In this interview, Ben West discuss the founding of Joy Line Homes, a company that offers affordable housing solutions in the San Francisco Bay area. West shares his personal story of overcoming health challenges and finding a new perspective on life, which led him to start a company that aims to make a positive impact in the world. Joy Line Homes offers modern, customizable manufactured homes at a significantly lower cost than traditional construction methods. The company’s goal is to provide affordable housing options to people who are struggling to find suitable homes in the expensive Bay area market. West also discusses the process of designing and building a Joy Line home, as well as the potential for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in the market. The episode concludes with information on how to contact Joy Line Homes and access additional resources.
Hello and welcome to episode number 50 of the Beta Bay Podcast. Wow, it’s episode 50. I can’t hardly believe it. It is amazing. iTunes is littered with hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of podcasts where there’s only like 10, 20 episodes, something like that. But here we are, episode 50. Now, I’d wanted to do an episode every week. That’s just not possible, but I’ve been doing at least maybe one a month or two a month, and I’m going to keep on doing them as I meet people who are really interesting and have stories that I want to share with the wider world. So for episode 50, I’m very pleased to have Ben West as my guest to now Ben is the founder of a company called Joy Line Homes, and they have an amazing product that solves the really pressing problem for so many people in the greater San Francisco Bay area in California and many other places in the world, which is the cost of housing.
It is ridiculously expensive to build housing, even affordable housing, whatever that means here in the area. But Ben West of Join Line Homes, they have an amazing solution and it really is just going to blow you away. And listen, if you are listening to this podcast, make a note to when you get in front of a computer, go to Beta Bay podcast.com, find the show notes for episode 50, and embedded into the show notes is a video of the home where we did this interview. The Homa is presently for sale in Aptos, California, and it is just stunning. It’s amazing, and just go check it out. It’s going to blow your mind. The kind of product that Joy Line Holmes is putting out now, that product, the actual house house like installed and on the dirt and all that, 150 bucks a square foot, which is amazingly cheap for our area where construction costs average about $417 a square foot. So I’m really excited and happy to see this kind of innovation happening here in Santa Cruz. Well, there’s all kinds of amazing innovation happening in and around Santa Cruz and the Greater Sanco Bay Area, kind of known for that. Listen, enough about that. Why don’t you just do me a favor, sit back, relax, and listen to what Ben West has to say.
Alright, Ben. Hey, how are you doing? Good, good, good. Thanks you for having me on your podcast. I’m really stoked that you’re on our podcast. So Ben, when I start off my podcast, I like to have my guests tell me a little story, just us an idea of who you are and what you’re about. Do you have any little story you can share with us? About 10 years ago, 10 years ago, I had a really bad reaction to medication and I started quite a few companies throughout my life and I was just not treating myself real well and really stressed out. And I split up taking a break and maybe doing some yoga and stuff, trying to power through it. I got on some medications that were just wrong, had a super crazy long battle of about seven years of my immune system being thrown off.
I spent three years in bed during the beginning of it. I was in so much pain from my immune system being thrown off from this medication. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever gone through, and I’m very happy I’m here today. I’m shocked I’m here today because at times I wanted to end my life, not because I was unhappy. I wanted to live. I was very driven to still live. I was in so much pain. I even went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota trying to find answers to what I was going through. God said, just get off all medication that you’re on right now. Just get off all of it and if you still feel gross, you can do whatever you want to do. So I got off the medication and over a year’s time I started going back to normal and I was myself. It’s hard again when you’re in those situations to gain perspective and looking back, I shoot myself like, why did I let that happen to myself? Why did I understand what was happening to me? It’s different when you break a leg and you’re in
Clear mind, in your clear thought. You can look down with a mind that works correctly and you can say, my leg is broken. But when your mind is broken because of medications that you’re on, it’s hard to say, this is the medication. And when you have a lot of doctors telling you at the same time saying, Hey, this medication is what’s helping you, you just don’t know any better. And so sometimes you put a lot of faith into people when really need to be your best advocate. So that’s a long story. So basically got through all of that, and when I got out of that and I was basically on deaths doorstep, I realized that the way I was living my life before was not making me happy. And when you’re on your deathbed and you realize that the things that carry you through or the things that are on your mind are the good things you’ve been a part of in your life, the things that have touched you, your memories, your family, and it’s not the things and the possessions you’ve owned, you don’t think about, oh, how hard you’ve worked your whole life to gain all this stuff in life.
And that really was a changer for me. So once I started feeling better and got a good foundation underneath me, again, I wanted to try to do something. I didn’t know what I wanted to do for my career yet, and I just knew whatever I wanted to do, I wanted to make an impact in the world, something that did good, I felt that I spent the first 30 years of my life taking for the most part, and I wanted to do something to give back, and I just didn’t know yet. I just didn’t know yet. I thought about doing missions overseas, working with maybe some annual animal sanctuary stuff, got involved with a bunch of homeless projects in Portland where I’m originally from. I came down to California because I wanted to a change of scenery, and when you go through something very traumatic like that, everything you look and see around you just reminds you of that.
