By Amy Geiszler-Jones - Photography by Madison Ham
When Perfection Builders was formed in 2004 by Scott Lehner and Jason Ronk, it was because the pair had become experts in a specialized building technique known as insulated concrete form homes. Ronk had a thriving carpentry business and Lehner had a background in business and a company that specialized in ICF homes that focus on energy efficiency and sustainability.
Now the business has a new niche: offering maintenance-free communities that appeal to people who want to exchange home maintenance chores and honey-do lists for quality time with family, friends and neighbors.
Initially the pair started building typical spec homes in addition to ICF homes. They even built some patio homes, which typically consist of units of homes with maintenance and landscaping provided by an association.
“We felt there should be more to a community besides lawn mowing, and we felt the needs of those clients weren’t really being met,” Lehner said. “The homes were nice, but they really weren’t any different than most other homes being offered.” The company wanted to not only meet the needs of clients but improve their quality of life.
To develop its niche, Perfection Builders became a franchisee of Ohio-based Epcon Communities, which now has 500 maintenance-free communities around the country and bills itself as the largest builder of homes targeting baby boomers.
Maintenance-free communities are a growing trend across the country. The communities’ selling points go beyond including home maintenance as a perk. Most offer lifestyle options, such as clubhouses, fitness centers and pools. At Perfection Builders’ communities, amenities include pickleball courts, heated pools and social events, and the communities are designed for access and walkability.
“Our average homebuyer is still pretty young, around 60 years old,” said Lehner, a native of Cheney who earned an accounting degree from Wichita State. “Probably half of our buyers are still working or are business owners who don’t want to deal with home maintenance. They want a lock-and-leave lifestyle. The buyers we attract are a lot of fun and it’s a blessing to build for them.”
In 2011, Perfection Builders opened its first maintenance-free committee known as Watercress Village in Maize. It was well received and sold out quickly. Since then it has opened three more courtyard communities in Wichita, Derby and Bel Aire, and one in Manhattan, with two new ones in development in west and in northeast Wichita.
The residences in Perfection Builders’ courtyard communities are upscale single-level homes, with an option to add a second-level bonus suite. Homeowners can customize the nine available floor plans that can result in homes ranging in size from 1,400 square feet to 3,400 square feet with an extensive list of custom features.
The average home in Perfection Builders’ communities is generally a two-bedroom, two-bath, 2,300-square-foot home with a price tag of around $400,000, Lehner said.
“Our buyers put in some pretty nice things,” said Lehner.
The homes have courtyards to the side or back of the house and are designed to provide maximum privacy for homeowners who want to create the perfect retreat. Some homeowners take advantage of the courtyards to extend their living space and add fireplaces, kitchens and even TVs.
Perfection Builders also offers traditional homes and townhomes. Three years ago, it added an in-house broker, Summit Properties, to handle sales of its properties.