Ideal Homes is celebrating its 25th year as a leader in home building by expanding its reach in Oklahoma.
Founded in 1990, Ideal Homes has developed and built in 17 communities throughout the Oklahoma City metropolitan area: Choctaw, Deer Creek, Edmond, Moore, Mustang, Midwest City, Norman, Oklahoma City, Mustang, Yukon and Stillwater.
New sections will open this year in five Ideal communities, with two new neighborhoods — including their first to feature half-acre lots — planned for 2015. The company also has expanded to Stillwater.
• Ideal story: Ideal Homes co-owner and president of sales Vernon McKown said the company has worked to build its reputation by developing desirable neighborhoods and building high performing homes in the metro’s finest school districts from the beginning.
“Very early on we made a commitment that we would strive to build the best built homes in America. Not best built for the money, or best built in Oklahoma City, but best built, period,” McKown said.
It wasn’t long after McKown and his partners Todd Booze and Gene McKown founded the company that they began exploring the road that would lead them to numerous national honors, including national Builder of the Year honors, America’s Best Builder and the National Housing Quality Gold Award.
Their endeavors toward total energy-efficient homes began when the company saw how much high-efficiency equipment saved on heating and cooling costs. McKown said that insight set them on a mission to see how good they could make their homes.
In 1997, Ideal Homes became the Environmental Protection Agency’s first builder to construct an entire line of Energy Star homes priced under $150,000. Eighteen years later, the path Ideal blazed has become the national standard: in the last five years, the company has saved its homeowners more than $3.6 million in heating and cooling costs.
Other firsts followed. Ideal Homes built the first zero-energy home in the U.S. under $150,000 and the first Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Certified home in the U.S.
In 2008,the company became the first National Association of Homebuilders gold-level Green Certified home in Oklahoma.
It also became the first Oklahoma builder to qualify all its homes for a guaranteed heating and cooling usage program underwritten through Environments for Living, as well as the first verified U.S. Department of Energy Builders Challenge home in Oklahoma.
Ideal Homes has won a number of accolades from other industry experts and leaders. “Professional Builder” magazine cited the company for “Strength in Discipline,” when it announced it as Builder of the Year.
The article speaks of a company dedicated to improving the way they build homes and setting national standards for energy-efficient building.
• The home buyer is always right: McKown said Ideal Homes built its success on serving customer needs.
“I guess it goes without saying that if it were not for our customers, we wouldn’t have been in business for 25 years. A home is the largest single purchase most people ever make. We understand that buyers are looking for a reputable builder.”
First-time home buyer Lauren Burkholder looked to Ideal Homes when finding a place to call home.
Burkholder purchased a brand-new three-bedroom home situated in the Trailwoods addition from Ideal Homes after receiving a 3.5 percent down payment grant from the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency.
Burkholder said working with Ideal Homes staff has been “extremely easy,” alleviating most of the stress that comes with making a major investment.
“Ideal Homes has been so great. I haven’t had any major problems. There’s always going to be those little things when you move in, but you call them and they will be out like that,” Burkholder said with a snap of fingers. “And it was just little cosmetic stuff, like, ‘Oh, I knocked this when I was moving my couch.’ ‘Well, we’ll come fix it.’ It was perfect.”
Ideal Homes vice president of sales and marketing Steve Shoemaker said the company has always had an affinity for first-time home buyers.
“We’ve kind of built that into the culture of our company,” Shoemaker said. “We’ll build 400 homes this year, and half of them will be for first-time homeowners.”
• Community home: Ideal has tried to build the kind of quality product they themselves would want to live in. From the beginning, the company asked customers how products could improve. Ideal listened to them, and their homes got better.
Those product improvements include a new collection of Heritage Series homes for multi-generational families.
Based on customer input, these homes feature dual master suites, accessible bathrooms and, in some plans, small second kitchens. These plans are ideal for customers who need homes where they can live comfortably with aging parents or adult children.
The company balances its focus on quality building, energy and service with a solid commitment to community reinvestment.
Each year, the company reinvests 5 percent of its profits back into the community, and employees are encouraged to get involved with organizations and causes.
Owners and employees work for more than 30 different civic and professional organizations at the local and national levels.
Ideal Homes received the Large Business of the Year award at the 2015 Norman Chamber of Commerce Banquet both for its reputation for generosity and for its continuing success. Norman Chamber of Commerce President and CEO John Woods praised Ideal Homes during the annual event.
“They’ve been revolutionaries in building and expanding their presence across Oklahoma, and yet Norman remains home for its corporate headquarters,” Woods said.
This culture of giving was a deciding factor when “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” called on Ideal Homes to build Oklahoma City’s first Extreme home. McKown said the best part of the project was seeing the professionals and volunteers come together as a team to get it done on the award-winning ABC reality show.
“... Seeing the look on the family’s faces, it just doesn’t get any better than that. It’s the very heart of what our company is about,” McKown said.
Reflecting back on the company’s first 25 years, Booze, who serves as co-owner and president of construction, said Ideal Homes owes its success to the quality of its people.
“Every company has access to the same knowledge about the building practices necessary to build quality, high-performing homes,” he said. “The difference is in the way you execute, and we have a team of employees, trade contractors and suppliers who are truly the best in our business. It makes me proud to be in this business.”
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