And I just wanted to get out of Portland for a little bit. And when I came down to Santa Cruz, California getaway in the sun, I started looking for housing and I had a vacation home up in Portland and a 3,500 square foot house in Portland. Very nice, very, very well sought after neighborhood and had quite a bit of equity in both homes and was sitting pretty good. And I was like, oh, no problem. Down in California finding something. Well, when I got here, I was very surprised that what I had in the equity and the cash that I had wasn’t going to get me much. Be down payment. Yeah, yeah, yeah. A down payment on something. So I came down here and found out very quickly that I’m not going to be able to
Afford your typical stick bill home, and if I could afford it, it needed a complete remodel and was almost a tear down. And I’d been through remodels, and not only are they expensive, but they’re very stressful and very time consuming. When I was looking for different types of options, I looked at condos, I was looking at homes, and I just could not find anything affordable in the Santa Cruz County, and even a condo was going to cost me starting around $800,000. So when I was driving to my favorite surf spot, I drove by an open house sign and it was for a manufacturer home, and I went and just keeping all options on the table, went and took a look at it, and I loved the home location. It was right by my favorite surf spot, great walkability to everything. The size of the home was great.
I didn’t even really mind the park that much. It was actually a very clean park. It was a resident owned park, so I owned shares in the park, which felt good to me, but I just was hung up on the design. I just didn’t like the design much of the home. So when looking for options as far as what I could put inside of that park as far as trying to find manufacturers of manufactured homes that fit more of my style, coming from being a builder for 21 years and doing mostly contemporary style homes, I just had a different style of home I was looking for. I wasn’t really big into the craftsman stuff that we were actually doing back pre 2008 before the big crash then, which came back in 2013, was pretty much nothing but contemporary and modern, modern style of homes. No one was doing it.
And I was just shocked. I was shocked that no one was doing it. And so I was trying to figure out if maybe I can remodel one these homes to make it fit more of my needs, and that’s just expensive and costly. I just went back to my daily work and just kind of slowly start thinking about the what ifs could I start manufacturing homes that are modern and more to my likings? And I knew that living in Portland and doing a lot of my business up there in Portland, all my builds up there in Portland, I knew there was a market for people wanting modern homes. I mean, that was pretty much all we were doing. So I just went back to my daily work, started thinking, started playing around with it, started making some kind of minor calls here and there, and it slowly started progressing to something where I thought it might be more possibility, had some very important meetings, flew out, met up with some factories, started talking about what the possibilities on this was, saw that it could be a reality really.
Then at that point, dove in headfirst and started the design process of our first model home. At the time, I didn’t have a company name or what I was going to do. I was almost thinking I was almost going to just do it for myself as a one-off. Then at some point, I don’t even know when. I just almost felt like this. Sometimes the things I feel like we do in our lives, we don’t always choose them and always choose us. And I’m not trying to sound cheesy by saying that, but I felt like maybe this was my calling to do. I had a lot of friends, not only my own personal story with trying to find a place to live in Santa Cruz County, I just had a lot of friends in the area as well that were saying so many similar stories out.
Would here with friends, with people I’d meet that you’d be like, yeah, we make a hundred thousand dollars a year. I mean, we’re making a six figure income and we live with five other people. I share a bedroom with someone with couples that there was three sets of couples, three sets of married couples living in one house trying to save. And even at the rate they were saving with appreciation growing as quickly as they could. Even though Santa Cruz County is a little bit slower, I don’t know what it’s at right now. I don’t know. You probably like 1.7 right now. For what appreciation? 1.7%. Yeah, no, another, the market I would say is depreciating at the moment. Depreciating at the moment. I think at the moment it is, but it’s depreciating. Markets don’t always go up in the straight line forever. They have little setbacks. So historically I would say that Santa Cruz depreciates about 4.5%. I’d say a couple of percent above the inflation is what? Santa Cruz? Yeah, 4.5. 4.5. So even if you run those numbers at 4.5%, a typical home in Santa Cruz County that a first home buyer’s going to buy is that a million and a 4.5% appreciation a year, that’s $45,000 a year. So who even living with a group of people trying to pinch every dollar, eating Top Ramen every night, not going out,
How are you going to save
$45,000 a year to even keep up with appreciation, almost like you’re caught in this mouse field, these can’t get off. I just wanted to do something not only for myself, but also for so many people that just want to
Find home ownership. Well, thank you for that.
That was a lot of
Well, I mean what you’re talking about, I can feel your pain. I mean, I am blessed
To have a home.
