Escondido Real Estate - Michael Crews Development News

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fire Victims Trade Rather Than Build

As featured in the North County Times
-San Diego's newspaper
By: ZACH FOX - Staff Writer

ESCONDIDO ---- After losing their home to the Witch Creek fire two months ago, Jack and Mary Phillips have a new home before Christmas. Now if only Santa Claus would bring some furniture.
The couple were able to trade their scorched lot and insurance payouts for free-and-clear ownership of their new Escondido home, using a program offered by Michael Crews Development. Crews is one of several local builders who are adapting their business models to help fire victims transition into new homes.

"We're not excited. I haven't been excited in months," Jack Phillips said as he surveyed his new, empty home. "We're happy and pleased to get moving forward. But the whole thing has been depressing, knowing we used to have the furniture to fill this living room."

The Phillipses received their keys Friday but will not move in until the end of January in order to first furnish the house. Michael Crews Development sold the new home for $699,900, and the company hopes to at least break even on the trade, said Mark Connal, sales director for Michael Crews Development. He said $250,000 of the sale was compensation for the burned lot.
Whether Michael Crews can profit on the trade depends on the future market for a home on the lot. The trade allows the couple to move into their new home within a matter of months rather than wait in a rental for more than a year to rebuild on the old lot. Rebuilding homes for fire victims requires a tricky balance of offering discounts and sympathy while turning a profit, builders said.And for some smaller builders, the fires offer much-needed business as they struggle to survive during the housing downturn.
"It's unfortunate that, as they say, the misery of some is the fortune of others," said Mario Landini, president of San Diego-based Innovative Development and Construction. "Business is way too slow versus the year before. ... If it wasn't for the fire, I wouldn't be meeting with anyone. It's unfortunate, but it's driving the business."
Landini said he will rebuild homes at a 10 percent discount over his normal price. The rising cost of building materials ---- in part because of increased demand from China ---- adds some ambiguity to a rebuilding process that takes many months to design and plan, said Don MacLean, corporate vice president of operations for RWR Homes.
"I can't guarantee that a year from now, (building costs) would be the same price. It probably won't be," MacLean said.
By trading their lot with Michael Crews, the Phillipses are able to avoid the guesswork of rebuilding. Several builders said they would consider similar trades but have only received interest so far from fire victims looking to rebuild on the same lot.
One of those victims is Patrick O'Sullivan, who said he wanted to stay in the same Rancho Bernardo neighborhood. O'Sullivan has decided to rebuild with Stonefield Development and never considered trading in his lot for a new home before Christmas.
"We're staying in our (rental) house. We don't want to be moving again. Our next home will be our own home on our old lot in our old address," he said.Staying in the neighborhood and rebuilding means his family will stay in a rental house for 18 months, O'Sullivan said.
Both O'Sullivan and Phillips said they selected their respective builders based on the quality work and sympathetic help.O'Sullivan said he is looking to collaborate with his neighbors and take advantage of a group rebuilding discount, something that many companies offer.
Construction companies can cut down on costs related to transporting materials and building by working on several projects in close proximity at the same time, said Nick Pappas, president of K. Hovnanian's California Coastal region. On its face, rebuilding allows companies to offer reduced prices in comparison to new homes, Pappas said. Because the builder does not need to worry about changing the land's entitlements or building infrastructure, rebuilding a burned-down home can cost as much as 40 percent less, he said.
Single-home building represents a change in K. Hovnanian's subdivision-focused business model, one that Pappas said will remain after fire victims are in their new homes. And the housing downturn makes it easier to find construction workers.
"Subcontractors want the work, desperately," he said. "When there was work going everywhere, (they) weren't interested in doing one house, they were doing subdivision work."
Contact staff writer Zach Fox at (760) 740-5412 or

Luxury Floor Plans; Upscale Escondido Real Estate

Tour a new Michael Crews Development home today and experience quality, luxury, location and appeal - all at an extremely affordable price!

Current new home neighborhoods include El Norte Park, Center Stage, Gretna Green, Cityscape and Royal View. Each neighborhood brings a unique feeling of comfort and quality to Escondido.

Get more for less at Michael Crews Development’s Center Stage neighborhood off Idaho Avenue and Purdum Lane. Center Stage offers five new homes situated on near half-acre lots ranging from 2,885 to 3,704 square feet. The homes have 4 to 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 4-car garages, and convenient access to both Highway 78 and I-15.

Located in a quaint cul-de-sac, El Norte Park is ideal for any family! This magnificent group of new single and two-story homes is just off El Norte Parkway. Homes range from 2,784 to 2,950 square feet with 4 to 5 bedrooms, 2.5 to 3 baths and up to a 3-car garage.

