Posted 9/19/12 (Wed)
By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer
Buffalo Hills, a new subdivision located east of Watford City, celebrated a private Grand Opening on Thursday, Sept. 13.
Ground was broken for the subdivision on May 3, 2012, and in the four months since then, the development has taken on a life of its own. The development will close the sale of nine homes and have contracts on 31 homes by next week.
While a number of factors have gone into the rapid development of Buffalo Hills, one big reason, according to Michele Vaughn, Buffalo Hills Sales manager, is vision.
“We wanted to do something affordable in this area, and we bought our land from Ed and Charlotte Schilke who had the same vision,” states Vaughn.
“I thought the town needed housing that was affordable, and something that people could get into,” states Ed Schilke. “I like Buffalo Hills because they do things right and have a price variation so people can buy what they can afford.”
Mike Vannett, Vaughn’s brother and part investor in the project, states, “There are males who live out here who are sick of not having their spouses with them. Everyone in this neighborhood so far is someone who has been able to move out of a camper and into a home, with their family.”
Together, Vaughn, Vannett and the Schilkes have made it possible for people who live in this area to find and purchase affordable housing that looks nice and is in a beautiful setting.
Buffalo Hills is tucked away in the North Dakota countryside and consists of modular homes, built off-site in a climate-controlled environment and brought in once completed.
“I have specialized in modular home sales for over 30 years,” states Vaughn. “The cost is better and the product is high quality.”
“I was born in Minot and know what it takes to build a home for North Dakota,” states Vaughn. “Buffalo Hills hasn’t compromised any quality or standards.”
In addition, according to Vannett, Buffalo Hills put the right people together - the right investment group and the right builders, who knew what they were doing.
“It was sort of like our dream team, brought here and housed, for free, in order to do this the right way,” states Vannett.
Water was also a factor in Buffalo Hills coming together so quickly.
According to Vaughn, because there is plenty of water available, Buffalo Hills was able to dig wells instead of having to wait for water from the city.
“North Dakota requires four gallons of water per minute to run a household and two more gallons per minute for landscaping. We are doing our best to ensure each house gets 10 gallons per minute,” states Vaughn.
Though Vaughn does state that some homes may be on a shared well and some homes may have a private well, Buffalo Hills is still guaranteeing 10 gallons per minute for each home.
“We are also putting a reverse osmosis system into each kitchen, because good drinking water is important to us,” states Vaughn.
Whatever the reason for the speed, availability and affordability of Buffalo Hills, Lindzie McDonald, a future Buffalo Hills resident, couldn’t be happier.
Lindzie McDonald moved to Watford City with her fiance about three years ago from Oregon. When they began living in a camper, they had no children. Now, however, she and her husband have one two-year-old and another child on the way.
“This was our last ditch effort,” states McDonald. “If this didn’t work, we would have had to move back to Oregon.”
McDonald states that they moved here from Oregon because there were no jobs available to them. However, though there are jobs here, raising two children in their present conditions was out of the question.
“We can’t afford a lot of the housing here,” states McDonald. “My husband works in the oil field, but he doesn’t make oil field money.”
According to McDonald, not only did Buffalo Hills give her and her husband a chance to raise a family in a home, but they gave her the home she wanted. She plans to close on her new home in mid-October.
“My greatest joy is that we can help bring families together,” Vaughn states. “We are very fortunate that the company financing this project believes in the vision and fell in love with the Watford City area and this project.”
According to Vaughn, those who invested in Buffalo Hills could have raised the selling prices of the houses, especially since the houses have already started building equity and generally appraise for more than the selling prices.
“That wasn’t our goal, though,” states Vaughn.
Buffalo Hills has already purchased another 20 acres from Ed and Charlotte Schilke so they can build an additional 16 or more homes. By next summer, they hope to have the first 77 homes completed.
Buffalo Hills will have a public Grand Opening on Saturday, Oct. 6, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Buffalo Hills office located in the Buffalo Hills subdivision. For more information please contact Michele Vaughn at 701-580-7379.