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BUILDER'S GOAL IS BUYERS' `FREEDOM'

When David C. Clark set out to establish his home-construction company, he wanted a name that would signify what he was trying to accomplish.

His selection was Liberty Homes, which he says stands for freedom. Freedom from landlords, freedom from crowded apartments and freedom from worrying about rent increases.And, if you purchase a home from Clark, he says, it means freedom from worrying about how you'll be treated before and after the sale and freedom from worrying about the structural integrity of your new home.

To carry the freedom theme a little further, Clark has such names for his houses as Williamsburg, Lexington, Arlington and Wellington. He has 26 different models.

Clark currently is building homes in subdivisions called Georgetown, 6189 S. 4590 West, Kearns; Quail Run, 3910 S. 2315 West, West Valley City; Creekwood, 2236 W. 8220 South, West Jordan; and Cinnamon Tree, 4043 S. 4800 West, West Valley City. They feature combinations of stucco, brick and rock exteriors.

Clark, whose office is located in Suite A at 101 E. 7200 South, has divided his freedom-linked building business into three categories - Freedom, Congressional and Presidential - with prices ranging from $90,000 to $250,000. Although he stresses structural integrity in each, the Congressional and Presidential series have added features that increase the cost of the homes.

His Freedom homes are designed for first-time homebuyers and, starting at $90,000, will have between 900 and 1,350 square feet of living area, one or two bathrooms, two or three bedrooms in multilevel or rambler configurations. Some will have two-car garages.

Clark said he does little things in the Freedom Series to save people money without harming the quality of the home, like installing plain kitchen cabinets and fewer moldings. "Our intent is to provide a house that is affordable without compromising quality," Clark said.

The next step is the Congressional Series, aimed at the homebuyer ready to get out of the beginner house and into something with more space and more standard features. With 900 to 2,500 square feet, depending on the model, this series features oak cabinets, a dishwasher, oak railings, larger vinyl windows, upgraded doors and ceramic-tile window sills.

Liberty Homes' model home at 2236 W. 8220 South in the Creekwood community is an example of the company's Presidential series. This home features multicolored brick facing, asphalt shingles, rain gutters, a three-car garage, a column on the front porch, quoins on the corners of gray stucco that contrast with the white stucco, gray stucco trim around the windows and aluminum siding on the soffit and facia.

Inside, the model home has crown moldings, chair-rail moldings, upgraded light fixtures, upgraded plumbing and electrical fixtures and solid wood railings. The model has 2,316 square feet of living space, four bedrooms, formal living and dining rooms, 21/2 bathrooms, a main-floor family room and a laundry upstairs by the bedrooms.

The model home is located in a community where Clark has 20 home sites. He has completed four homes in this area, has five lots left and has the potential for obtaining more home sites in Creekwood.

A native of Weiser, Idaho, Clark attended the University of Idaho and graduated with a degree in marketing in 1969. He taught at West Jordan Middle School for a year and then spent two years on active duty with the U.S. Army after going through ROTC at the university.

He got into real estate in 1972 and worked for McDougal Realtors for 12 years, selling new homes in the Salt Lake Valley. Clark started a construction company with a partner in 1983 and then early in 1994 started Liberty Homes with an eye toward building high-quality entry-level houses and first move-up houses.

Dennis Willden is Clark's project manager. Willden is a native of Fillmore, but his family moved to Las Vegas when he was 3 years old. He grew up in Las Vegas and got into construction while attending high school.

He attended the University of Utah for two years and worked as a contractor and in middle management of a large corporation before joining Liberty Homes.

Clark and Willden are responsible for Liberty Homes being named by Better Homes and Gardens Magazine as one of "America's best home builders."

Both men believe homebuilding in the Salt Lake Valley will continue to prosper for several years and two of the "hot" items wanted by customers are "grand" master bathroom suites, main-floor laundry rooms and family rooms.

Clark said his goal is to compete in quality and price and offer a high degree of customer service before and after the sale. To accomplish this, he asks customers at closing to fill out a questionnaire to rate Liberty Homes in five different areas.

Clark said the questionnaires show customers are 96 percent satisfied by the time of the home closing. Part of the satisfaction is that customers are invited to visit their new house at any time, something that some contractors don't allow.