Legacy Homes is one of the largest builders in Nebraska. The company offers a wide variety of semi-customizable homes in Lincoln and Omaha with an extensive choice of floor plans that can be adjusted to suit the individual buyer. “The floor plans are what really sell their homes,” says LH Real Estate Broker Jaysa Bowers. “They really do have some timeless floor plans.”
The company works hard to keep floor plans up to date. Over the last year, in particular, the team took time to re-evaluate and update floor plans to ensure buyers can find exactly what they want. “They’re always trying to remain relevant with what is popular and what buyers want,” Bowers says.
After the update, the company’s floor plans continue to include plenty of two-story options, which are not as common in the region. “There’s just not a lot of builders that build two-story homes, and we offer some of the largest and best two-stories that a semi-custom builder can offer,” says Bowers.
After buyers choose a floor plan, they have the opportunity to select specific fixtures and finishings at Legacy’s design studio. “Having the design studio allows a buyer to go in and design everything inside and outside their home, from garage doors to siding to the shingles to kitchen cabinets and countertops. They can literally design everything there. That’s what makes Legacy Homes unique. [It is what] really sets them apart,” Bowers shares.
“I’ve worked with several other builders that, if you build a home with them, you’ve got to go to several different suppliers,” she explains. “You don’t always get to see all of your selections or finishes in one place or see them together; you have to carry samples around, go to different locations to be able to design a kitchen or pick out flooring.”
Buyers get all of this for a remarkably reasonable cost. “They are very competitive with prices. A lot of that is because Legacy is a production, semi-custom home builder, and so prices are based on volume.”
Another cost saver is that each of the company’s homes is energy efficient. “That’s something that really stands out with Legacy,” Bowers says. “They’re always trying to make their homes more energy efficient.” And she would know; she lives in a Legacy home herself and sees the savings firsthand. “My utilities, they’re pretty reasonable for such a large house.” The company uses a 95 percent efficiency furnace, and the standard insulation package exceeds city codes. Or, buyers can opt to upgrade to spray foam insulation for even greater efficiency.
Legacy Homes has only offered single-family housing until now, with the recent rollout of townhomes and villas for the Omaha market. In addition, the team is currently working on a starter home line. “It’s going to be a little bit smaller square footage [because] the goal is to make starter homes much more affordable,” Bowers says. This new line will stand out in a market with very few starter home options. “There are just a handful of builders who even remotely offer a product for starter homes.”
With the launch of starter homes, townhomes, and villas, the company now covers virtually every stage of a homeowner’s life. “They can start with Legacy, and then we have our larger single-family homes where they can build or buy their second or third home, and when they’re of retirement age or ready to downsize, a lot of folks will move to a villa or townhome. So it really gives our buyers the opportunity to start with Legacy and finish with Legacy throughout their lifespan.”
Legacy Homes is launching new communities in addition to new product lines. “Legacy developed quite a bit of land in Lincoln and Omaha, so we’ve got several communities that will be rolled out the next two years,” Bowers says. “There’s an extraordinary amount of land coming for Legacy customers to build on.”
As with most builders, Legacy Homes has had to overcome the industry challenges brought by the global pandemic. “The biggest challenges Legacy has faced over the last couple of years are supply shortages and subcontractor shortages,” Bowers says. This did not hit for a while, however, and the company enjoyed record sales in the beginning. “We saw an influx of buyers wanting to build or buy a home, and so we were taking more contracts right around the time COVID started, [more] than we had the year prior. So 2020 was one of our best years but then, around the end of 2020, a lot of manufacturers had shut down businesses or went to fifty percent capacity, and we just couldn’t get supplies.”
Despite the strain on the business, the team was committed to keeping their word to buyers. “What I really admire about Legacy was, when several builders were going back to their buyers, telling them they needed to pay for the overages on the supplies due to the shortage, Legacy didn’t. Their contracted buyers’ prices remained as they were.”
After completing these contracts, the team had to scale back due to the shortages. “They didn’t stop production but they dialed back production of homes to about fifty percent so that they could catch up [regarding] the supply delays and then hire more subcontractors,” Bowers says. “Vendors were having trouble hiring enough people to keep up with the demand. Electricians couldn’t find anyone qualified to work.”
The team made it a priority to secure subcontractors for future jobs. “Legacy did take about a year to work on hiring additional subcontractors so they can be prepared next time,” Bowers says. “It’s always good to have too many subs rather than not enough, so they’ve been diligently working throughout the last twelve months to bring on multiple concrete vendors, multiple electricians so they aren’t just relying on one company… They’ve always got something to fall back on.”
Construction took longer to complete during the worst of the shortages but timelines have returned to normal since then. “With the subcontractor shortages, it was making our build times longer than what we were used to,” Bowers says. “Now, in 2022, with what they did in 2021 [to work around the shortages], they have been able to get their build times down again.”
Looking ahead, the team expects challenging times to continue but they will be fully prepared. This careful planning is particularly evident in the company’s foray into the first-time homeowner’s market. “It’s hard with the rising costs,” says LH Real Estate Realtor Megan Winans. “So I think it’s taken a little more planning than maybe they had anticipated, [and] with the interest rates, some builders might be a little nervous to purchase more land.”
But Legacy Homes is eager to press forward because the team wants to keep growing the company. “That’s the ultimate goal,” says Winans. Already one of the largest builders in Nebraska, Legacy Homes is certainly on a strong path toward continued growth, despite what challenges may come.