We’ve had it for a while, but a lot of my friends do not. A lot of my friends do not. And I’m going to go meet with a friend of mine on a Saturday, going to sit down with him and his wife and her parents to talk about how they can possibly find a home for ’em. And it’s going to be a very difficult conversation because unless you have seriously large amounts of cash and high income, it’s really hard to find any home you would want to live in almost anywhere in Santa Cruz County. Maybe they can move to Boulder Creek an hour away from all their current center of life, or maybe they can move to North Monterey County and pay 650,000 for something like five miles out of town. But there’s
A lot of people also doing that same thing.
And then you add to the commute and sprawl and c o two, and it’s not an ideal situation. So I mean, there are so many people who are just not dying for housing, but having much lower standards of living than one would expect that you would have living in the wealthiest
Place in the world. Even with that 4.5% appreciation a year, a home that you might’ve qualified a year ago, you might no longer, you’re priced out, very priced out.
You get priced out fast,
You get priced out very quick. Yeah,
Absolutely. So Ben, you grew up in Portland Now, did you go to college at university at all or
No, actually no
School of hard knocks. No school of hard knocks.
Yeah. But you got a contractor’s license?
Yeah, had a contractor’s
License, yep, yep. Out of high school I went immediately, started working for my father, my stepfather,
And I just fell in love with it. I did well in school, just didn’t know what I wanted to do in school. Coming out of
School, I had played around with being an
Architect. I just dove into building new construction homes and fell in love with it. And you love building, I love building, yeah.
And so you came to Santa Cruz. Do you have a license here in California too or
So? Dealer’s license? No, no. Contractor’s, dealer’s license. A manufacturer home, a dealer’s license deal. Homes.
Alright. So you’ve been interested in construction basically since you got out of high school, sounds like. And how old are you now?
I am 39.
39. 20 years. 20 years you’ve been in the construction essentially.
Yeah, yeah. Alright, so one thing in the story, which is a really great story, thank you for sharing the actual name, joy Line. Where did the name Joy Line come from?
Yes, well, joy Line. So when talking about design and construction, a lot of people talk about lines in a home. We also wanted a name that was uplifting, approachable, and so we can, well, joy, I mean there’s nothing much more approachable than joy and buying a home can be a stressful experience, but it also would be a very joyful experience. And so we want to emphasize on the joyful side of it with lines, when I’m designing a home, it’s nothing but lines on a piece of paper. And when designing the style of a home from the interior to the lines of the home, we wanted to combine basically finding your joy lines, finding the lines in a home that bring you joy line, I guess. Yeah,
I ended that.
I ended those.
Well, it’s good though, actually I like it because the lines in a home and lines really are really great in a home. I mean when I think lines, I think like sight lines, right? Sight lines, exactly how you work at a home, right? We’re right now sitting in your place in Aptos Pines and the lines on this place are incredible. They’re phenomenal. Yeah,
Clean lines. Very clean lines, right, exactly. And it’s a whole sort of, like you said, modern right is basically it, and that’s kind of like a hallmark of a modern design is basically clean, uncluttered, almost simple and the house feels kind of simple, but yet it’s very, I don’t want to say ornate, that’s not the word for it. It feels like luxurious really. It feels like a luxurious home. It feels definitely upscale for sure.
Yeah, lines are used. Lines are used a lot when it’s kind of a overarching kind of umbrella kind of term, especially when even going to a gallery, looking at artwork to talk about a home or the way it’s decorated or the lines of the architecture of the home. A lot of people use that word lines, the lines of something. And so we like to name joy lines,
Right. Well I think it works. I think it works. I love the word joy because obviously it instantly makes you feel happy and the house actually feels really happy as well. So this house right here we’re sitting in, this is not a modular home, it’s a manufactured home or Yeah,
This is actually, so our homes can be built as under the manufacturer home stamp, which is governed by H C D is state Ram and H C D is then Ram is overseen by hud, which is the federal government. They could also be built under modular standards, which add significant costs. Really the benefits of building modular really in our, and our structure of how we do things really isn’t beneficial to our clients because we found this Goldilocks zone of building, finding a pathway to build our homes and our style of homes under the H C D or federal requirements passes down significant costs to our clients, also streamlines things. Our permit prices are unbelievably inexpensive. I can get ’em in the same day. Our cost to build a home are at around $110 a square foot to our clients and our timeframes to build that home are really, we can build a home in about two weeks, but to get on the waiting list, to get in the queue, it takes about usually about two months to get started on a home. But from the second we start designing the home with a client to us delivering the house and it’s sitting on your property is three months and that’s an unbelievable timeframe.
Normally, I mean I’m remodeling my kitchen right now. We’re four months in
Versus so Yeah, so even stick belt homes, you’re looking at a year at best, you can be looking at 15 to $30,000 in permits and tons of headache. Our pathway to having a home on your site is very streamlined with limited, if not any unforeseens. It’s very clean and it’s well appreciated and coming from being a builder for so long, I’ve been through it all. And so I love being able to have a process that’s so clean and all the pieces just seem to fit when they need to fit. There’s so much less headache that is put onto us as a contractor or providing a home, which also puts a lot less headache on the consumer of the product.
