June 6, 2023

Planning Your Parade of Homes Tour

How to Plan, Plus Helpful Dos and Don’ts

by Vanessa Schaumann

Touring a fully custom home – designed, built and furnished from chimney cap to recessed basement theater with a specific homeowner’s needs – is an adventure and an inspiration.  And the state of Utah has some of the nation’s most highly respected and attended Parades.  Industry peers and curious homeowners travel from across the country or just down the street to explore the offerings of Utah’s flourishing custom home industry.

If you are considering attending, read on for our tips and tricks for your Parade of Homes tour.

Prioritize: Few attendees have the unlimited time and energy it takes to attend every home.  You may have a favorite builder that you visit every Parade season, or you may desire to see the largest and most visually stunning homes.  If you are considering a build or remodel in a more modest price range, you may want to begin by familiarizing yourself with the interior design teams participating in the Parade and seek inspiration from a design-build team with experience creating beautiful design on a budget.

Once you know which homes are the most relevant to you, decide the best time to visit.  Being among the first in the door each morning is always a good plan.  Afternoons and weekdays tend to be quieter than evenings and weekends.  

Talk to the Team: In the kitchen of most homes you will find the builder and often the designer present.  If you liked the home before, you will come to love it by learning its story.  Most Parade homes have a specific buyer attached.  Knowing the buyer’s story makes the home come alive with character.  You can also ask for sourcing information for any finishes you particularly loved.  The designer is usually happy to share.  And finally, if you have an upcoming project, the Parade is a great chance to introduce yourself to various design-build teams and possibly find a good fit for your project.

Notice the Details: A high-quality builder doesn’t take short cuts.  Watch for the finished details such as carpentry joints that meet crisply and perfectly, carpet installation that hides seams, and tiles that are laid evenly and consistently with equal grout lines.  The interior design should provide variety and interest in every room while maintaining a consistent overall style.  Watch for repetition and variation, meaning that a common theme can be found, but that it modulates and develops in different ways, depending on the purpose and function of the space.  

DO: Take advantage of the double admission policy – come back to refresh your memory  

DON’T: Open Doors to restricted areas, appliances, etc. – remember that this house belongs to someone and act as if you are their guest  

DO: Ask the builder and designer all your questions – they love to talk about their work

DON’T: Loudly criticize while in the house – the builder, designer and sometimes even the homeowner are present.  Wait until you are outside.

DO: Appreciate the architecture – a beautiful house starts with great plans.  

DON’T: Move against the flow of traffic.  You won’t make friends, but you might miss some rooms and spaces.

DO: Take advantage of the virtual ticket, especially if you don’t have time to visit every house.

DON’T: Wear heels.  Even through booties, heels can damage wood floors.  The builder will most likely ask you to remove them, even if wearing booties.

DO: Accept business cards and brochures.  You may appreciate the contacts for the builder, designer and trades later.

DON’T: Harass the ticket-takers.  Even if you disagree with whatever shoe policy the homeowner has requested, the kids taking tickets can’t change policy.

DO: Take loads of pictures.  Post online, but remember to tag the builder, designer and applicable trades.

DON’T: Ask for identifying personal information about the homeowners.  General information adds context and is great to share!

by Vanessa Schaumann
June 6, 2023

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