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Build-to-rent homebuilder expands into Oklahoma

March 11, 2024

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Construction has begun on the first five houses in a development of build-to-rent homes in Crimson Lake Estates

SimplyHome, which has developed and operates 11,000 single-family rental homes in 100 Texas communities, is moving into Oklahoma with the 100-house project in El Reno and plans for a much larger build-to-rent development in Norman.

“This is a big move for us, our first outside of Texas,” said Matt Hansen, president of SimplyHome. “We’re excited about our first launch in Oklahoma.”

The company has partnered with homebuilder LGI Homes, which already was building houses for sale in Crimson Lake Estates.

Hansen said the rental home development will piggyback off the amenities available to homeowners at the lakeside community, including Lake El Reno, Crimson Creek Golf Course, trails, playground and parks.

Rents will be more affordable than in Oklahoma City, averaging $1,600 to $1,650 a month, he said.

Construction got underway last week on the three- and four-bedroom homes in single and two-story floorplans. The open-concept plans feature large living areas, spacious kitchens and owner’s suite with private bath and walk-in closet. All homes will be equipped with energy-efficient appliances, laundry room, wood-grain vinyl plank flooring, two-car garage and fenced backyard.

The initial 15 houses are expected to be ready for move in by July, Hansen said. “We want to get people in as quickly as we can.”

He said the company’s integrated approach, from design to property management, ensures renters enjoy a superior quality home.

SimplyHome was looking to move into Oklahoma for some time and first bought 150,000 acres in Norman, where it plans to build 800 rental homes. That development has been much slower due to rezoning and other requirements, Hansen said.

The company was a spec home retail builder – and still does that – when it first began renting its homes in 2008.

“We were unable to sell them, so we decided to lease them until the market turned and then sell them,” Hansen said. “We realized it was fantastic model.”

Today it’s one of the nation’s largest operators of build-to-rent homes.

“We combine the flexibility of renting with the comfort and privacy of a single-family home,” Hansen said. “A single-family rental home community is ideal at a time when the cost of home ownership continues to be a challenge.”

However, when renters decide it is time to buy SimplyHome offers its the NextMove program to seamlessly transition to owning a new home.

After three months into their lease, renters in the Next Move Program can end their rental agreements without penalties when they purchase a new home by sister company Legend Homes. Residents receive 10% of the rent they have paid, up to $5,000, on their SimplyHome residence as credit towards the purchase of their new home, and they can receive up to $15,000 toward closing costs when using a preferred lender.

“Owning a home is very different than renting a home,” Hansen said, so SimplyHome offers financial education courses to help its renters plan.

Legend Homes currently is not building any homes in Oklahoma, he said.

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