Meet Ian, The Property Scout
June 13, 2022
"The beauty a company like StyleCraft is that, in addition to being a top-5 Richmond homebuilder, we also have our own development company. That's where my role as Land Acquisition Manager comes in."
Long before foundations are poured, inspections are conducted, and the moving trucks roll in… there’s a team with a vision. Our Land Team starts the process for each new StyleCraft community by scouring Greater Richmond for properties with potential. And not just any blank slate of land, they’re looking for the cream of the crop. Properties that combine a convenient location with that special “it factor” that sets the stage for our homebuyers to Live Up. At the helm? Ian Hoyt, Land Acquisition Manager.
Ian joined the StyleCraft team five years ago as a Sales Manager and has first-hand experience working with homebuyers to understand what they’re looking for in a home and a neighborhood. Now, he brings that keen insight into his current role as Land Acquisition Manager. After all, choosing a property for development is about meeting the needs of our homebuyers as well as benefiting the surrounding area in which the community will be built. Before any offer is made or contract is drawn up, there’s careful thought about the end game, and the homebuyers who will one day call the community home.
Ian sports a can-do attitude and a good sense of humor which serve him well whether he’s facing a zoning hurdle at work or navigating a road trip with his family with his family of 7. See what the day-to-day looks like for Ian and get a glimpse at how our communities get their start.
DESCRIBE YOUR LIVE UP MOMENT — THE MOMENT YOU KNEW STYLECRAFT WAS RIGHT FOR YOU
There have been so many aspects of the job, and milestones hit, that I have enjoyed and have given me professional fulfillment. One highlight that comes to mind was presenting to Warsaw Town Council and getting to talk to the residents afterwards about how we could compliment their town. I grew up in a small town and know that there can be a natural resistance to change — so it was a great opportunity to be able to meet and connect with them, introduce StyleCraft, and just chat with them for an hour after the meeting.
DESCRIBE YOUR ROLE AND TYPICAL DAY AS LAND ACQUISITION MANAGER
The beauty a company like StyleCraft is that, in addition to being a top-5 Richmond homebuilder, we also have our own development company. That's where my role as Land Acquisition Manager comes in. I can find undeveloped property, work with Richard Kuhn (StyleCraft's President) to create a vision of what that property could someday be, and ultimately maximize its potential. Ultimately, our future homebuyers are the ones that dictate this process. When looking at land, the first thing we have to think is “what are the housing needs of this area?" — simply put, we have to determine what type of buyers and what type of home product would benefit most from that given area. Is it a condo down in the in-demand Scotts Addition area, where people love the ability to walk to breweries, baseball games, great food and entertainment? Or is it an area where buyers are looking for a larger, single-family home, where they can plant their roots and grow their family comfortably and confidently with a new home? Or maybe it is someone that has done both of the aforementioned things, and now is ready to enjoy the best phase of their life in one of our 55+ communities.
Once an area property is identified, it is my job to put it under contract with the seller, establish a due diligence period where we discover potential hurdles in development — easements, poor dirt composition, political support for a project, etc. Ultimately, it is my responsibility to take it all the way through the rezoning process, such that the land use meets our objective — to build residential homes.
I also work with other developers to negotiate finished lot deals for our company. Examples of this are in our Mosaic at West Creek, Woolridge Landing, Kennington, and Greenwich Walk Villas at FoxCreek communities.
Lastly, it is my responsibility to make sure that all terms of the Purchase Agreement are being met for the life of the project — whether that's 6 months or 10 years. Those terms can include lot pricing, dates of lot purchase, enforcing the responsibilities of the seller and purchaser, and more.
In a typical day, there is a bit of desk work, research, filing zoning amendments, meeting with land sellers (both individuals and corporations), and a whole lot of driving around to see all these exciting new places. While Google Maps and LandVision, a map-based location software we use, are both very useful in my role — I have never put an offer in on a property that I haven’t gone out and personally walked.
YOU CAN NEVER SHOW UP AT STYLECRAFT WITHOUT...
A Positive attitude. Secret, this is not unique to StyleCraft. People with a genuine can-do positive attitude will do well wherever they work. When you are in a negative headspace, you will look for the problems or hurdles in everyday life. When you have a positive attitude, you see those as opportunities to challenge yourself and create solutions.
AND THE HIGHLIGHT IS...
I know it is cliché, but I enjoy just about every aspect of my job. Seriously, I get to look at a bunch of trees and dirt, use my creative side (and past experience as a Kindergarten teacher) and sketch out potential communities, then I get the opportunity to meet with all of these unique individuals and partner with them to find a solution that meets both of our needs. Plus, I get to work with almost every department within StyleCraft while moving the project through the entitlement process and turning over to homebuilding. It's extremely rewarding to see it come projects and communities come to life.