Host- Trey Stone
Co-Host- John Fuqua
Contact Info for Fuqua Homes:
John Fuqua’s Background
Trey worked with John’s father, Steve, about 15-16 years ago when he served on a homeowner’s association board. Trey was the Chairman of the Architectural Review Committee where they reviewed what is allowed in the neighborhood and what isn’t. Steve Fuqua built custom homes in that neighborhood. Trey recalls that it was a pleasure to work with him which was not always the case with builders because of the tension in those types of meetings.
Fuqua Homes is a fixture in the Sugar Land/Richmond/Rosenburg market. Their focus is on the construction side, delivering high-end homes. Today’s guest is Steve’s son, John Fuqua, who grew up in the building business. His uncle started Ken Fuqua Homes. John’s father, Steve Fuqua, saved up $10,000 while working for Texaco for several years so he could start Steve Fuqua homes with his eye on developing Sugar Land. His uncle is an honorary life member of the Greater Houston Builders Association. Ken and Steve Fuqua both won countless awards over the years.
Even though John spent his whole life in the building business growing up, he had an interest in technology. He graduated in software engineering and went to work on software development. As his dad grew older and sought an exit strategy, they came up with a plan to continue his legacy with John at the helm. They rebranded the company as Fuqua Builders, focusing on remodeling and custom homes.
Fuqua Homes Today
John Fuqua sees a lot of opportunities in this industry through the COVID pandemic with people spending more time in their homes and wanting to invest in their largest asset. Right now, remodeling is a big focus. John has had the opportunity to travel all over the world- visiting every continent except Asia. Learning from the Europeans, John was able to see how you can take a small space and make it extremely functional.
Another focus for Fuqua Homes is bringing some of the design aspects of the building process “in-house.” John feels that sometimes there’s a disconnect between what the customer is trying to achieve, what the architect is trying to draw, and what the builder is saying about how to build it. Shortening the transformation of information to the actual construction side is something meaningful to John. Trey agrees that the relationship can feel like it’s push-pull amidst other challenges of building a home.
John says that wealth is built by giving. The more you give, the more you receive. He applies this by participating in associations and giving to nonprofits. He also applies this principle to his relationship with his employees- the more you give them, the more they give back to you.
“Anyone that’s successful in business are the type of people that give their time and resources to make their communities better.” John Fuqua
Trey recalls recent guests who had similar principles. They wanted to invest in multi-family properties not just for themselves but to make it better for the residents, the employees who work there, and for the whole community. Trey explains that when you elevate a community by making significant improvements it has a ripple effect on the youth in the entire neighborhood.
Trey thought it was powerful when another recent guest spoke of his Christian beliefs and his charitable work with a nonprofit that provides opportunities to people rejoining society after serving time for a crime. When those opportunities are missing, it leads to a cycle of crime. This becomes a concern for everyone in society.
Another recent guest spoke of helping those during hardships whether it’s Covid-19 related or even storm related like the relief efforts for Hurricane Laura. He also talked about investing in rural properties where he can take his grandchildren and show them the powerful connection between nature and faith.
Trey marvels at the number of successful people on the show that lives by these principles. Trey first inquired about how John gives back because he wanted to know more about his involvement in trade associations. John’s response about giving back beyond that shows his character and what’s top of mind for him.
John says that the trade associations are another platform to provide help and share knowledge to others. He does believe in putting in work there because an association is only as good as what’s put into it as a member.
Remodeling has not been a primary focus for Fuqua Homes until recently when John recognized the need. There’s less and less land to build new homes. It’s also time for some of these 40-year-old homes to be updated. Real estate is a roller coaster and to be able to diversify is key.
The business is also branching into multi-family remodeling. Some of the economic stress is creating duress for some owners who may be selling properties at a discount. This creates opportunities for others to buy the properties at a discount and invest in the property by remodeling it to make it a better place to live for the residents. Investing in this way increases occupancy rates, allows for increased rents, and provides an opportunity to sell the property in the future at a higher price.
John says that he became interested in multi-family properties when looking at these factors:
It seems like a very good avenue for diversification for their business. At the end of the day, it’s basically the same type of work just at a different scale.
Trey asked how the transition is going from an internal perspective in the company. John explains that he knows what it takes and is willing to put in the extra time or roll up his sleeves to help. Aside from pouring a foundation, John has worked in every aspect and done every task involved in the business. He feels that it’s going well but can’t know exactly how the staff feels.
Trey jokes that to find out what people really think of a leader he advises to “go talk to someone who used to work for that person but doesn’t work for them anymore, and see what they have to say about that person.” He gives the example of when he hired Gary Blumberg as his Chief Investment Officer, everyone in the Apartment Association all gave similar gleaming reviews about him- kind, firm, fair, someone that treats you with respect. Trey creates a parallel with John, saying he feels that John is well-liked and respected and expresses that it’s important because how you treat employees impacts the customer experience because the employees don’t have the motivation. Trey also explains that working through each job and performing every task in the business is something he also did through the years. He believes it helps you relate to the employees but also you can’t be deceived because you understand the work.
John Fuqua suspects that after the first of the year, we’ll see a lot of foreclosures. As some of the programs the government put in place to protect people who can’t pay their mortgages start to go away there will be people who are several months behind on their mortgage payments. This will affect the market as far as new homes, it will provide opportunities for rental properties, and you’ll also see some of those people transition into the multi-family environment by going back to apartments as their residences.
“Cash is going to be king in the next four - six months because we’re going to see a lot of opportunities for investment in single family and multi-family” John Fuqua
To benefit from what’s on the horizon, John recommends that you look at the market right now. Spend time to understand where the values are, do your research on previous trends and how things have changed, review interest rates, and look ahead to where it’s going in 6 months.