>> EACH SPRING AND FALL, the Parade of Homes gives Manitoba’s builders a chance to strut their stuff on a big stage. It’s a showcase to give potential buyers a sample of some of their best work.
This fall, there’s been a slight delay. Builders chose to put new show homes on the back burner and push the Fall Parade back by one month, from September to October, so they could put their customers first.
"The main reason was because the pandemic has created a lot of delays in production," says Jason Jaquet, vice-president of Randall Homes and Avanti Custom Homes. "A lot of builders wanted to get the homes done for the customers and as a result we pushed back the Parade so we could focus on customers’ homes."
A LOT OF BUILDERS WANTED TO GET THE HOMES DONE FOR THE CUSTOMERS AND AS A RESULT WE PUSHED BACK THE PARADE SO WE COULD FOCUS ON CUSTOMERS' HOMES.
The good news? There's still a great selection of fabulous new show homes on display, and it seems they’re everywhere you want to be — in Brandon and St. Adolphe, Stonewall and La Salle, every corner of Winnipeg and in doorstep communities. And as with the past three Parades, COVID-19 protocols will be in place to provide a safe environment for guests.
"We don’t know what’s going to happen having the Parade a month later, but the association and the builders who are participating in the Parade have gone through the pandemic," says Jaquet, who serves on the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association (MHBA) board of directors, and is chair of the Parade of Homes committee.
"We know what we need to do to make it safe and still have everything opened up."
MHBA president and CEO Lanny McInnes says the success of recent Parades demonstrates the public’s trust in member builders. And he says there’s a silver lining of sorts. Since the number of people allowed in a show home at one time is limited, builders have made adjustments, some of which work so well, they may become permanent Parade fixtures. For example, some show homes have staging areas with brochures and displays set up in garages to give guests a preview of what’s inside.
More than 30 builders are participating in the Parade and each one is unique. Jaquet says there’s signage at Randall and Avanti show homes to explain procedures — some of which will continue after the pandemic ends.
Or there might be two sales representatives on the site, so visitors can ask questions before or after touring a home. More than 30 builders are participating in the Parade and each one is unique. Jaquet says there’s signage at Randall and Avanti show homes to explain procedures — some of which will continue after the pandemic ends.
Show homes are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected each week, and after clients take possession of a new Randall or Avanti home and complete their orientation, the house is sanitized from top to bottom.
"We lock the door and it’s starting from ground zero for the customer. The cleanliness and sanitizing have been brought up to a different level, so now it’s becoming the norm in our show homes. It’s all these little things that have a cost related to them, however we see the benefit to our customers of it and we think it’s important to still do."
Randall Homes’ headquarters gets the same treatment so clients feel comfortable when they come by.
Business has been steady, as demand for single-family homes has grown during the pandemic. Builders across the board have contended with pandemic-related material shortages, supply-chain holdups and safety issues that all add time to construction schedules. But they still aim to please with brand-new designs that cater to homeowners’ evolving needs.
"We’re finding that people want certain things in their new homes. A lot of them are looking for that main-floor bedroom, just in case they have people coming and staying with them for extended periods of time."
Buyers also want a flex room that can be used as a home office, a lounge area or an extra bedroom. And beautiful spaces that are also functional never go out of style.
Jaquet notes that a unique Avanti show home at 14 Stone Hearth Lane in Oak Bluff West ticks all the boxes, and a few more, with a covered outdoor living space accessible off the private owner’s suite and the over-sized dining area.
Bigger mudroom, separate laundry room, a half bathroom on the main floor with a full bathroom for the kids’ bedrooms."During the Parade of Homes, there are more must-see show homes than you can shake a stick at, and hours are extended to accommodate more visitors. However, you can make an appointment to tour a show home outside of Parade hours, and remember, show homes are open year-round.