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Meritage Homes to build houses in Babcock Ranch

July 31, 2019
By KATIE EGAN ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Meritage Homes is bringing energy-efficient homes to Babcock Ranch.

The Scottsdale-based company has purchased 50 home sites in the master planned community. It broke ground on a model complex in May 2019 and is set to open to the public on Aug. 8

The company is also expected to begin selling new homes later this summer.

The homes will be in Babcock Ranch's Lake Babcock neighborhood.

Meritage Homes chose to build in Babcock Ranch because the town exemplifies the brand's vision of building better, smarter, healthier homes through energy efficient, thoughtful design and the highest building standards.

For Meritage Homes, it seemed like the perfect partnership.

Marketing specialist Jessica Reschke said she's talked to quite a few people who are interested in buying a home.

"We've had a very good reception," she said.

Vice President of Innovation CR Herro said Meritage Homes has done a lot of work in the industry to set the precedent for advanced building and sustainable design.

The company's standard suite of industry-leading technologies and building practices includes spray foam insulation and a fresh-air management system, which are not included with other production homebuilders. These technologies and features allow Meritage homeowners to enjoy greater comfort and energy-cost savings of up to 50% on heating and cooling their homes.

The M.Connected Home will come standard with features like a video doorbell, smart door lock, lighting controls, an advanced thermostat, smart garage door and weather sensing irrigation.

"Specifically, Southwest Florida is a tremendous opportunity where solar hasn't evolved as much as you'd think it would have," Herro said. "It's a tremendous opportunity to look at renewable energy and then sustainable development as a value proposition to attract consumers."

Meritage Homes is the seventh-largest public homebuilder in the U.S.

In addition to Florida, it has homes in Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Besides Babcock Ranch, Meritage Homes has homes in other Florida cities including Jensen Beach, Lake Worth and Orlando.

There will be six different home models at Babcock Ranch.

They range from 1, 400 square feet to over 3,000 square feet.

Babcock Ranch has an outdoor trail network and access to water sports rentals in Lake Babcock. Additional amenities include sports courts, a swimming pool, playgrounds, a community garden, a walkable downtown with in-community dining and entertainment, a fitness center, co-working spaces and a community charter school.

Meritage Homes focuses on first-time and first move-up buyers.

Herro said the recent shift is good for the homebuilder and provides unprecedented value to people buying homes right now.

"Our homes include dozens of things that cut the utility bill in half and make it better temperature wise and more comfortable," Herro said. "It's a better investment."

The company chose to look at value as a bigger equation.

"It's not just the home," he said. "But what does it cost to maintain and operate a home?"

Meritage Homes is also trying to make shoppers aware that these types of energy efficient homes are available.

"Most buyers are thinking of ZIP code, square feet and price," Herro said. "And even Realtors haven't grown in the knowledge to drive consumers to these buildings that provide significant benefits."

Herro used the utility bill as an example.

"What's rewarding," he said, "is when you move into the home and get your utility bill and compare it your friends', they find that the July utility bill, for example, is half."

Herro said another advantage is being able to sit in a room with big windows and be comfortable in the summer.

"And you don't have to walk around in blankets and socks in the winter."

Herro and Meritage Homes are passionate about building homes that will make people's lives better, and it shows.

"All I want to do is give people the skills in their house to take care of their family."



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