Dan O’Dwyer, the founder of O’Dwyer Homes, joins the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast as part of the Legends of Real Estate series. O’Dwyer chats with host Carol Morgan about his decades of experience in the home building industry, working through the Great Recession and his involvement in the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association (HBA).
Known as the kid in his childhood neighborhood that built the most excellent playhouses, O’Dwyer has always had a passion for construction. O’Dwyer was part of one of the country’s earliest building construction management programs at Michigan State University earning a degree in construction.
O’Dwyer said, “I remember carpenters working on my folk’s home when I was 12 years old and telling them, ‘I want to do what you do.’”
Meeting in the eighth grade and becoming college sweethearts, O’Dwyer’s wife Kathy serves as his right-hand and an essential part of the O’Dwyer Homes. Kathy is head of marketing and model homes at the home building company, taking on virtually any responsibility around the office.
O’Dwyer said, “It’s been marital bliss… Kathy’s been an integral part of the company since the beginning!”
After graduating in 1981, O’Dwyer was challenged by a recession at the start of his career. With a significant shortage in construction work in Michigan, O’Dwyer transferred to Cincinnati, then to Northern Virginia, and finally landed in Atlanta in 1987 – where he has resided ever since!
O’Dwyer describes home building and construction work in Atlanta during the late 1980s and early 1990s as a free-for-all. Working for UDC Homes from 1987 to 1991, O’Dwyer and the company team sold whatever they could build at the time.
O’Dwyer said, “Home building in Atlanta during the recession was like the wild west!”
Working in several areas in the construction industry, the legend is a jack of all trades! O’Dwyer has experience in remodeling, carpentry, framing, sales, building and production.
O’Dwyer witnessed many homes come to life during the late 1980s in Atlanta. The most popular plan during this time was the traditional, two-story home boasting brick, siding and stucco exteriors. The home builder worked around metro Atlanta, including subdivisions in Kennesaw, Stone Mountain and North Fulton.
O’Dwyer said, “We were selling 2,500 to 3,000 square foot homes for $200,000 to $300,000…that was a screaming deal!”
After working with many top builders and finding himself out of a job towards the end of the Great Recession, O’Dwyer started O’Dwyer Homes in 1992 with a little money and financing for three homes. Within the first year, the company completed 23 homes.
From the 1990s to the early 2000s, home builders were selling homes at an incredible pace! Working with Wade Johnson on several O’Dwyer Homes communities, O’Dwyer and his team rapidly sold subdivision after subdivision – selling over 200 houses annually.
O’Dwyer said, “Building in the 1990s and early 2000s was crazy but a lot of fun… I’ve made lots of good friendships and wonderful contacts over the years.”
O’Dwyer mentions his gratitude for the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association (GAHBA) and how much the organization has impacted his life and career. From educational benefits to networking to leadership opportunities, the GAHBA is a wonderful tool for homebuilding and real estate workers to grow personally and professionally. O’Dwyer serves as a life director on the HBA board and encourages his employees to attend meetings and events.
O’Dwyer said, “Our philosophy as a company is to always try to give back.”
The legend of real estate is also a two-term president of HomeAid Atlanta, the designated charity of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association. Building shelters and resource centers for homeless women, children and veterans, HomeAid Atlanta is a great initiative to give back to the community.
O’Dwyer said, “HomeAid Atlanta is a great organization to be a part of.”
The Great Recession was one of the most challenging times for the real estate industry. O’Dwyer took pride in maintaining valuable relationships and upholding the integrity of his company during such a difficult period. With the experience of running a home building business during the recession, O’Dwyer confidently handled the unprecedented times of the global pandemic and remains successful in today’s outstanding inflation.
O’Dwyer advises young professionals interested in the construction and home building industry to gain exposure within the field through internships and part-time positions. Encouraging individuals to build a strong portfolio, the founder of O’Dwyer Homes recommends gaining experience in different areas of the industry, including marketing, carpentry, production, building and more!
O’Dwyer said, “There are tremendous opportunities out there for individuals who present themselves well and get as much experience as they possibly can.”
With his wife, son, daughter and son-in-law involved in the company, O’Dwyer’s most outstanding achievement throughout his decades of experience within the industry is the legacy he has built within O’Dwyer Homes. Following in his father’s footsteps, O’Dwyer’s son is now part of the construction team, while O’Dwyer’s son-in-law plays a role in land and acquisitions for the company. O’Dwyer’s daughter is the newest addition to O’Dwyer Homes and works alongside her mother, Kathy, assisting with marketing responsibilities.
O’Dwyer said, “We’ve worked very hard to deliver good products, build quality homes, have happy customers and uphold a great reputation.”
Today, O’Dwyer Homes is working on three product lines – active-adult ranches, townhouses and single-family homes. Located in Cherokee County, the home builder currently has two active-adult communities under construction, with more to come. O’Dwyer Homes also has townhomes available in Dekalb, Gwinnett and Cobb Counties and single-family homes in Forsyth, Fulton and Cobb Counties.
O’Dwyer said, “We always want to be the builder that provides homes with good value.”
For more information on upcoming communities, behind-the-scenes footage, homesite features, and more follow O’Dwyer Homes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest at @ODwyerHomes.
Tune into the full interview above to learn more about O’Dwyer Homes, or visit www.ODwyerHomes.com.
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