, as well as in Waverly. He’s also started meeting with retirement community developers, which would be a new endeavor for Aspen.
Another exciting venture– but also important to Aspen’s continued success – is Benes’ mission to educate people about the long-term benefits of home ownership. He says everyone needs to understand that investing in a house is the ultimate retirement plan.
Benes said, “It’s good to start early and build equity.”
This is a good reminder to people who may be leery of building a home in Lincoln, whose housing market is at an all-time low right now.
Currently, there are only 400 to 500 homes on the market, compared to 2,000 during peak times. As a result, buyers are choosing to build because they can customize to their needs and ultimately get what they want in their new home.
Aspen intends to be here for another 25 years helping Lincoln grow and encouraging homeowners realize their dream of building a home.
“The building process is not scary or hard,” he said. “We walk you through it every step of the way.”
We’re a family-oriented business that has built homes for the same clients many times over even.
In our 25 years, we appreciate all of the friendships and relationships we’ve built and look forward continuing to grow Lincoln.