Case Studies

Royal Oaks Homes LLC

A Community-oriented, High-quality Home Builder

Royal Oaks Homes LLC (Royal Oaks) focuses on quality design and construction for a wide range of homes. From starter homes to multimillion-dollar luxury residencies, the North Carolina-based general contractor is achieving incredible success in its industry.

Rich Van Tassel founded the company in April 2002, and it has since taken off in the market by building a solid reputation in the Raleigh-Durham area. The team at Royal Oaks has worked to foster relationships in its community, developing a sense of locality that national competitors lack. “All real estate is local,” shares Van Tassel, who remains president and owner of Royal Oaks. “Although the company is a little over 10 years old, I’ve been in the industry for the better part of 20 years. I know the market very well.”

Royal Oaks runs its whole outfit out of its Raleigh office, serving what Van Tassel refers to as the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle. In order to service the area successfully, the company employs 45 dedicated people. “We have a phenomenal team of really excellent people working for us,” stresses Van Tassel. “It’s a fun place to work. We do a lot of networking around town.”

Competing with the Big Guys

The region in which Royal Oaks operates has seen an influx of national building companies in the past few years. Van Tassel acknowledges Royal Oaks has at least 16 national builders to compete with due to national media attention highlighting the area as a hotspot for growth and one of the country’s best places to do business.

However, the notable competition hasn’t slowed Royal Oaks. In 2012 the company completed 273 closings, which is approximately $63 million in volume. “This highly competitive market makes us sharper,” explains Van Tassel. “Although our competitors are national giants, we are very good at finding holes in the market. Throughout the recent economic downturn we’ve been able to find places to build where there was real demand.” Van Tassel attributes Royal Oaks’ success to investing time and resources into becoming good online marketers.

Operating strictly as a general contractor, the company acknowledges the importance of relationships. Royal Oaks first identifies a market, then builds and finally sells by subcontracting out work. “We’ve been working with some of the same vendors for almost a decade,” shares Van Tassel. “There are really extensions of our family at Royal Oaks.” Ongoing relationships with critical vendors ensure Royal Oaks’ continued business is possible.

With the onset of the recession many land developers went out of business, creating a shortage in the industry; therefore, a place for Royal Oaks to step in and expand emerged. “We’ve decided to get into more land development,” explains Van Tassel. “We’ve also taken advantage of buying foreclosed lots.”

Once the land is ready to go, the company then builds an entire community or a section of the development, depending on the project. Royal Oaks builds single-family homes, ranging from $150,000 to $600,000, as well as townhomes in the area of $140,000 to $185,000.

Despite its success given the increased competition, Royal Oaks has no plans to expand beyond North Carolina. “We intend to remain local,” shares Van Tassel. “And just keep doing what we do … really well.”

Operation Coming Home

In an effort to remain local, Royal Oaks is heavily involved in its community. The company served as a support of Operation Coming Home, a nonprofit organization providing custom-built Hero Homes to disabled combat veterans. Royal Oaks partnered with the Triangle Veterans Association and the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County to present U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Richie Chavis and his family with a new home located in Cameron, N.C.

Chavis, a North Carolina native, lost both of his legs in an IED explosion after two months serving in Afghanistan. Royal Oaks embraced the opportunity to give back, and provided both management and manpower for the construction. The team broke ground on the project in August 2012, building a specially outfitted, wheelchair-friendly home with easy accessibility for Chavis.

Just in time for the holiday season, Chavis, his wife and children received the key to their new home on December 10, 2012. Since Operation Coming Home began in 2007, Royal Oaks has actively participated in the construction of four Hero Homes along with serving on the review committee that decides which veteran should be honored. “We are humbled to continue our support of Operation Coming Home, a deserving tribute to our troops for their service to our country,” shares Van Tassel.

The company feels it is important to give back, especially after experiencing a decade of amazing success. In 2008 and 2010 Royal Oaks received the highly respected Triangle Major Achievements in Marketing Excellence (MAME) Building Company of the Year Award. Additionally, Van Tassel was named a recipient of the Builder of the Year Award by the company’s fellow partner, the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County.

Royal Oaks has also received four Triangle Business Journal’s Fast 50 Awards, the Small Business of the Year Award, and topped the list of many residential builders annually in the Raleigh-Durham Market. Building on an impressive first 10 years, Van Tassel assures that Royal Oaks Homes LLC will continue to lead the market by residing locally through longstanding relationships.

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