The future is starting to look brighter for the real estate industry across the country, but in Austin, Texas things have always been rosy. While many investment companies in the last four years have been on a roller coaster ride, MX3 Homes has managed to not only stay ahead of the game, but do it in a modern, streamlined manner that is just as hip as the “live music capitol of the world” where they are based.
MX3 understands the shift of the market to a more modern living that includes more green materials, quality craftsmanship and the desire to get away from cookie cutter developments and get closer to the heart of the urban core. We had a chance to speak to MX3 President, Sal Martinez, about these trends and what makes MX3 successful.
Tell me about MX3 Homes
We introduce investors to real estate projects that are in areas close to downtown in Austin. These areas, especially the east side of the city, are experiencing a cultural boom. We are building homes to fit the needs of this market. Once we find the right project for the investor, MX3 designs, builds and sells the home for the investor, thus delivering their ROI. On the flip side, MX3 Homes provides Austin home buyers with cool, unique houses close to downtown. People who live downtown are also coming to our neighborhoods for some of the most innovative and interesting restaurants and shops.
What makes MX3 Investments different?
We are a one-stop shop for the investors. MX3 has a team of employees that designs, builds, and sells the real estate projects for the investor. It’s very important that each project meet MX3’s high standards. We have a process in place that ensures each home is built to those standards so that a homebuyer knows they’re in an MX3 home as soon as they walk through the door.
Who is your typical customer?
I have two types of customers. The first are the people that are looking to invest in Austin, one of the hottest markets in the U.S. They can be locals, U.S. citizens, or international investors who know Austin is the place to be. I work hard to gain their trust because all investors deserve to have peace of mind when they invest their hard-earned money. This is how I want investors to feel when they invest in MX3.
The second set of customers are the homebuyers. The typical customer wants to be in the center of the action and close to downtown Austin. I would say they are in the 30–45 year age range and tend to not have children. They’re looking for a place that is big enough to raise children, or are looking to make an investment for the future while living in their home for a couple of years. Others are pure investors that would like to buy the home to rent out the property. A lot of the older homes in the area cannot accommodate those priorities, so we are building new ones to fill the demand.
We are interested in the way business has changed in the last 5-10 years. What has changed in how you do business and how your employees work?
We have only been doing what we do since 2009, but we have really grown our company over the last two years. I would say that over the last four years, I have seen our focus go from remodeling homes to doing 95% new construction. MX3 has also expanded the business model to focusing on working with investors. Constant communication on their project’s progress is essential to maintaining their trust, and turning them into long-term investors. At the end of the project our investors are usually going to put their earnings right back into a new one. With that sort of attention to customer communication we started with one employee – me – and now have seven employees not including the third-party services we hire for our everyday operations.
We now also use a software program called BuilderTrend to manage our schedules, budgets, POs & warranties real time. We just started using this great tool and are in the process of implementing it, but I can already tell it will improve our process, budget, and schedule! We need it now that we are doing 40 – 50 homes a year and that number is only going to grow in 2014 & 2015.
What has anything changed about your customers’ expectations?
From the investor point of view, I feel the expectations are higher as we continue to meet all their goals. From a homebuyer point of view, as MX3 continues to increase the number of homes we build in Austin and gain visibility, there are higher expectations for MX3 to continue to provide the same high quality homes in prime locations. They also expect to be able to reach us through any means of communication. We have to monitor all of them because a potential customer might leave us a Facebook message, and if we don’t respond they aren’t necessarily going to call or email us.
Social media is an essential part of building the MX3 brand. Homebuyers expect a level of attention to detail in my homes, and if that attention is missing in my online presence, it reflects poorly on the rest of the brand.
What else should people know about MX3?
There are no other companies in Austin that work the way we do, integrating every step of a funding, building, and selling a home. It’s a model that has helped us take off.