1978. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John made black leather jackets and poodle skirts cool again in “Grease.” “Fantasy Island” premiered on ABC-TV. President Jimmy Carter was in office. The cost of a new car was roughly $4,800. And, Greg Hancock began his first Phoenix home-building company late that year, selling new homes for $35,500.
Now celebrating 40 years in the homebuilding business, Greg Hancock’s company has a new name, Hancock Builders, and an innovative new rental home model that’s designed for the way people live today. If fact, after constructing more than 25,000 single-family homes across 150 communities throughout the Valley, Hancock Builders is now one of the state’s premier builders of multi-family rental communities, with 4,000 units planned, including 10 communities and more than 1,300 units completed or currently under construction. These detached, single-level luxury rental homes feature one- and two-bedroom layouts, ranging from 635 to 1,250 sq.-ft., and are designed to resemble single-family homes, right down to the large private backyards. Plus, enjoy smart home technology traditionally only available to luxury single-family homebuyers, including keyless entry, doorbell cameras, light controls, thermostat, motion detector and security systems-all controlled via a mobile app (select locations). Not to mention, beautiful resort-like community amenities, including swimming pools, lush parks, high-speed fiber-optic Internet and more.
It’s all part of Hancock’s never-ending commitment to timeless quality and constant innovation, starting with Greg Hancock’s father, who was also a legendary local homebuilder.
“My dad always told me, hire the very best, pay them very well, treat them with dignity and respect and get out of their way,” Greg Hancock says. Starting as a teenager in 1963, Greg worked for his dad, Gene Hancock, who owned Cavalier Homes in Phoenix, earning $1/hour, and cutting his teeth on the art and business of home building. He sold homes for his dad in the early 70s, further honing his negotiation and business acumen which then led him to building custom homes, including one for legendary broadcaster and Baseball Hall of Famer, Joe Garagiola, Sr. The two developed a long and cherished friendship.
Three homebuilders taught Hancock the most, he says. His dad Gene Hancock; Ray Watt, who was a legendary homebuilder in California and Arizona; and Larry Cannarelli of American West Homes in Las Vegas. “Being around builders who were a whole lot better than me, I quickly found out how much I didn’t know,” Hancock humbly admits. He learned and figured out his niche in the business.
“My philosophy has been: ‘Build what they don’t, build where they don’t, and preferably both'” says Greg Hancock, speaking of his competition.
“Home building hasn’t changed all that much over the last four decades. Sure, we went from block to frame construction, asphalt shingles to tile roofs, harvest gold appliances to stainless steel but the rest is much the same. We still build them one at a time. While computers now aid in the design, homes are still constructed by hand, piece by piece,” he says. At its height, his company was completing 1,900 homes a year in the Phoenix area, one by one.
Those who know Hancock well say he’s tough, but firm. Janine Long, Vice President, who, has worked for Hancock, off and on, for decades. “Greg treats his team well. He doesn’t micro-manage and gives us the authority to make decisions,” says Janine and “trade contractors we’ve worked with in years past want in on our business because we’re doing something new and unique.”
Hancock Communities, now Hancock Builders, is undergoing a strategic shift. Rather than building its own subdivisions, Hancock is now building innovative multi-family rental home communities for developers. Drawing upon his decades of experience, Hancock Builders offers full-service development and construction services, from land acquisition and pre-development, to construction and property management coordination.
In reflecting on his 40 years in the business, one thing that brings a smile to Hancock’s face are the neighborhoods he’s created. “Going back through a subdivision we built 25-30 years ago and seeing the people living there makes me feel proud. “We have built some great homes,” Hancock says, “But the best is yet to come.”
For more information on Hancock Builders, visit the website at www.Hancock-Az.com.