For developer N. Harris Malik of Sunrise Custom Homes, building a custom home is more than just allowing the homebuyer to choose from an array of wallpapers, light fixtures and plumbing to doll up a pre-existing structure. It involves fostering a relationship with a client and designing a home from the ground up to their specifications. Having gotten his start in the industry as a real estate broker in the early ‘90s, Malik moved from Dallas to the Houston area in 2007, but didn’t face a welcoming market. “When we first came here, it was a very tough time for everyone at the onset of the recession,” Malik said. “What kept our business out of trouble was the concept of building from scratch.” While other developers were facing financial hardship due to the inability to sell existing houses, Sunrise was able to avoid unnecessary turmoil through patience. “We bought a few lots in subdivisions and simply sat on them until we had a client to build a home for,” Malik said. “Lots of builders filed for bankruptcy during this time, because they had too much inventory, too many empty houses. Due to our business model, we weren’t stuck with excess inventory or the ongoing costs associated with maintaining a home on the market.” When the time came to finally begin building homes for clients on existing lots, Malik faced the all too common setback of being unable to finance a loan through his bank to fund the initial construction. Needing extra capital in order to move forward, Malik took on a few commercial development jobs, including renovating the storefronts of gas stations. However, even with this additional income, Malik was still a little short of his goal to begin construction. Something drastic had to be done. “In 2010, I decided to sell my own house in order to get the equity to build homes,” Malik said. “Of course, I discussed this with my family, and we decided we needed to do whatever had to be done to move forward.” While Malik’s house was still on the market, a friend, Brad Bouillion, senior vice president at Independence Bank, came by for a visit. “One day, my good friend Brad Bouillion, came to my home and noticed the ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard,” Malik said. “He asked me why I was selling my house, and I told him the reason, and he immediately tried to help. He looked at our financials and credit history and decided to give us a loan to begin building homes.” Having already built homes in the Champion Wood Estates subdivision in Spring, Malik is eyeing the Kingwood area to expand his vision. He credits municipal organizations for aiding him along the way. One of the main selling points of a Sunrise Custom Home is the unique combination of sustainability and energy conservation with cutting-edge design and new technology. “Of course appearance matters, but so does energy efficiency,” said Malik. “The average electric bill for one of our 8,400-square-foot homes is $325 a month.” Despite a tumultuous start, for N. Harris Malik and Sunrise Custom Homes, the future is looking bright as he prepares to share his craft with the Lake Houston area. “Without community support and help, we couldn’t have done this,” Malik said. “I am very thankful to God, my family and the entire community for helping us get through this adventure. I truly am blessed all around.”