Lokal Homes sets itself apart by understanding its market
Lokal Homes LLC’s name comes from its focus on being a local, rather than national, homebuilder that knows what Colorado homebuyers want and provides it. That strategy also has helped the builder grow in recent years. “We wanted to provide a better homebuilding experience. … Denver is controlled by big-box builders, so we wanted to be the local choice,” said Lokal co-owner David Lemnah. “We know what makes communities in Colorado great, we know our trade partners and vendors. We’re able to do things that make sense … for here.” Lemnah and co-owner Ryan Lantz also believe their company’s customer-focused culture has been a big contributor to growth. “We have the luxury of focusing on things the big public homebuilders don’t … like customer satisfaction,” Lantz said of Lokal’s culture. “We want to close on homes when they’re ready, not by a certain date.” Lemnah and Lantz started putting Lokal Homes together in 2012, but the company didn’t begin operating in earnest until 2013. The partners met while they worked at Denver-based M.D.C. Holdings Inc. (NYSE: MDC) and its national Richmond American Homes homebuilding business. Lemnah, after working at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), was director of sourcing at MDC among other things. Lantz did land acquisitions for Richmond American in Las Vegas and ran the builder’s Denver division, leaving in 2008 to launch Cypress Partners Inc. of Denver. Cypress acquired nonperforming loans and bought, redeveloped and sold distressed houses and apartments in the Southwest. “Ryan and I found we had a similar vision,” said Lemnah. “We knew what each other had done historically. We have different strengths.” Originally from Maryland, Lemnah has a bachelor’s in business from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from Loyola University. He got a his first taste of the homebuilding industry growing up Columbia, Maryland, a city created by pioneer real estate developer and urban planner James Rouse of The Rouse Co. “I grew up in a Ryland Homes community where the goal was to get people to interact with their neighbors,” Lemnah said. “There were community mailboxes and interface centers … like churches and synagogues.” Lantz was born in Ohio, but also grew up in Denver, attending Cherry Creek High School. He has a bachelor’s in business from St. Mary’s College in California’s Bay Area. Lokal Homes employs 34 people, all in Colorado. Its revenues have increased from $2.41 million in 2013 to roughly $25 million last year. Prices range from mid-$200,000s to the mid-$500,000s, with an average price of $410,000. Colorado’s tough construction defects laws make building housing, including attached product such as condominiums and townhomes, extra-expensive partly because of high insurance costs. But Lokal Homes created a “comprehensive strategy” to mitigate the risk and cost related to building its homes, said Lantz. The homebuilder’s product reflects a buyer’s individuality and personal choices, according to the company. Lokal Homes offers a wide range of floor plans created by in-house architects, upgrades/options and materials, so that none of its homes look alike. Features range from energy-efficient windows and low-VOC paint to Wi-Fi thermostats and Energy Star appliances.
“Our standard features set us apart,” Lemnah said. “We have a straightforward value proposition — a house you’d be proud to call home.” The builders’ growth comes down to giving the home-buying market “what it’s thirsty for, which is attainable housing,” said Lantz.
No. 1 - Flight II
936.97% - Revenue growth: From $2.41 million in 2013 to $25.02 million in 2015
Lokal Homes LLC
Co-owners: David Lemnah, Ryan Lantz
Location: Greenwood Village