So this is a manufactured home which like mobile homes, I don’t want to call mobile homes. They’re called manufactured homes
The same. It was like 1976. That was kind of the wild west back then.
You get away with anything and that’s where HUD came in. The federal government saw that there was a real possibility for affordable housing with manufactured homes at the time was mobile homes, but it was just a lot west. There was no regulations put in place. You could do just about anything you wanted to and just pass off to consumers and they wanted to protect consumers, especially a lot of people that are looking for affordable housing always have the means and can also be taken advantage of very easily if it being elderly people or people that just have low income and can’t afford lawyers and that kind of stuff to go after some of these issues that come up with some of these homes. So the HUD got involved, which is federal government and put a lot of building standards on all the homes and continues to always update these building standards and keeping up to date with the standards of our times. Even with here in California, all homes having have of do have solar power. The manufacturers of manufacturer homes are moving up to date with building the trust systems to be able to hold the weight of manufacturer or of solar panels.
A manufactured home is not built to a lower your standard, right? It is not right. I mean it has to follow the U B C or whatever the uniform
Building home. So manufactured homes fall under very strict guidelines that are put in place by the federal government and all manufactured homes have to meet those guidelines and those guidelines because they’re actually so strict supersede county standards and building codes. So federal actually trumps all those. They’re very strict on what we need to do so.
So this is not a mobile home at all. This is on a foundation, this is on a concrete perimeter foundation or what kind of foundation
Are we sitting on here? This is actually in a manufactured home park. You can’t put a concrete foundation on private land. We always usually suggest that people to put a concrete foundation on this is a
Slabs or perimeter. What do you
Like? A perimeter foundation, a
Center block concrete.
This is actually done on an upgraded foundation system from your typical, what you typically see inside of a manufactured home park. This is done on metal pier pads that are tied to the ground and certain areas and also that have seismic straps that pull off on 45 or angles to keep the home very secure. If there was ever a case, an earthquake, and this is considered a home attached to real property on a foundation
And it’s finances, any other home might be Quicken
Loans. That was the whole purpose of it, right? I mean people that are coming in looking for affordable housing aren’t necessarily going to have cash and so they’re going to want to have F H A or conventional financing was 5% down, so we wanted to at least something that anybody can buy, anybody can buy it too. So you can get any kind of normal loan that you can get for any house you can get for this house as well. So now what does Joy Line do different than other manufactured home builders? Is there, what’s your Yeah, what’s your angle? Yeah, so with manufactured a typical manufactured home right now, well for one they’re all done cressman style and your options that are given to you are limited and we wanted to be able to bring not only a different style of home, more of a modern style of home, something that’s very different, but also bring unlimited customization options to the client.
So even if our factory can’t do it, but with what the options we have at our factory, there is a high amount of customization options so we can shoot straight out of the factory. We would prefer to do as much as we can out of the factory just to keep costs down for the client, but whatever we can’t do in the factory, we just deliver to the home and we can do on location. Now there’s some things that we just have to do on location anyways, like the glass partition walls inside this house, they’re just not going to make it down the road. We always like to joke around and say our houses kind of have to experience an earthquake and a hurricane at the same time to make it down the road to get to their location going down the road at 60 miles an hour while they’re bumping and bouncing all over the place.
So things like our class partition walls wouldn’t make it. Things like the siding on the exterior of it just can’t make it. So stuff like that, especially we have to do on location, but if a client client wants in particular special custom cabinets built or if there’s flooring but just our factory just doesn’t offer or if they want to change exterior walls or interior walls or have custom lagging that just came out, it’s hot new on the market from radiant floors to solar panels that power the home, we wanted to offer everything. We want clients to see our homes as blank canvases, let our factory do like the heavy lifting, get the structure of the home built and if someone’s on a much tighter limited budget, we can have the factory do mostly, pretty much 95% of the home within the factory, which generally drive the prices down and if we have clients that really have much more specific tastes in mind that or have a much higher budget that we can do stuff on location to fit customer’s needs, we can do a lot of it in the factory too. But again, a lot of it just can’t make it down the road. We’re just forced to do it on location.
When you buy a home, it comes, you say from the factory, does it come with the walls textured and drywalled and painted and the
Lights installed? There’s
Kitchen cabinets and the bathroom?
Yeah, so all
That’s done in the factory.
The homes pretty much come 95% finished. The rest of the 5% is stuff like because it does go through a little bit of abuse going down the road. We have to come in and do some minor touches to sheet rock, maybe cracking from some of the wind or bouncing down the road. The flooring, we can have a flooring done before it leaves the factory, but I like to do it after that house is on location so we can have nice fluid flooring that goes through the whole homes instead of having seams, stuff like that. Stuff like this is very, very minor stuff. The home pretty much comes finished once the house is located. Once the house is at its location, we can have the home actually set on its foundation in one day, but getting the home to where it’s a finished product can take a couple more weeks after that to a month.
