Real Estate Developer brings Phoenix Franchise Model

by RaeAnne Marsh

Epcon_Palazzo-with-Bonus-Suite_Living-to-Dining-RoomOhio-based Epcon Communities Franchising, Inc. has identified the Phoenix area as an ideal market for its real estate development model. According to a 2014 study Epcon contracted with residential real estate research firm Metrostudy to identify the nation’s hot spots, the Phoenix area is among the top 10 cities with a significant housing gap for the Baby Boomer generation. Epcon’s solution to address this gap is a franchise model that provides individuals the opportunity to build and develop low-maintenance, condominium homes designed to meet the unique lifestyles of today’s 55 and older adults.

“Our recent study in partnership with Metrostudy confirms that Phoenix is an ideal city for expanding our franchise model because of the attractive attributes of the region, like recreational opportunities and accessibility to healthcare, that are important to Baby Boomers,” says Phil Fankhauser, Epcon co-founder and CEO.

Epcon’s unusual franchise offers franchisee developers the designs, processes and training programs for every aspect of their development. “When Epcon was founded in 1986, we decided to focus exclusively in one development niche … so we’d get better at it and learn from our mistakes,” Fankhauser relates. Creating a franchise was suggested by a fellow businessman telling  Fankhauser and his partner Edward Bacome he’d never seen a builder who had so thoroughly documented every single step of the process. An example, offers Fankhauser, is costing information that covers not only what to buy but the exact quantities, “so there’s no pile of waste to have to pay to haul away.” There is allowance, however, for customizing the architecture to local tastes.

Because the plans are so detailed, potential franchisees are not required to have construction experience, but they should have the ability to acquire at least five acres of land, a net worth of $1.5 million and the ability to secure minimum project financing of $5 million. Vetting also includes a visit to Epcon’s operations in its home base in Ohio.

Franchise marketing manager Rob Krohn says Epcon’s interest in Phoenix started with the report by Metrostudy that, in that five-year estimated future demand for new homes, 24 percent of new home sales will be in the active adult market. “It will be the first time in the nation’s history that the 55+ market would be leading new-home sales,” he says.

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