Realtor, founder, and market and luxury home specialist Mikel Muffley and his Obie Award-winning Custom Dream Home Program (muffleydreamhomes.com) are taking the unknowns out of building a home, working with the client from start to finish, and accomplishing that through their team of award-winning partners. In a market like today's, Muffley is providing a service that ensures quality and full delivery of client wishes (ideal location, finishes, school district, etc.) for less than buying a resale or spec home. Here, we talk to Muffley about his Dream Home process.
Muffley and his team use high-resolution images to capture the style their client is looking for. They include imagery like the below in their official build workbook for the client and team, photo courtesy of Muffley Homes via iStock
When building a home, getting lost in the process is a common stressor for the client. With so many moving parts, it seems inevitable. Muffley's goal is to put the client in the center of every decision. During the program, the dream home building team holds a standing meeting with the client every two weeks to discuss the current state of the property, any issues and what is next on the agenda. Using a UDA portal, the client can log in anytime they want to see their property, and thanks to Multivista, they can see an updated image of their house every two weeks. For those relocating, this can be a game changer, allowing them to monitor from afar and move in upon completion—all the work handled for them.
Step 1: First, a client fills out a Muffley Dream Home Workbook that covers all the bases in terms of name, desired location, etc. Curating a Pinterest account with desired home styles, furnishings, colors, special rooms and more can be helpful to communicate the vision to Muffley and his team.
Step 2: The client then joins Muffley and his team for an initial consultation to discuss where they want to live and why they want to live there, among other things, like how much land and square footage they are looking for. And, finally, the client locks down their budget.
Step 3: Next, the architectural meeting is held, and the client is delivered CAD first- and second-floor images. "The sweat equity of homebuilding is on our part," Muffley says. "We strive to give you plans and color renderings so you, the client, can at least have an initial visual of what was dreamt up in your head." Simultaneously, Muffley sends out his lot acquisitions team to procure the right lot, in the right neighborhood, that fits the client's budget and house size.
Step 4: Once the client is pre-qualified for the CP loan by one of Muffley's prefered partners, the Muffley team creates an official build lookbook that combines all the chosen finishes, colors, brands, accents and styles in one visual deliverable.
Step 5: Two to three weeks in, Muffley usually has a preliminary site plan, which means it is time to lock down the found lot with a lot reservation fee.
Step 6: Over a 30-45 day period Muffley and team have designed your home according to discussed plans, lot and budget. Typically, the clients close within 45-60 days of the first meeting, then they go through permitting and then finally, at around 11-14 months depending on the size and stature of the project, the clients are moving in!
Turning dreams into a reality isn't an easy task, but Muffley and his team offer a turnkey program promoting transparency with the client in the homebuilding process. Building a house can be a scary task to take on, especially with all the risks involved due to the past year. Not only can Muffley build his client's dream home, he can do so in their ideal neighborhood.
Mikel Muffley, CEO of Muffley Homes and founder of Weichert, Realtors – The Collective, photo by Jeremy Adamo
When Mikel Muffley, CEO of Muffley Homes (muffleydreamhomes.com) and founder of Weichert, Realtors - The Collective (thecollectivere.com), began his career 30 years ago, he was in Chicago, far from our Southern hub. He and a couple of buddies went in on a flat, renovating the property and selling it for a substantial profit. Since that project, he's been hooked on real estate. It was after a trip to Atlanta in 2002 that he saw great potential for growth in himself and the city. Today, Atlanta's once-conservative skyline has erupted into something much bigger, with major potential still pulsing through our streets and structures. And in only 10 years, Muffley has taken the title as one of Atlanta's premier realtors and opened his own agency—which has grown exponentially year after year—as well as developed Atlanta's only homebuilding program that focuses on turning a dream into reality. Here, we sit with the expert to ask him the big questions and learn what to expect from the real estate industry in the coming years.
What trends are you seeing in real estate currently and how will these continue or change come 2022?
Currently, there is a lack of real estate inventory and historically low interest rates, and at the same time we are dealing with COVID-related inflation. Prices are high, inventory is low, interest rates are low. I don't see inventory changing for the next decade; there is not going to be some magical, huge influx of inventory, it is going to stay low for a while. That being said, this isn't necessarily all bad as it does add value to the home's bottom line. As far as trends, we are seeing a bunch of relocation. Being with Weichert, we've got our finger on the pulse when it comes to relocation as the third-largest relocation company in the world.
What kind of houses are being sold and built, and in what neighborhood?
We deal with all ITP, top 15 to 20 neighborhoods in the city of Atlanta. Right now, I've found myself tearing down homes at $850,000 to $1 million and building new $2.4 million to $3 million ones. For example, one of the drivers right now for the Virginia-Highland neighborhood is the new Google building in Midtown. With the tech world coming in from California, Chicago and New York the neighborhood is booming with new builds. These are the trends. Atlanta has been lagging for many years from a price standpoint compared to the other top 10 cities, and although we think we have these massive price increases, we really were just lagging from the get-go and now we are starting to catch up with them.
Why is building a new house in this market beneficial to the client?
It is beneficial because you are getting more home at a better quality for the money you are already paying. I can build someone a house at a higher quality less expensively than they can buy a resale or definitely a spec house. The only downside is it just takes a little time. I also have a five-man lot acquisition team. I can put you on the exact street you want to be on and in the exact house you want. I try to take all the 'scary' parts about homebuilding out of the equation.
How can someone looking to build their dream home get started?
We are turnkey; we are start to finish. So all a client has to do is reach out to us and we get them started on the Dream Home Workbook and really just getting what they want solidified in their mind. Pinterest is a great place to build a visual board; that is a great place to start. From there, we do the initial meeting and the process is off and running.