Cullum Homes remains at top of Valley’s custom home market

A view of the Cullum Homes custom build at The Village at Mountain Shadows in the Town of Paradise Valley. (Submitted photo)

Cullum Homes has understood the luxury homebuyer for decades, even in the thick of the Great Recession.

Having pioneered the lock-and-leave lifestyle at Paradise Reserve when almost all home building had come to a standstill, the developer recognized the trend toward downsizing and the desire for a new home in one of the most sought-after Valley locations.

Kim and Rod Cullum at Cullum Homes’ Scottsdale headquarters. (File photo)

Today, only five of the original 32 exclusive, guard-gated home sites remain, once again proving why Cullum Homes remains atop the Phoenix Business Journal’s Book of Lists,

“We broke ground in 2010 when there were very few new homes Valleywide and we were the only new homes in the luxury market,” said President Rod Cullum in a prepared statement.

“The real estate market was very cautious and apprehensive. A lot of people thought we’d go out of business before we got them done. But it was all very analytical. We believed there was a void in the market. As soon as we finished the models we had six sales. It was a ‘touch it, feel it’ situation. Clients had to see what they were getting in price, views and lifestyle.”

Mr. Cullum emphasizes not taking risks is what keeps the company on top.

“It was interesting. That was a time when people wanted smaller homes and smaller lots with low yard maintenance. Desert Mountain homes had gone from $5 million to $2 million. We saw a 60 to 70 percent fall in the market in certain niches, but we knew there was a demand for rightsizing and people still wanted something new,” he said.

Scott Grigg, the designated broker for this and other Cullum Homes communities, including the Village at Mountain Shadows situated between Camelback and Mummy mountains.

Mr. Grigg contends besides having locations that are “bar none,” what sets Cullum Homes apart from other developers is the ability to be at the forefront of building techniques.

“Rod is an educated builder and Cullum Homes are so unique. For example, we are building the Mountain Shadows homes on foundations using the latest technology in Insulated Concrete Form, Fox Blocks, which are extremely energy efficient and quite unique. We are also using the DAIKIN air conditioning system that individually cools different zones in the home,” he said of building materials.

Cullum Homes was also the first to use virtual reality goggles and building information modeling, which is software that enables 3-D modeling and information management in the home design process.

“You always start with the lot and the indoor/outdoor living that Arizona offers,” Mr. Cullum said.

“We make a 360-degree view in the BIM model. The client can stand in the (virtual) house and look out the window and say, ‘OK, I’m going to see Camelback Mountain and blue sky above. By adjusting the roof line, I can see more and more.’ Plus, the cost to build is more manageable doing it all in an artificial environment,” he pointed out.

“Most people can’t read blueprints. Taking them into the Virtual Reality 3-D environment, they get to see everything, which changes our clients’ understanding of the execution of the product.”

Mr. Grigg says Cullum Homes name and reputation is the biggest selling point.

“We have raving fans. Once someone lives in a Cullum home, if they stay in Arizona, they are likely to buy another,” Mr. Grigg contends.

Mr. Cullum says the luxury market is shifting again.

“In the last six to nine months there’s been an interesting change in buyer attitude,” he said. “For years, everything was shrinking, now everything is getting bigger again as people want homes with 5,000- to 6,000-square-feet.”

Editor’s note: Ms. Stevens is a media coordinator with DLP Marketing

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