So it’s actually very quick. The home is almost finished. But going back to what you were talking about earlier, we want our clients to do, we want our clients to really put their own personal touches into the home and we don’t want them to have any limitations to that. And with normal manufactured homes, you’re very, very limited to what you can do to a home. We have an in-house design team, which is very good working with the clients and trying to achieve what their goals are, always keeping them budget conscious of what the end price is going to be because sometimes people really get out of control and by the time they’re die from there they’re spending a lot more money than they expected price per square foot clients can work with our team of in-house designers. We then three D render and model the home for our clients so our clients can put on VR glasses or get three D images of the home before we even drive the first nail so they can virtually see what their home is going to look like before we even start, which is really cool and we offer that to all of our clients.
When designing or purchasing h o line home,
You mentioned that they can pretty much get whatever they want and then the factory has lots of different options, so how does that look like? Is there a catalog? Is there an app on your phone as you sit down with a CAD program and a designer? What’s that?
Yeah, so with the design process, we have our basic models that we offer to our clients. Right now what we have is the Pines and we have two others coming out. One is the Juniper, which is about 1100 square feet and then we have the Cedars, which is around 800 square feet, but the client will see those models and use ’em as a basic template. From there we just want them to see ’em as a blank canvas and start manipulating things to better fit their needs all the way down to the finishes. We like to start with the templates because it kind of seem overwhelming just going to go into something new, trying to design something from nothingness. Plus when we have these templates, they’re already three D rendered and they can virtually tour these homes with the design process we hopefully takes us to about a month period to go through the design process.
We pick out the home they want to start with, then we kind of start going over what their needs are, like how many bedrooms, how many baths, stuff like that. For the most part we have most of that stuff covered. We can always stretch homes and change and tweak interior walls and window placement, all that kind of stuff. Very easy for us to do just different features they’re kind of looking for because a lot of people are coming to us, they’re not professional architects, they just kind of have an idea of what they like or what they’ve seen and we come from a background of design and we like to, by working with them organically, come up with something that is unique to them, but they like through that process we continue to three D render the home and model it to where they can see the progression of it and through those stages and that progression, that’s kind as organic progression.
We can manipulate and change things to where it becomes exactly what they envisioned, what they want. My past years working with clients is it is hard to visualize things. For me, it’s very easy to visualize things and how they’re going to be a finished product and with a lot of people it is also a lot of people can visualize things, but sometimes the way that someone visualize something versus the way that someone else perceives something can produce a different end product and that can create a lot of headache and stress for not only the contractor but also the consumer, the homeowner. So we really liked the offering, the rendering and the modeling of the home through the whole process because our client really truly understands what they’re going to be getting and sometimes when they design something they realize that it’s not quite what they expected in their head and we can go in and then change those things up.
It saves a lot of time and frustration and it’s just good for the overall project and the relationship we can have with our clients. What we also find with it is clients get much more braver and that’s what we really like because dumping a bunch of money or time or resources into something that’s kind of off the wall and just crossing your fingers and saying, okay, let’s see how this looks. Once we’re finished and we have all this money into it is intimidating and when we can do things through this modeling process, clients tend to get a bit more braver and we push ’em towards that way.
For us, I’ve built and designed so many homes and it can get mono honest, it can get very old and so for us, we always enjoy scratching our heads, trying to make something new work or trying to do something more innovative and trying to always push the envelope of what you can do with homes. When talking with clients, we try to comfort them, but at the same time say really, really this is your home. This might not be your forever home, but let’s really make something that really fits you and whatever crazy wild hair ideas you have, anything, just any type of design or if you just want something simple, just whatever it is, don’t feel bashful or intimidated to do it because for one, you’re in good hands and we can work through this whole design process with you, but you’re going to be able to see it in 3D modeling and you’re going to know exactly what you get before we even drive the first nail.
That’s always fun to really do with people and we can even take it a step farther and interior design the home with the client to where they can even pick down to their chandeliers to the couch that’s going to fit in a corner. What’s really cool is a lot of these companies that sell actual physical product like couches and dishes to cabinets and flooring and all these things, we can actually interior design the home with skews and so if you see this home, I mean you want this couch in the corner of your house, we have a skew to that and you can just go online and purchase that exact same house we just modeled your home with to a planter in the corner to a painting on the wall we can work with where we have skews literally and all that stuff.
That’s pretty crazy. Basically you’re basically taking a virtual space completely and making it real in the real world. That’s pretty incredible. And so this isn’t really your daddy’s manufactured home where it’s like I’m going to get the Ponderosa model and it’s going to have paint it blue or whatever. This is basically a client can come to you and if they can almost, if they can dream it, you can build it in a factory in a very short period of time at a remarkably low cost. So these factories, where are these factories?
