"I knew in that moment — watching her laser-like focus on the goal, no distractions — that this would be a great partnership," he says.
But the feeling was mutual. Wang had witnessed Flores grow Aurora Custom Homes from nothing, and she saw something of herself in his hardworking, bootstrapping mindset.
"Justin has such a strong sense of purpose and principle, in life as well as in business," she says. "It’s a powerful mix. Who wouldn’t want to work with someone like that?"
Her own principles of technology-driven sales and next-level service found form in late 2020 with the launch of NextGen Real Estate. Wang’s brand-new brokerage breaks with the old ways to better serve the people of Houston. The same is true for Aurora Custom Homes, where an abundance-minded approach to building beautifully and pricing fairly takes the place of a more traditional “fat cat” mentality.
And so a partnership between these like-minded businesses was only a matter of time. This week, NextGen and Aurora Custom Homes announced their exclusive deal to build and sell a better standard of luxury living in the Houston area, starting with the newly-listed 410 Faust.
Lunch was one thing, but these two Houston-based entrepreneurs also share an enormous appetite for the hustle — a hustle that is clarified by their humble beginnings.
Flores grew up in a small town in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. He was raised by his grandmother, Aurora Guzman, who took custody of Flores after his parents divorced when he was six months old. A fieldworker and mother to 10 of her own children, Guzman’s grit and resolve are the reasons why he named his company after her: so that the spirit of this great matriarch may continue to guide him in the work he does today.
He still owns the 800-square-foot home he grew up in: a home that would fit eight times into the expansive residence he currently shares with his wife and four youngest children.
"I want my kids to grow up understanding where they have come from," Flores states. "To know that you can start with nothing and build something big."
"I know what it’s like to be homeless," reflects Wang on her own humble beginnings. "To depend on handouts and have no stability. I shared a room with my mom until I was fourteen."
The irony that she now sells dream homes for millions of dollars is not lost on her; in fact, Wang believes it is one of the reasons she connects with her clients on such a deep level.
"I understand the difference between a 'house' and a 'home,'" she says. Iit is the ultimate privilege to guide people toward a more secure and loving space, both physically and emotionally."
A generous helping
And "people" is the operative word at Aurora Custom Homes. "We are a company founded on the strength of its people," notes Flores. "Good people doing good work, who give their best day in and day out because they believe in our vision for the future: to build beautiful forever homes at a fair price."
Flores is quick to name his angel investor Tom Miller as one of the many "good people" who has helped to build his company from the ground up. With Flores’s 15 years in new construction sales and a steely conviction to strike out on his own after Harvey wiped out the neighborhood he was selling, Miller saw his potential — even when no bank was willing to take the risk.
Another key stakeholder to have helped Flores along the way includes his steadfast associate Havy Pham of Alpha Prime Construction, who has given her time and expertise freely over the years.
"These people are more than just partners in business at this point," Flores says. "They have stuck with me through thick and thin; they are my family."
You might ask why they would do that, but the answer is simple: because Flores is the kind of person you want to work with. Honorable, generous, and devoted to others, Flores is currently working all his industry connections to help resolve the winter storm plumbing issues of friends, clients, and even competitors.
"I have a hard time saying 'no' when somebody asks me for help," he admits.
But he also had a hard time saying "no" when Wang proposed an exclusive partnership for NextGen to sell his properties. Like Aurora Custom Homes, NextGen has made a name for itself as a people-powered brokerage with a strong sense of purpose.
"Your vibe attracts your tribe" is more than an aphorism for Wang, who believes that the energy you emit is intrinsic to the success you will achieve.
She has taken great care to construct a corporate culture of mutual support, collaborative work, and a deep-rooted enthusiasm for challenging the received wisdom of the real estate industry. This means that every transaction benefits from the expertise and online reach of the entire NextGen network.
"Man does not live by bread alone"
Known as the big-time builder with the even bigger heart, Flores aspires to a similar ethos: "My grandmother always said that rich or poor, you are who you are and you do right by other people, even if it costs you."
Deeply spiritual like his grandmother was, Flores sees no reason to deviate from this methodology — especially now that investors are lining up to work with him.
"We’re not just building homes," Flores explains. "We’re building futures. A place for a family to make memories. As a family man myself, I never forget that when I’m working. Of course I enjoy earning money for a job well done, but that isn’t the only reason I do what I do."
Whereas many builders would be onto the next project without looking back, Flores feels too invested. He attends every closing and sees his start-to-finish involvement as part of delivering great service along with a great product. Perhaps his background in sales is what keeps him connected to the humanity of his job.
Ultimately, his ambition isn’t recognition for the sake of it.
"What I want is to build something bigger than myself: I want to be able to provide for my family, and for other families," he says. "My goal is to look back one day and know that I have made a difference in Houston."
Wang voices a similar sentiment when it comes to building a success that can be shared: "I always knew I wanted to be successful, to work hard and make an impact in the here and now by achieving great things. But it is only now as a broker, a mentor, and a wealth-creator for others that I feel truly fulfilled. It is more about creating a lasting legacy, building a better today but leaving an even better tomorrow."
Feast your eyes on Faust
One look at the finish of 410 Faust and it is clear that these principles are built into the project. From aged oak floors to custom hardwood cabinetry, the overall feel is one of foreverness: premium materials that have been put together in a way that will last a lifetime. As such, Aurora Custom Homes is redefining the very notion of "builder grade."
Add to this solidity a strong sense of style — gold hardware, high-contrast marble, and a whole-house color palette of warm neutrals — and there’s nothing not to love. It is abundantly clear that this construction benefits from the holistic approach that Aurora Custom Homes is known for: award-winning architecture, thoughtful interior design, and a proven team of contractors that take pride in what they do.
With a floorplan that includes four bedrooms, an office, and a game room/flex space, this home is imbued with the family values that Flores keeps in mind with every project. Home to the renowned Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary, the Memorial Bend neighborhood also has a members-only swim club and is zoned to some of the best schools in Spring Branch ISD.
If you want to catch an in-person glimpse, be quick: Another Aurora Custom Home in the area recently went under contract before it was even built. Meanwhile, Flores and his team are trawling the market for prime lots where they can continue to meet the demand for their prestigious custom homes.
Has all this whetted your appetite for more? Something tells us that the best of this NextGen/Aurora Custom Homes collaboration is yet to come.
For a heads up on Aurora Custom Homes before they hit the market, contact Julia Wang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her office on 832-736-1673.