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Home builders relocate to Hattiesburg

Johnny Herron and Scott Farris are putting a new face on modular housing. American Dreamhome Builders has relocated to Hattiesburg with a new concept that the duo hopes will transform the way that modular housing is viewed in the Pine Belt.

Now partnering with Nationwide Custom Homes, American Dreamhome is offering 98 models of home to choose from as well as custom home building.

"We wanted to be a true systems builder," Herron said. "By partnering with Nationwide, we knew that we could get closer to that goal than we had previously."

The deal with Nationwide, Herron said has enhanced both the product and the presentation. Modular or systems-built housing means that the home is constructed in a factory, then transported to the site, where it is set onto the foundations and assembled.

The difference with Nationwide, Herron said, is that the product is a 100 percent stick frame as opposed to HUD models - single and doublewide trailers.

"We have never built a single- or double-wide since this program started," said Bryan Johnson, regional manager of Nationwide's building division. "Our competition is every contractor out there. We are looking for the multi-family business. We are looking to go into nice developments with this because it will fit there."

When customers walk into the office on Weathersby Road, Herron said, they will know whether they can afford the type of housing American Dreamhome has to offer.

The office is slated to become a showroom where customers lay out the floor plan of their new home as well as choose the fixtures, lighting and color design of the home on location. Phases II and III of the location will see a great amount of expansion, where customers will be able to see a miniature kitchen, master bedroom and bath with different grades of materials in the showroom.

"It will definitely be a hands-on type of thing," Herron said. "We want customers to come in and by the time they leave, completely understand what we're doing and what we're about."

Part of the process is pricing, which is done with the customer as house plans are being made. One of the challenges, Herron said, has been financing for homes, although first-time homebuyers are largely unaffected by the credit crunch.

"It's still the American dream to own a home," Herron said. "Should everyone own a home? Probably not, but that is something for the financier to determine, not us."

While the Hattiesburg market has softened considerably in the past year, Herron, Johnson and Farris believe that the modular housing offered by American Dreamhome is a quality-based, affordable method of building a home.

"We've picked the worst time to do this," Herron said with a laugh. "We can't drive the economy. But what we can do a better job ourselves with the best product and best design center we can offer."

The American Dreamhome Builders will host a three-day rollout beginning with a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. Thursday and two open houses from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

Courtesy Emma James,

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What Customers are Saying About Our Custom Homes

"I was a customer for Southeast Homes (Wendell Varnes) in 2010/2011. Mr. Varnes was referred to us through Nationwide Homes. The project was a 3/2 coastal, 2 story-2,100 square foot modular home built on piers.

We were building a part time home in South Carolina but our home state is Georgia. We were nervous about the process since we were out of state and not readily available to be on site. Mr. Varnes made this process very smooth and he was easy to work with. He would always interject his ideas and suggestions throughout the process. We only have to meet a couple of times throughout the entire process. We handled communication via the phone and/or email.

The modular home turned out beautifully and more importantly well built. The home was built to code and all permits and inspections were done with no issues. There were some "punch list" items as you will on any new construction and those items were taken care of timely.

Mr. Varnes has good solid employees/contractors that he uses for various stages such as plumbing, sheetrock, paint, electrical, roofing...etc. I personally met many of the subs at the job site and was very comfortable with them and their work.

Mr. Varnes still has a key to my home, even though it is done for some afterthought items I wanted to get done. I have full trust and confidence in him. Mr. Varnes is a man with integrity, ethics and morals and I highly recommend him for any construction job."

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Building with modular construction allows homes to be delivered up to 90% complete and built in one-third the time.