Our factory is up in the northwest. We work with one of the largest manufacturers manufacture homes in the industry. We have contracts with them to build our joy line models. They’re very, very efficient up there. They’re building 21 floors a week, which to give you an idea, the Pines model is a three floor home. So they’re building, what is that? About seven of these
Homes, seven of these every week,
Seven of these homes in a week. So they’re really cranking out.
Wow. It’s amazing, right? If you think about the man hours that construct seven homes like this stick built the man hours would be how many? I mean,
Thousands. Thousands of man hours.
It’s thousand man hours. It’s not just always just the man hours, the overlapping of stuffs and contractors getting in and out. Well
That’s the time factor, but the actual hour
In terms of what it costs to do it is pretty staggering. Now the construction costs in the Bay Area now, have you heard this figure? It is now the most expensive place in the world to construct any kind of property, right? It’s $417 a square foot is the average sumption much. $417 is average. Average construction cost in the San Francisco Bay area, and that includes Santa Cruz. So if you’re able to put together a place for 110 and then well more for the foundation and whatever, but you’re still probably a good bit under 150 a square foot, right? I mean, yeah,
Yeah, yeah. So
Even when you’re talking about $415, that’s to build the home. So you’re not talking about all the site prep and so much other stuff that goes Yeah, exactly. There’s so much more that goes in it. Our home started $110 a square foot for a base model after our construction costs with install foundation delivery costs. We like to say it’s around $150 a square foot. So yeah, that’s hard to touch. That’s significantly. You can’t touch that. I know significantly.
We can’t touch that
Here. For our listeners, three 50 a square foot construction cost is actually, that’s the bottom rate. You’re not going to get a home built for really anything less than that, and that’s going to be a pretty simple home. It’s not going to be a luxury product. I mean it’s going to be a safe quality product, but it’s not going to be a luxury, right?
Yeah, no, you’re right. But what usually it takes a home to the next level. Most homes are the same. You can play around some different exterior lines of the home, but for the most part they’re all boxes. And it’s what you do with that box from there, from basically it’s your finishings to basically, yes, you’re finishing or the appliances you have inside of the house. So with us, work with our factory, we can produce the home at $110 a square foot, then really go to the next level and use some of the money that you can save to take that home to that extra 20, 30% that really transforms the whole home. Right?
Let’s face it, I’m doing a remodel right now and the money is in the finishes really, and that’s where so much of the money is. It’s your $800 farm style sink. Right,
Your a $300 faucet, your $9 square foot tile, that’s where, that’s really what makes a home a really quality product in the end. Are the finishes are those?
It is, yeah, it is it. So why spend such a premium dollar on something almost? It’s like the bread and butter. It’s like the very simplest part of a home, which is the skeleton of it, the structure of the home. Why spend such a premium dollar on that when a factory can build it so much more cost effective, but the end result is exactly the same. Use that money cost savings that you’re there to take that home to a level that sometimes people can’t necessarily do just because they put so much, they have to spend so much price per square foot just to
Get the box built,
Just to get the box built. And so it frees up a lot of assets to go with more views, custom finishes that will fit and your aesthetic feel and design and hopefully produce a home that is your dream home.
Let’s just say that I had a vacant lot somewhere and I wanted to put one of these things on it and I happened to own the lot, let’s just say, or maybe I don’t own the lot. I mean, where do I get the money? I mean what’s the financing loan? Can I do F H A 2 0 3 K
Loan for this or are there special programs to get the financing together to have one of these installed on my lot or
No, that’s a good question. So our homes, homes are able to go on any type of property so long as they’re billable. So private land or in manufacturing
On a hill, they go on a hill.
Yep. On a hill. Anything so long is you can put a house on it,
Our homes can go
On. You just have the foundation set for
It. So long as you can have a foundation set for a home, our house will go on it. We crane our houses right in and we can crane
It in, just set
’em right down. So
If I am on a flag lot and I can’t get the truck down the thing, I can just
Bring that in. Or if your house is down on the hill, we just crane it down and we
Just crane it down,
Just write it down on the foundation because our homes, they’re tied to the ground on a foundation just like any other home or are built to the standards of any other home, they’re considered just real property and they finance, just like any standard stick, go home, just one home is built on location versus one’s built in a factory doesn’t change the financing on it.
Right. Okay. So Joy Line Homes is a new venture for you. How long have you been doing this for the actual Joy Line?
Line has actually been, so Joy Line has been in the works for three years, but two of those years have been behind closed doors, not much of a face on the company, working with factory, getting all of our ducks in a row and everything lined up to this point. And so once we actually acquired this land, which we didn’t expect to acquire so quickly, it just kind of fell into our laps. We jumped on it. We actually had one to have more models in place before we kind of said hi to the world and showed our face. But this piece of property came through in Aptos Pines here in Aptos, California, and we just want to take advantage of it. So we threw our flagship home, the Pines model on it. It happened to fit on it, and so we ran with it. And so we started Construct, we purchased this home or we purchased the land, which had a home on it. We scratched the home about going on almost a year, so January. So as of January, that was when I guess we kind of started to say, here we are in Joline, but we really even started even market then either. So we started pre-selling the home back in about April of this year. So really, I think that was the first kind of advertisement was back in April. So very fairly new company.
