The popularity of “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines is a modern-day phenomenon. Tickets to the VIP Event at the Kansas City 2016 Home Show sold out within one minute of going on sale, and the couple’s folksy and friendly show is tops in the HGTV lineup.
But beneath the stardom, Chip and Joanna represent a growing and practical trend in the homebuilding industry as more and more couples find that teaming up makes a lot of business sense in an increasingly competitive industry.
Chris and Roy Ragland saw the potential benefits of a homebuilder/real estate agent partnership back in 2003. Chris had just stepped away from the corporate world, and Roy, a real estate agent, had long been interested in forming a building company to complement the couple’s real estate ventures.
“We had several rental properties at the time, so we had our opportunity to start Homes by Chris, and we are still going strong after 13 years,” said Chris Ragland.
The Raglands say one reason their partnership works is because their different personalities balance each other out, which aids in collaborating.
“We each focus on different aspects of the homebuilding process, but our end goal is the same. We both want to construct a high quality, custom-built home, while ensuring the building process is smooth and enjoyable for the homeowners,” Chris said.
“The thing that resonates the most with us as husband and wife builders is the amount of give and take the partnership must have. It is never one-sided. Each person listens to each other's viewpoints.”
Brenda and Phillip Sanders are another local married couple that has tag-teamed to find success in the homebuilding industry. Both currently work under the Rodrock Development umbrella, with Brenda serving as president of Darol Rodrock Associates, Realtors LLC, and Phillip serving as president of Darol Rodrock Homes. But in the past, the couple has worked side-by-side in the homebuilding business, with Brenda handling design and real estate agent duties, while Phillip handled homebuilding. Brenda agrees that married partnerships like Chip and Joanna’s make a lot of business sense but also require a lot of give-and-take.
“It’s a tough business. People don’t really realize that,” said Brenda. “There are so many people to coordinate and there are so many details. It’s an emotional ride for many buyers, so you really have to be a team with the realtor or designer offering a decisive and supportive voice to the homebuilder.
“When I watch Chip and Joanna on TV, they seem really well suited for that.”
When couples find that sweet spot of shared purpose, Phillip said, success typically follows.
“You have to be decisive and positive and make it as fun as you can possibly can make it because it’s an amazing process. We look at it as not just building a house but building a home, because these people are going to be moving into these homes and creating a lifetime of memories with their children there,” said Phillip.
For the Raglands, working together has strengthened their business as well as their relationship.
“The nice thing about us teaming up together is that we understand what each other is experiencing, so it helps us to come together in both our home and work lives,” Chris said. “We truly feel as though Homes by Chris has achieved so much success because of our partnership. You have two people who are committed to producing luxury custom homes with the highest level of craftsmanship. We work together because it makes sense, and it makes us stronger, not only as builders, but as husband and wife.”
Kansas City Home Show
Where: Bartle Hall.
When: Friday, March 18, Noon-8 p.m., Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday, March 20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Friday-only ticket: $7, Saturday OR Sunday Advance Tickets: $10. Day-of-Show Tickets: $12 at the door. Advance tickets are available online at kchomeshow.com or at area Price Chopper stores. Kids 12 and under free.