Frank Del Angel started out with the aspiration to be an accountant.
Working his way through college at then-Pan American University, the Harlingen native discovered via a job at a downtown McAllen men’s clothing store that he a talent for another skill – sales. He would parlay that ability to join a major homebuilder. It would lay the foundation for future success.
Del Angel got a job with U.S. Homes and learned the business from the ground up. The company’s training in sales, construction and management would give him the range of experiences and knowledge he would need to someday start his own company. Before that dream became a reality, Del Angel would spend 16 years working for U.S. Homes in the Rio Grande Valley, with a focus on the Mid-Valley and Harlingen markets.
Selling on average 40 to 50 homes a year for U.S. Homes, he would learn all facets of what it takes to sell, build and complete the home-building process. In 1999, Del Angel began Homelink, a custom home building company that would focus on higher-end homes and more specialization versus the track home models of U.S. Homes and other larger scale builders.
“I had a vision of what I wanted to do,” Del Angel said. “Fear is what holds people back in going out on your own, but I knew I was ready, and part of the American dream is being your own boss.”
He began in the Treasure Hills area of Harlingen. His first Homelink home went up there and quickly sold. Del Angel’s second home was built across the street and was purchased by the new police chief of the city at the time. From that point forward, he never looked back.
Using Harlingen as a base, Del Angel’s Homelink would fan out across the Valley, with his customer base going from Weslaco to the Harlingen-San Benito area and to Brownsville. Homelink homes can be found from Tierra Santa in Weslaco to the Wildwood subdivisions along Stuart Place Road in Harlingen to The Woods along Alton Gloor Boulevard in Brownsville.
The price of Homelink homes starts in the low $200,000s to over $500,000, with square footage going from the 2,500 range to up to 10,000 square feet. All of Del Angel’s homes have the attention to detail and quality that’s expected in a high-end builder of homes. He said the key is having quality subcontractors in the various specialties of constructing a home.
“You’re only as good as the people you hire,” he said, pointing out that he has used the same foundation subcontractor for 18 years and the same painter of 14 years. “You have to know all of the good trades and have them committed to the quality customers expect.”
A test for Del Angel and all homebuilders came with the Great Recession in 2008-2010 when many in the business faltered and collapsed. Homelink kept a steady business through the tough times, he said, saying the formula he had built was “recession proof.’’
“The recession weeded out the mom-and-pop builders who were building homes on the side,” he said. “It’s a tough business and without the background in the field it’s difficult to survive when times get tough.”
With his wife, Haydee, as a partner in sales and home design, Del Angel’s business is robust as he continues to build higher-end homes in the neighborhoods along Stuart Place Road in Harlingen while continuing with projects from Weslaco-to-Brownsville.
“I might have started a little later in life with my own business, but when I did, I was able to work toward achieving the dream and vision I had,” he said. “I feel I’ve had a full life and I can die a happy man knowing I did what I loved.”