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Meet Josh Hartmann of NexMetro Communities and Avilla Homes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Josh Hartmann.

Josh, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
The concept of NexMetro’s Avilla Homes has its roots in Tucson, AZ, where in 2010 a group of serial entrepreneurs decided to build a neighborhood of small footprint single story homes that they believe would appeal to consumers who were stung by the Great Recession. They were right on the demand, but not for the reason’s originally thought. Consumers have fundamentally changed the way they think about the American Dream, what they value, and how they choose to live. Leasing a home makes sense for a growing number of people – whether its boomers choosing to simplify their lives or millennials who simply don’t want living commitments that tie them down. There has been a substantial shift in the renter mindset, and the demand for higher-quality leased-living experiences is growing on a scale we haven’t seen before.

A hybrid housing option, Avilla neighborhoods combine elements of residential single-family living with a lease instead of a mortgage. Avilla is unique by offering single level, detached homes with high ceilings, private backyards and luxury finishes. Our gated neighborhoods offer privacy, quality, convenience and luxury, affording residents the lifestyle they want, free from long-term commitments, financial burdens and maintenance hassles.

Realizing that they had identified an unfulfilled niche in housing, NexMetro Communities was officially created in 2012 as a pioneering development company to bring the Avilla Homes concept to multiple markets. The first markets identified for Avilla growth after Tucson were Phoenix and Dallas because of their strong economies and opportunities for growth. The founders started a search for someone to run the operations who had a background in production homebuilding, but also an entrepreneurial spirit. That’s when I entered the picture. My interest in starting a homebuilding company has lead me to “learn the business” working for a regional master plan developer and subsequently for a national homebuilder. It was a great match for me and for the NexMetro group, so we decided to join forces.

Today, NexMetro is the leading leased home developer of its kind with a portfolio of more than 2,600 Avilla homes either completed, under construction or in development.

Currently operating in the Dallas, Phoenix and Denver markets, we have plans to further expand with housing choices for consumers seeking a living experience like no other.

We opened our first community in Plano earlier this year, and have several more under development with the next opening planned in McKinney in early 2018.

Has it been a smooth road?
In the moment, creating a new enterprise is never smooth, but looking back over the last five years our wins have greatly outweighed our losses. The greatest difficulty is explaining Avilla Homes to City officials, and sometimes neighbors.

While Avilla neighborhoods feature single level, detached single family homes (1-bedroom plans share a wall and 2 & 3-bedroom plans are entirely detached), we operate as a for-lease community so we zone and plat as multi-family. This can be confusing to planners or city officials who are not familiar with the innovative Avilla offering. In fact, even consumers not familiar with Avilla see our neighborhoods and wonder if the homes are for sale! But once we explain that we are single story, have yards and all the other single family like aspects of an Avilla neighborhood we start to win them over. When the neighbors start saying things like, “this would be perfect for my daughter”, or “my mother-in-law would love this” we know they are starting to get it.

As far as the Avilla Homes neighborhoods, they really sell themselves to residents. Led by millennials and boomers, the demand for leased home communities is surging. Avilla Homes are located in carefully selected areas where people want to live and enjoy the comforts of a new leased home near major employment centers, transportation corridors, parks, schools, shopping and restaurants. There are many desirable submarkets within the Dallas Metroplex alone, and we approach each new neighborhood as an opportunity to contribute to the larger community.

Meanwhile, once people visit our communities, talk with the happy residents and understand that this is far more like a new home experience rather than a typical apartment; the appeal of this luxury leased home option is tremendous.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with NexMetro Communities/Avilla Homes – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
NexMetro is built on core values that represent the best practices and experiences from seasoned professionals who have spent decades growing businesses and enhancing lives.

Respected and successful, our leadership team shares a long-term vision for meeting the growing demands of a new consumer. We know that living by our values, we will net positive outcomes for our employees, our investors and financial partners and will improve the quality of life for our residents by providing innovative and stylish housing options.

Today’s consumers envision a new living option that fits with their ideal of a better future. Together with our affiliates, we have successfully developed beautiful leased home neighborhoods that bend with the local community and are focused on smart design, distinctive architecture and a sense of luxury that has become synonymous with our Avilla neighborhoods.

Consumers are eager for an option that allows them to enjoy living in a quality home without the burdens home ownership can bring. For Avilla residents, this also signifies a place of privacy and quality where they can sink into the comfort of their surroundings the moment they get home after a busy day. Each Avilla Homes neighborhood features single-story detached residences that feature light, bright, spacious floor plans and high ceilings. Private entrances, with secluded patios and backyards make the space home – light years away from the old stacked rental apartment living.

We take pride in providing residents the perfect blend of privacy, luxury and maintenance-free living. Avilla neighborhoods offer convenient, carefree living on the residents’ terms, without the hassles of home ownership. No mortgage, no maintenance, no shared walls. Life is easy, living at Avilla.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Each time we open a new Avilla Homes neighborhood I try to be there for the grand opening of the models. I’ll never forget being at our first opening and listening to the prospective residents talk about how this was perfect for them; how it was exactly what they had always wanted. One woman’s daughter was running through the two bedroom model taking a video of “her room”, all the while her mom was beaming with pride. That is always the most rewarding part of our business for me.

To create a place that people are excited about, where they bring together friends, raise their families and want to call home – and raise a family – that’s what makes it all worthwhile.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photos Courtesy of Avilla Homes

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