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Legacy Communities: Builder receives national honors

COVINGTON - Legacy Communities, the builder/developer of three Covington subdivisions, has been named 2009 National Builder of the Year by Professional Builder Magazine.

The award recognizes excellence in all aspects of homebuilding, including design, building practices, financing innovation and sales and marketing programs.

"It's like the Academy Award for homebuilders," said Tom Justice, president of sales and marketing for Legacy. "We're very, very proud of it to say the least. To win that award from them when we were going against every builder in the United States, it's a tremendous honor."

The Atlanta-based company has developed three subdivisions in Covington - Oakwood Manor, Lakewood Estates and Hinton Chase.

Formed 10 years ago, Legacy Communities undertook some major changes to improve its product quality in 2008, Justice said.

"We really took a look at every plan and said, 'How can we make it better, make it more livable?'" he said.

Adding tile backsplashes and bars in kitchens and arched pass-throughs versus squared were just a few quality improvements made.

"The current market presents numerous challenges to builders and we have met them head-on," Legacy Communities President Scott Schmidt said. "Holding down costs is more important than ever, but not at the expense of quality and design."

Justice also attributed the company's success to a good customer care department and making use of the latest technology on the administration side.

"Getting a contract processed quickly may not sound like much, but it helped speed things up and increase velocity," Justice said.

Another component of the company's success is its forward-thinking, he said.

"We were grasping before anyone else that not everyone is able to afford a $280,000 home, so we started looking at the $150,000 market," he said.

Legacy recorded more than 1,200 new home sales through the first nine months of 2008 and has led all metro Atlanta builders in new home sales the past three years. It recently expanded operations outside the Atlanta market into the Columbus/Phenix City area.

In addition, Legacy's community relations program, Good Works Initiative, has contributed more than $250,000 to various community organizations.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.