Discover how Dream Finders Homes creates affordable homes, complete with character 

As a publicly traded and locally operated company, Dream Finders Homes Ltd (Dream Finders) is committed to delivering the highest standards in new home construction. A modern home builder operating through 18 locations across the US, Dream Finders is redefining the future of new home construction with its unique designs, superior quality materials, particular focus on customer satisfaction and a strong ambition to be the best home builder in the country. Renowned for its outstanding design features that exceed expectations and outshine the competition, the company empowers its customers to personalize and modify their dream home with finishes that reflect their own taste and lifestyle. Throughout the home building process, Dream Finders provides continuous customer service while delivering beautifully innovative homes. Lori Jean Loukonen, Director of Sales in Wilmington, North Carolina, discusses Dream Finders’ recipe for success. 

Lori Jean Loukonen

“I began working for Dream Finders about two years ago and our business model involves purchasing homebuilder firms from around the country to help expand our footprint. We look for organizations with exceptional products, plans, and projects in the pipeline as well as land. This enables us to easily step in, restructure their existing operations and identify areas for improvement all while incorporating their best practices. Our business model helps us grow faster compared to a classic builder starting a brand-new division without any established relationships, trades, or vendors. In essence, starting from scratch would have been extremely difficult and time-consuming. A great example of the success of our business approach is our Wilmington division. When we first acquired it, we would close a little under 200 homes. Today, we close 400 homes a year here, in Wilmington. Our goal for next year is to do even better than that, which wouldn’t be feasible had we started the business from the ground up. This all leads me to believe Dream Finders’ way of conducting business is the key to our success,” she states.  

Stylistic uniqueness 

Throughout its history of strategic acquisitions, Dream Finders refined its unique selling proposition. “We run the gamut for different product styles. While some builders focus on luxury homes and others favor simplicity and efficiency, Dream Finders stands out thanks to its different product lines. I believe this flexibility empowers us to cater to various specific markets. For instance, different styles of home will be trending in Colorado compared to Wilmington, where people tend to prefer Cape Cod-inspired coastal influences. Therefore, we don’t just have one established floor plan that we use across the entire company for every project. Instead, each division is catered and tailored to what that buyer pool is into. We have a custom home division in Jacksonville, Florida which builds high-end homes from $4 million to $6 million. That branch usually works very closely with customers to ensure the home is built to their specifications. In contrast, in Wilmington, we do not cater to the same market, so we don’t offer the same scope of services. What I love about our company is that we tailor our services to every single division, allowing us to adapt to every buyer,” adds Lori. 

Focusing more on the Wilmington division, Lori details some of her favorite projects. “The best project we’ve accomplished is our Country Walk community. For some context, we have a big housing shortage here, in Wilmington, to the point where people just can’t afford to buy houses anymore. This situation has led to an influx of individuals coming from California, Texas, New Jersey, as well as retirees from Florida, for whom Wilmington serves as a convenient halfway point offering a more moderate climate during the summer. Located near Leland, approximately 30 minutes away from Downtown Wilmington, Country Walk is well-connected to give close access to bars, theaters, nightlife, fishing beaches, and everything residents may need. My vision with Country Walks was to create a community that was affordable for people who could no longer afford to live in Wilmington. Many communities in Leland offer amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts, which often result in higher homeowners’ association bills on top of the mortgage, making living in those communities unaffordable for many. To tackle this issue, I deliberately made the decision for our Country Walk community to not have any amenities that would, in turn, raise the homeowner’s association fees enough to make a house unaffordable. Nonetheless, the way we designed the roads resulted in a peaceful, airy, and open atmosphere within the community. Even though they are part of our traditional product line, we added green spaces, which makes Country Walk feel like a very bougie neighborhood without the associated high price tag. I am particularly proud of having been able to create more affordable new homes in the area as this is something that is very important to me,” she highlights.  

Strategic growth planning 

Dream Finders places a strong emphasis on fostering healthy relationships with suppliers to successfully conduct its projects. Lori describes the dynamic between the company and its valued supply chain. “Obviously, one of our primary objectives is to generate profits, which couldn’t be possible without our vendors. While we strive to compensate our suppliers fairly, we also have a bottom line and profit margin to uphold. Occasionally, some builders attempt to drastically renegotiate pricing or find ways to cut costs. However, we prefer not to engage in such practices to avoid hindering our vendors, because they are so important to us and without them, we couldn’t build any homes. This would have disastrous consequences on homebuyers who would be left without a place to live. Thus, we understand that everyone must work together symbiotically, and maintaining strong relationships with our vendors is crucial. To do so, we not only compensate them fairly, but also organize special events with them. One such event involved a skeet shooting trip, aimed at enhancing cross-company team building, ensuring Dream Finders staff would connect with our vendors. Besides that, we often go out to dinner and arrange other fun outings with our trades. Furthermore, during our monthly meetings with all the superintendents and builders, we encourage our vendors to join us, allowing them to talk to everyone and have lunch together. It is essential to establish those one-on-one relationships, since they are not just working for us; we completely rely on them, and they need to know how much we appreciate them,” she explains. 

With the recent opening of a new division in Tampa, Florida, Dream Finders is poised for further growth driven by acquisitions as the company will soon expand into Tennessee and increase South Carolina presence. Moreover, by nurturing strong vendor relationships, Dream Finders is prepared to offer more innovative housing throughout the US.