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Home builders relocate to Hattiesburg

Johnny Herron and Scott Farris are putting a new face on modular housing. American Dreamhome Builders has relocated to Hattiesburg with a new concept that the duo hopes will transform the way that modular housing is viewed in the Pine Belt.

Now partnering with Nationwide Custom Homes, American Dreamhome is offering 98 models of home to choose from as well as custom home building.

"We wanted to be a true systems builder," Herron said. "By partnering with Nationwide, we knew that we could get closer to that goal than we had previously."

The deal with Nationwide, Herron said has enhanced both the product and the presentation. Modular or systems-built housing means that the home is constructed in a factory, then transported to the site, where it is set onto the foundations and assembled.

The difference with Nationwide, Herron said, is that the product is a 100 percent stick frame as opposed to HUD models - single and doublewide trailers.

"We have never built a single- or double-wide since this program started," said Bryan Johnson, regional manager of Nationwide's building division. "Our competition is every contractor out there. We are looking for the multi-family business. We are looking to go into nice developments with this because it will fit there."

When customers walk into the office on Weathersby Road, Herron said, they will know whether they can afford the type of housing American Dreamhome has to offer.

The office is slated to become a showroom where customers lay out the floor plan of their new home as well as choose the fixtures, lighting and color design of the home on location. Phases II and III of the location will see a great amount of expansion, where customers will be able to see a miniature kitchen, master bedroom and bath with different grades of materials in the showroom.

"It will definitely be a hands-on type of thing," Herron said. "We want customers to come in and by the time they leave, completely understand what we're doing and what we're about."

Part of the process is pricing, which is done with the customer as house plans are being made. One of the challenges, Herron said, has been financing for homes, although first-time homebuyers are largely unaffected by the credit crunch.

"It's still the American dream to own a home," Herron said. "Should everyone own a home? Probably not, but that is something for the financier to determine, not us."

While the Hattiesburg market has softened considerably in the past year, Herron, Johnson and Farris believe that the modular housing offered by American Dreamhome is a quality-based, affordable method of building a home.

"We've picked the worst time to do this," Herron said with a laugh. "We can't drive the economy. But what we can do a better job ourselves with the best product and best design center we can offer."

The American Dreamhome Builders will host a three-day rollout beginning with a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. Thursday and two open houses from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

Courtesy Emma James,

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"Dear Nationwide Custom Homes,

We would like to share with you our exceptional experience as repeat (two-time) Nationwide customers.

Eight years ago, we had the pleasure and satisfaction of building our first Nationwide Home with an independent builder. It was a recent job relocation that placed us in the position of having to sell that home and needing to acquire a new home and we knew that we wanted to build again. Although, we did consider the competition and explored our options with other builders, it was our first meeting with the staff at the Smith Mountain Lake office that made such an indelible impression that we were confident that Nationwide was the best and only choice to build our home again. The personal attention that Len Patridge, Linda DePierro, and Dawn Lane gave our family of 8 (2 parents and 6 kids) was remarkable. Having to drive over an hour to get to the office, we arrived less than an hour from closing. Without regard for time or consideration for their own personal commitments or obligations, they reached out to our family and patiently spent two hours listening to our needs and working with us to come up with a home that fit our family and budget. It was their knowledge, experience, and insight that guided and assured us that we would indeed have the dream home that we were looking for.

In addition, the commitment and devotion they brought to building our home made us realize and know that we weren’t just another “job” to them, but it made us constantly aware that they were working solely on our behalf and in our best interest. We were living in our camper during our entire homebuilding process, and Darrell Craig, our construction manager, made it his personal mission to get our family into “permanent” housing and in our home for the holidays. His coordinated efforts and diligence got us into our new home in less than two months from the time they broke ground.

Truly, the people who work from the Smith Mountain Lake office are extraordinary people and are a rare find. They are the type of people who represent companies well, give their companies a good reputation, and make their companies great. And when individuals like them, go above and beyond the call of duty and go the “extra mile” to get the job done, it is our personal belief that it would be inexcusable not to commend them and “give honor to whom honor is due.” We will forever consider the staff and contractors at the SML office our family friends, and should the need arise to build yet another home, there is no doubt to whom we will turn to get the job done.

We are also taking the liberty of sending a picture of our new Nationwide Home, and it is our hope that you would take comfort in knowing that we have been well served by your company representatives at Smith Mountain Lake.

Sincerely, The Harris Family "


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Building with modular construction allows homes to be delivered up to 90% complete and built in one-third the time.