OWNER/OPERATOR: Nate Porter
419 Brach Drive, Grand Junction, CO 81507
CMU graduate Nate Porter started his custom homebuilding firm over 10 years ago just as the pain of the economic downturn really began to impact the construction industry. In the past eleven years, the firm has grown from building one or two homes a year, with Nate wearing a tool belt every day, to delivering at least a dozen custom homes in 2017.
How has the building industry changed in the last eleven years? When I started the company, a builder had many sub-contractor options on each project. Then came the downturn, companies closed and people left the area. Now with the economy better we have new builders opening up and competition for our sub-contractors.
When I started Porter homes, our primary customers were people changing homes because of family growth and jobs and today a great portion of the homes we build are for retirees relocating to the Grand Valley to take advantage of the recreational opportunities and the active lifestyle of the area.
How has Porter Homes changed in that same eleven years? We have gone from building a more modest priced tract style home when we started, to building custom homes for specific clients. Porter Homes has also gone from one sole proprietor (me) who managed the books, swung the hammer, and personally did the final cleaning on every home to an experienced team of 17 professionals. We focus on being very fluid in our responses to our customers wants and needs as the build progresses, and we try to learn and grow from every home we complete.
What is Porter Homes focus and plan for 2018/2019? We have been fortunate these past eleven years to build over 140 homes in western Colorado and to grow our team and our client base. Like any expanding business we’ve had some growing pains, but we are committed to the processes and systems necessary to make us efficient and to provide our clients with a positive building experience.
Summer Hill in the North area is a very special place for us at Porter Homes. We have a great working relationship with Kevin Bray, the developer on the project. Rod Porter manages the subdivision and we have nearly 50 lots left to bring the project to fruition. The Ledges at Redlands Mesa had 29 lots when we started and right now only 7 lots remain. The Ledges is managed day to day by Project Managers Merle Reiners and Jeff Meyer and is a large portion of the work we choose to take on. We are the exclusive builder there, as well as Summer Hill, and plan to continue seeing The Ledges to completion.
While our major areas of focus in 2018 will be the Ledges and Summer Hill, that does not mean we will not accept a project elsewhere in the valley, but we intend to be more deliberate and selective in the projects we take on.
What are the most important things Porter Homes can do to make sure the experience of building a home is positive and fulfilling? Communication is the key, up front and throughout the entire building process. That means frank discussions about design features, costs and defining the difference between must haves and things I like. In the early stages of a project, we talk a great deal about the things that are important to the client and where they fit into their proposed budget. Discussions like that can be difficult, but understanding the cost of building and the cost of finishes are key to a positive project. Every client we have is different in one way or another. Some require daily communication and “hand-holding” while others are very happy to watch the project from afar. Every relationship is a learning process for our clients and for the Porter team.
What are the trends you see for custom building in 2018 and beyond? Energy efficiency continues to be an important thing to our clients – whether the home is very large or very small. People continue to move toward inclusive spaces – bringing the outside into the home. Clean lines, the simplicity of structure.
What is really important to you as you look to the future? Quality of life. I recently took an extended road trip with my wife and five children. Those five weeks in an RV and over 10,000 miles on the road really put life into perspective. I realized that I need to be more selective in my projects in order to be more available to Brenda and the kids, In short, my family is what is really important to me. Also, my oldest two boys have expressed interest in being builders when they “grow up.” I hope to be able to pass along the business to them one day.
On behalf of Rod Porter, Justin Howell, Jessica Hoopes, Jen Borg, Merle Reiners, Jami Hallett, Kristi Hanks, Randy Newberry, Jeff Meyer, Erica Burgon, Dave
Wilkinson and the rest of the Porter Homes team, thank you for joining us and the rest of the builders in the 2018 Parade of Homes. We hope you all enjoy your tour!
Looking for a builder? Call the HBA of Northwestern Colorado at (970) 245-0253 or visit www.hbanwco.com