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One Word: Flexibility by David Barisic

One Word:  Flexibility

Flexibility is a concept not often associated with the business of homebuilding.  By nature, the process of acquiring land, entitling it for development, constructing, building and selling homes is long and arduous.  Even more so today than 10 years ago, just the time spent entitling properties has almost doubled due to ever growing environmental restrictions, testing requirements and governmental bureaucracies. As a result, the product that most of us build could have been conceived two years prior to breaking ground on a new community.  The problem, which we all have seen over the last few years, is that as market conditions change, so do the wants and needs of the consumer.

As jobs became tight and mortgages increasingly difficult to qualify for, American homebuyers shifted their outlook from “bigger is better” to “comfortable and responsible”. This was especially true in the Southern California infill development market.  Those of us who continued with plans for 3,000 sq. ft. homes on 3,500 sq. ft. lots paid the price, while those of us who remained flexible recognized the shift in consumer appetite and revised plans accordingly, retooling with smaller homes in more traditional configurations.  In certain instances, the re-casting of product type needed to occur in the midst of on-going construction in a single community.  It was not easy, but those who made the changes reaped the benefits or, at a minimum, avoided a catastrophe.

The concept of flexibility can be applied to a myriad of other aspects of this business, such as quickly revamping a marketing campaign that has missed the mark, being open to new and creative financing options, or exploring cost-cutting construction techniques and/or alternative building materials.  It’s a very simple principle that, if employed company-wide, can lead to success in even the toughest of times.

Being flexible has been about embracing the changing housing market rather than fretting over it, and for those of us who have continued to thrive, flexibility has made all the difference.


David Barisic has been Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Brandywine Homes since 2001. During his tenure, he has overseen the sale of homes in 25 communities across southern California and driven revenues of approximately $360 million. Brandywine Homes is a residential homebuilder based in Irvine, Calif., that specializes in challenging infill development.