Dining, shopping, recreation and a high ranked school district detail the new homes at Gretna Green. With North County Fair Mall, Kit Carson Park, Lake Hodges and more next door, these two-story homes feature 2,885 to 3,704 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 4-car garages.

Only five homes remain at the trendy Cityscape neighborhood located off Escondido’s Midway Drive and Grand Avenue. These row-homes offer 2,071 square feet of elegance and style. Each home has 4 bedrooms (optional den), 2.5 bathrooms, and a 2-car garage. Don’t miss out on your chance to own one of these incredible homes!

Rounding out the Escondido properties is the gated Royal View neighborhood in the San Pasqual Valley. These exclusive, single-level estate homes are situated on minimum two-acre lots ranging from 3,487 to 4,164 square feet with 4 to 5 bedrooms, and up to 6-car garages. Select lots include motor home garages and pools. Individual lots are also available for sale.

Be sure to ask about the Trade Up Program available at all Michael Crews Development neighborhoods.

Michael Crews’ emphasis on quality is apparent with top-of-the-line amenities included in each home such as stainless steel GE Profile appliances, granite-slab kitchen countertops, fireplaces, two-toned paint, mirrored closet doors, Porcelain-over-steel tubs in secondary bathrooms, structured multimedia wiring, slab-travertine countertops in the bathrooms and laundry room, designer lighting, Porcelain tile flooring and more.

The Corporate Sales Office is open daily at El Norte Park in Escondido from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Models are open for tours at various luxury neighborhoods from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (except Thursdays).

To get to El Norte Park, from I-15, exit on El Norte Parkway and head east approximately 3 miles. The El Norte Park neighborhood is on the left side of El Norte Parkway at the intersection of Midway Drive.

Michael Crews Development is currently offering rebuilding assistance for victims of the 2007 Firestorm. If you and your family have been affected, please call Michael Crews personally on his cell phone at 760-535-8661. He is here to help. The Michael Crews Development Sales Office can be reached at 760-751-1212, or visit us online at

Crews Rebuilding San Diego from the Fires

Michael Crews Development extends a genuine and heartfelt message of sympathy and hope for fellow San Diegans who have been left homeless by the recent fires. As North County’s most trusted homebuilder, Crews says his team is ready to aid in the upcoming rebuilding efforts.

“In my 28 years of building, I have experienced extraordinary times including rebuilding from the devastating Fallbrook and Cedar fires,” Crews said. “We know what it’s like. I’ve lost several of my homes in fires…my friends, family and employees have lost their homes. Starting over is challenging, but doable.”

As a native Escondido resident, Mr. Crews is 100% committed to helping his fellow communities rebuild.

“We are currently working on programs to assist victims who have been affected by the fires, including the possibility of trading in burnt lots for a move-in ready home,” Crews said. “We have homes currently available for purchase at reduced prices, we have pre-engineered floorplans already approved by the County that we can start building now, and we have a custom home division with in-house architects to help plan and rebuild a custom residence. We are ready to help victims get back on track, and have a new place to call home as soon as possible.”

Known for his community service, Mr. Crews is willing to work with anyone who may need assistance in rebuilding. He encourages all those affected by the recent fires to call him personally on his cell phone at 760-535-8661, or call the Sales Office at 760-751-1212.

Michael Crews Development has single and two-story luxury homes available ranging from 2,071 sq. ft. to 4,072 sq. ft. The homes have up to 5 bedrooms, up to 4 baths, and up to 6-car garages. Each home includes high quality standard features such as slab-granite kitchen countertops, custom raised maple cabinetry, slab travertine countertops and backsplash in the bathrooms, Porcelain-over-steel tubs in the secondary bath, custom maple desks and cabinets in the tech center, entertaining style kitchen with GE stainless steel appliances, 18” x 18” Porcelain tile flooring in the kitchen and foyer, two-toned paint, decorative lighting and top-notch building materials throughout.

Call Michael Crews today at 760-535-8661 to find out how he may be able to help you and your family rebuild from the 2007 fires. Or stop by the corporate sales office and meet with a professional Sales Associate. The Sales Office at El Norte Park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The phone number is 760-751-1212.

To get to El Norte Park, from I-15 in Escondido, exit on El Norte Parkway and head east approximately 3 miles. The El Norte Park neighborhood is on the left side of El Norte Pkwy at the intersection of Midway Dr.

For more information on Michael Crews Development, visit the Website at, or call 760-751-121