How does Cullum Homes remain at the top of luxury home market?
Cullum Homes has understood the luxury homebuyer for decades, even in the thick of the Great Recession. Having pioneered the lock-and-leave lifestyle with the swanky Village at Paradise Reserve when almost all home building had come to a standstill, the developer recognized the trend toward downsizing and the desire for a new home in one of the most sought-after Valley locations. Today, only five of the original 32 exclusive, guard-gated home sites remain, once again proving why Cullum Homes is one of the top custom builderss in the Valley.
“We broke ground in 2010 when there were very few new homes Valleywide and we were the only new homes in the luxury market,” said President Rod Cullum. “The real estate market was very cautious and apprehensive. A lot of people thought we’d go out of business before we got them done. But it was all very analytical. We believed there was a void in the market. As soon as we finished the models we had six sales. It was a ‘touch it, feel it’ situation. Clients had to see what they were getting in price, views and lifestyle.”
Cullum emphasizes not taking risks is what keeps the company on top. “It was interesting. That was a time when people wanted smaller homes and smaller lots with low yard maintenance. Desert Mountain homes had gone from $5 million to $2 million. We saw a 60 to 70 percent fall in the market in certain niches, but we knew there was a demand for rightsizing and people still wanted something new. A lot of people had tried to make something happen on that property that was nestled in the foothills of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve with amazing views of Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, the nighttime skyline of downtown Phoenix, and quick access to Sky Harbor Airport, art galleries and sporting events.”
Scott Grigg is the designated broker for this and other Cullum Homes communities, including the stunning new Village at Mountain Shadows situated between Camelback and Mummy mountains, which he calls “Arizona Ocean Front.” He says, besides having locations that are “bar none,” what sets Cullum Homes apart from other developers is the ability to be at the forefront of building techniques.
“Rod is an educated builder and Cullum Homes are so unique. For example, we are building the Mountain Shadows homes on foundations using the latest technology in Insulated Concrete Form (ICF), Fox Blocks, which are extremely energy efficient and quite unique. We are also using the DAIKIN air conditioning system that individually cools different zones in the home. And, we are offering basements, as well as car bars – elevators for your car – so your favorite car can be displayed behind a glass wall.”
Meantime, the Village at Paradise Reserve is one of the forefront Savant system communities, which gives owners remote control of lighting, temperature, window coverings and security. Other high-tech features include: electric car plug-ins, programmable thermostats in all bedrooms and living areas, LED lighting, low VOC paints and thermally protected windows.
Grigg, recently named one of the top 10 Residential Real Estate Agents by Phoenix Business Journal, says the company has the ability and desire to create true custom homes. “We are the only lock-and-leave custom home builder. If people are spending $2 million on a property, they should have it their way. In the Village at Mountain Shadows, 80 percent of the owners have put their custom touches on their properties.”
Cullum Homes was also the first to use Virtual Reality goggles and Building Information Modeling (BIM), which is software that enables 3-D modeling and information management in the home design process.
“You always start with the lot and the indoor/outdoor living that Arizona offers,” said Cullum. “We make a 360-degree view in the BIM model. The client can stand in the (virtual) house and look out the window and say, ‘Okay, I’m going to see Camelback Mountain and blue sky above. By adjusting the roof line, I can see more and more.’ Plus, the cost to build is more manageable doing it all in an artificial environment. Most people can’t read blueprints. Taking them into the Virtual Reality 3-D environment, they get to see everything, which changes our clients’ understanding of the execution of the product.”
Grigg adds that the Cullum Homes name and reputation is the biggest selling point. Currently the developer is building seven homes for repeat customers. “We have raving fans. Once someone lives in a Cullum home, if they stay in Arizona, they are likely to buy another.”
“We finally decided to buy a home in the area and made a special trip with the intention of purchasing in another builder’s development that looked great to us on paper,” said homebuyer William Scapell. “Thankfully, we also visited Cullum properties. In a word, the quality of Cullum Homes put the other we visited to shame. Cullum simply builds to superior standards, which you see and feel the moment you walk in. Having a home built is a big step, but I couldn’t be happier or more confident in choosing to work with Cullum.”
Cullum says the luxury market is shifting again. “In the last six to nine months there’s been an interesting change in buyer attitude. For years, everything was shrinking, now everything is getting bigger again as people want homes with 5,000 to 6,000 square feet.”
Over the summer, Cullum sold two estate home sites at Paradise Reserve. “Both are on hillsides with fantastic views.” The development is nearing sell-out as only three remain.
Models in the Village at Paradise Reserve are open Thursday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., or by appointment, located at 39th Street and Lincoln Drive. For more information, visit http://cullumhomes.com/projects/village-at-paradise-reserve.
Models in the Village at Mountain Shadows are open every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment, located at 56th Street and Lincoln Drive. For more information, visit http://cullumhomes.com/projects/village-at-mountain-shadows.
Cullum Homes is a second-generation, family owned full-service building firm operating in the Valley for more than 30 years, specializing in luxury custom home architectural design and construction, and contributing to the economic health, community well-being and quality of life in the metropolitan Phoenix area. In November, Cullum Homes is helping to bring the 3rd annual Grand Prix of Scottsdale to town as the stylish event celebrates Arizona-made vintage mini racers, century-old global brands and the luxe euphoria of Roaring 1920s-era racing and craftsmanship.