Parade of Homes
All the hard work is over.
Now, it's time for the 36 builders involved in the 2015 Fall Parade of Homes to sit back and observe consumers' reactions to all the time and creativity that's been poured into their show homes.
"It's a lot of work without question, but it's worth it," said Rob Swan of Huntington Homes. "Building a show home, for us, it takes roughly 10 months from design (which may take two to three months) to completion. It's exciting for us because we get to incorporate new design ideas and features we think will excite people, and help them enjoy life more."
Spencer Curtis of Hilton Homes said the last week of the show home building process is the most stressful and busy.
"I'd have to say the week before the Parade is a bit of a pressure cooker. As builders, we tour our show homes -- we have six entered in the Fall Parade this year -- both before and after they're decorated. We also meet with our sales representatives to talk about different plans and sub-divisions -- and then we check homes again just in case we find some last-minute details that need to be addressed," he said.
While the builders tend to get all the credit for their innovative, feature-packed show homes, a team effort is required to produce the final product, said Jason Arlt of Arlt Homes. "So much goes into the creation of a show home," said Arlt. "For us, as a custom builder, it's a full-year cycle to realize most of our show homes. Everyone, from us, to the trades, to the interior designers puts in a lot of time across the board. Everyone plays an important part in creating the end product."
Those products figure to be better than ever for the 2015 Fall Parade of Homes, said Mike Moore, president of the Manitoba Home Builders Association (MHBA).
"This year there will be 130 new homes produced by 36 builders in 32 areas both inside and outside the city," said Moore. "More than ever, there's going to be a great mix of condominiums, single family detached homes and even townhomes, which seem to be making a comeback. There are new areas (such as Devonshire Village) to check out and new builders involved. The good news for prospective home buyers is there's truly something for everyone."
That increased selection bodes well for consumers, said Moore. "There's going to be more choice across the board, and most importantly, a high percentage of the homes are going to be very affordable. That's going to give first-time buyers a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor. They and other buyers are going to be able to find the style of home they want in the neighbourhood they want for a very affordable price."
Not only will homes be affordable, but they'll also feature creative, livable designs, he added.
"People are going to see design features they haven't seen before, or will see features that blow them away -- such as a certain type of island, or dual walk-in closets. Designs are also going to feature incredible flexibility with open rooms that allow you to play with a home's configuration more, as well. Even if people don't buy a home, they usually get ideas from homes that they can plug into their own home."
Hearth Homes' sales manager/designer Liam Milne said the stress associated with prepping for the Parade is well worth enduring. "Every Parade is the same, whether it's spring or fall," said Milne. "You build the home, then push right to the last minute to get it ready. Generally, we stage a home in a day, so in this case, I'll likely be up until five in the morning on Saturday to make sure our home (on Rose Lake Court in Bridgwater Trails) is ready."
Elation, not exhaustion, will be the feeling once the home is deemed ready for public display, said Milne.
"I won't be tired, I'll be excited. I'll be so pumped up about the home because I know people will be looking for a home they can fall in love with -- a place they'll call home for many years to come, and enjoy coming home to because they absolutely love our design. As builders, that's the thought that motivates us, and makes the whole process so exciting and so rewarding."
Many of you may think that new show homes are only open twice a year, during the Spring and Fall Parade of Homes. Although those two events certainly receive the greatest publicity and feature more than 100 new homes available for viewing at one time, the various new home builders of the Manitoba Home Builders' Association proudly feature and staff their show homes throughout the year.
We are currently at the midway point between the 2015 Spring Parade of Homes which ran in March and the 2015 Fall Parade of Homes which will be featured from September 12 to October 4. For those of you who require a new home fix between Parades, now is an ideal time.
Short sleeves and slip-ons in July and August promise to make your tour that much more pleasurable and this time of year gives you a chance to check out the air conditioning in the home. On most days, parking opportunities near the various show homes will be excellent.
The only question that remains is how do you know what is open and where to look? The Parade of Homes magazine produced by the Winnipeg Free Press is a staple for all Parade goers. Most people keep their magazine handy and check off the homes and neighbourhoods they visit. Assuming you haven't kept your magazine from last March, not to worry. You can still access all the available show homes on the Manitoba Home Builders Association web site at www.homebuilders.mb.ca. Although not all of the homes featured in the spring are still show homes, it will bring you back to the builders and subdivisions that you frequented back in March. From there, you have a variety of options.
You can download the map on page 57 of the magazine and visit the neighbourhoods that interest you, stopping in at the various show homes on display. On pages 58 - 92, all of the Spring Parade show homes are listed. Simply make note of those builders whose homes you are interested in, go to the MHBA web site and connect to the link that will take you directly to that builder's site. Many will have their show homes listed along with the times they are open. Even simpler, turn a couple of pages in today's paper and you will see a number of ads for show homes listed by MHBA builders.
No matter how you access them, the important thing to know is the various show homes are open for business and your viewing and visiting pleasure. Take your time, visit the styles and locations that catch your fancy, talk to the sales representative and enjoy the introduction to your next new home.
Mike Moore is president of the
Manitoba Home Builders' Association