So where do you see yourself five or 10 years down the road? What’s the sort of medium term
Plan for Enjoy line? Really we want to be nationwide with our models because right now we can only deliver to the West coast. It’s almost like if you were to go from let’s say the Northwest, let’s say Oregon and draw a line down to San Diego and then use that almost like a pendulum and drive that pendulum up, those are kind of the states. We can go go even farther, but the prices to ship those homes just don’t become cost effective anymore. So we like to be nationwide with our homes and just have more models and different designs and always continually trying to make our process even more streamlined. Even it is already so streamlined. I don’t know how we can make it more, but always trying to make it just easier on our consumer and our client and just fine tuning what we’re doing, what we’re trying to offer, getting our message out to more people, really trying to, at five years, I hope that we can change the stigma of living inside of a manufacturer home park, bringing more affordable housing options to first home buyers or people on limited budget, inspiring other companies or other people like myself that maybe have an idea of doing something.
I think competition is healthy. I think that right now there’s such a huge movement from tiny houses to shipping to manufacture homes. Everybody’s trying to figure out a way to get affordable housing up to people and everyone has their own niche, and I just hope that through the growth of Joy Line Homes, we can broaden affordable housing to people, open people’s eyes, up to different options, to affordable housing, and realize that you don’t have to give up design and quality for affordable, that you can still have those things and even have the customization. A lot of times people feel like with customization that all of a sudden the price has to drive up through the roof and with regular stick built homes and modular, it does, but we will continue to try to keep those prices reasonable and affordable and offer all that customization to people.
Alright, that’s really cool. Now, one thing in the here and now today, which is a huge opportunity for anybody, any builder really, but I think for you especially is accessory dwelling units, right? Because there is a thing where the person already has the land, they have the space, all they need is they need an inexpensive way to put a manufactured home on there. Have you looked at that at all?
Yeah, so something that we wanted, something that we always had on in the plan to do. I was a little bit on the back burner until we, well, it was always something we were going to do and we weren’t going to get started on those homes for about six to eight months. We were still thinking about larger units. We were still focused on the family, the family trying to get into a home, which is three bedroom, four bedroom homes. So a lot of models are larger in the 11 to 1600 square foot range. And what we found was this huge response and inquiry into ADUs and even though it’s something we knew we wanted to do, especially in Santa Cruz County, is there is just a ton of people that are really into looking for ADUs in the market right now. Santa Cruz County lifted a huge moratorium on ADUs for personal property or for land owners. Are you probably know more about that. How am I saying? I’m saying it incorrectly for
For property owners, yeah. So Santa Cruz lives at the moratoriums on property owners to put ADUs and what’s cool, it’s cool is I’ve heard about this in the past and when the county, I like it when counties show real motivation to try to do infill and especially working with homeowners and ADUs because seen and not heard about the scene in the past where they’re say, oh yeah, you can put a d u in, but here’s all these requirements almost for a tape you have to go through. And it’s just like, oh my god, this isn’t even impossible. Clearly it is not a huge priority for you guys to do info. Santa Cruz County is totally different.
They’re making the process very easy on landowners to do these ADUs, these additional dwelling units with things like reduced permit costs for all permits submitted. I mean $20,000 worth of permits is, I’ve talked to some clients talking, they’ve been reduced all the way in half to where only 10,000 and being able to acquire these permits, they’re getting these permits within 30 days, which is amazing. And setbacks are only at three feet for these ADUs, which is amazing. So you can really cram these ADUs into just about anywhere. So we are designing three models right now. One is a 400 square feet and then we have another one with a little bit larger up to 800 square feet kind of like, because I know at the same time as well about maximizing your square foot as well. So some people will barely be able to fit 400 square foot on there, but if they can, they want to maximize that footprint and try to go as big as they can.
So that jump between or having the options between four to 800 I think is a good starting point at that and we’ll just kind of go from there. So yeah, we’re excited with the A D U stuff we got going on. Again, that’s like a whole new beast worth ADUs. You have just these tight little living quarters, but you have to try to maximize your storage and the living situation because ultimately these are kind almost studios maybe with a bathroom, with a separate door, with a little loft of a sleeping area up above is kind of a way that a lot of these tiny houses in and a D u homes are kind of designed in a way. So it’s a different beast for us. We enjoy it because very different. We always love a challenge, and so we’re excited with the ADUs have coming out trying to do something different also that encapsulates joy line and what we’re doing and meets our requirements as far as design and functionality, and at the same time also hits that affordability marker. So trying to herd all those cows through that very narrow gate at the same time is sometimes time consuming, but we’re getting there and so hopefully in the next three, four months we’ll have some ADUs available on the market for clients to purchase. So stay tuned on that
640 square feet. That’s the magic number. That’s the one that fits in my backyard. 646 46 40. Well the county the best. I said depending on your zoning, your location of the county, here’s the biggest A D U you can have. And for me it’s 640 square feet. So just to make a note of that. So we’ve got to wrap things up here, but before we do, let me ask you if there’s any questions that I didn’t ask you that I should have asked you.
Well, yeah, sure. So a lot of people will wonder how long does this kind of process take or what is the process of a joy line home? We like to say from the start, when we start the initial design process to you eating dinner inside your home, we let say it’s around four to five months, depending on how much customization you have, it’s about two months before we get the house into where we actually start it in the factory. Once we actually start the home, it takes about two weeks to finish the home, which is very, very fast. So about three months, the house is sitting on your location. It takes about a day to set the home on its foundation, and again, depending on your customizations and stuff we have to do on the ground stuff, it just couldn’t make it through transit. We then do that stuff there and I can be anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months at that point. So we like to ballpark it around five months to do that. Again, I think the main thing I would like to drive home to people is that we really want our clients, and I know I’ve said this a bunch of times, but we really want our clients to see our homes as just blank canvases and really put their own thumbprint on what they need in a home because our factory
Build 21 floors in a week and we have automated services and such a line production where we’re buying products on. We’re buying all the product at huge bulk and buying even lumber, cut the size if I need, if regular stick bill home, a regular stick bill home, if I need to build a sidewall at nine foot, I’m buying 10 foot material and I’m off, I’m lopping off a foot off each one of those pieces of two by six. Well, we can order that stuff right to fit and to where we don’t have to cut it. And there’s just so much stuff like that where we can just buy in bulk and there’s no wait time. That can also cause a lot of price increases. It’s just such a streamlined process working within a control facility of the factory that it just really drives down prices tremendously.
So if all the building materials are all screwed together, put together to the same standards, why spend $300, $400 a square foot when our factories can do it at $110 a square foot? You’re getting exactly the same end product with those cost savings. Use that money to either just pocket and don’t do anything with it or have fun with that money to the things that really take that home to the next level or that home that fits more your needs or your aesthetic appeal. As far as some of your custom finishes to fund siding that we can put on the house to now we’re throwing solar panels on, so we put radiant heating and the home at the end of the day, a house built a factory or a stick-built house that the end product there is exactly the same.
So Ben, how do people get ahold of you? Let’s just say I want to build, I have a lot or whatever I want an A D U or whatever. How do people get ahold of you?
So you go to website, which is www.jolinehomes.com. You can email us through the contact page of that. You can also follow us on Facebook. What are you on Facebook,
Line homes facebook com slash storyline homes. We are
Joline homes on Facebook. You can also follow us on Instagram, which is Joline Homes on Instagram as well. Pretty much you just type in Joline. You can find us on all sorts of different platforms and it’s very easy to get ahold of us through there. You can email us or direct contact anyone on our team. Everyone’s listed on there and we’re all very happy and eager to talk to all of our clients. So
Yeah. Alright everybody, I want you guys to listening to this to check the show notes on bay to bay podcast.com. So for this show, we’ll have embedded some video that we took here and so you’ll get a feel. I’m sure you’re going to be blown away by what we’re talking about here today. So Ben, thank you so much for making the time to join us on the Beto Bay podcast. I really appreciate it. Yeah, thanks so much. I really appreciate you having us on podcast. We’re just so happy to be here with you.
All right, that wraps up episode number 50 of the Beta Bay podcast. I really hope you enjoyed listening to this episode and hearing what Ben West has to say and his passion for his work. It’s really impressive and his work is actually just mind blowing. So again, go check out the show notes, find episode 50 on beta bay podcast.com. In the show notes, there is a video that shows the home that we were in when we recorded that episode of the podcast and it is just stunning. Also, the contact information for Ben West and Doline Holmes is also in the show notes. So do yourself a favor, go check that out. It is really super cool. Listen, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that this year podcast, the Beta Bay podcast, it is sponsored by the sold book.com. That’s right. Go to the sold book.com to get your free copy of my book, get It Sold.
It’s all about how to sell your home quickly and easily for the very highest price possible and have a good time doing it. Now, this is a real book. You can actually buy this on amazon.com. It does cost 13 bucks there. It does have a number of five star reviews, but check it out. I will send it to you for free, free. Just go to the sold book.com and order your copy today and check it out. If you use the coupon code free ship at checkout, that’s F R E E S H I P, use that coupon code free ship at checkout. I will even ship it to you for free Now, how is that? Pretty good deal, right? Alright, well that wraps up this episode of the Beta Bay Podcast. Do me a favor, share it with all your friends and family and anybody who’s interested in what’s going on in and around the greater San Francisco Bay area. I’d be really stoked. Oh, of course. Give me a five star review on iTunes. That would be really awesome. Alright, well it, I’ll have another episode up again before.