September 24 marks the kickoff of the 69th Annual Fall Parade of Homes, which runs through Oct. 9. Presented by the Home Builder’s Association of Greater Kansas City (HBA), this year’s Parade is sponsored by Stewart Title and features 318 new homes constructed by 96 Kansas City area metropolitan area homebuilders.
New home communities featured on the Parade straddle both sides of the state line, encompassing single-family homes, maintenance-provided communities, townhomes and villas in five counties. Prices range from $182,500 to $1.6 million. In each, participants can view the latest in interior and exterior design, construction, craftsmanship, state-of-the-art building processes, technology, specialty products and more.
For first-time or repeat buyers interested in a custom-built home, there is a wealth of resources available to help guide decision making. When looking for a builder, reputation and longevity are of the utmost importance.
“Most folks buying a home plan on being there for a while, so you want to make sure the builder has a history and has been building for a number of years,” said James La Voy, co-owner with Rick Forner of Forner – La Voy Builders, Inc. (fornerlavoy.com). “Confirm that the builder has built multiple houses of the same caliber in quality, price, etc., and request references for customers who have been in their homes 5 or 10 years and contact them to see how the house has held up, how the builder has treated them, etc.”
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A builder’s attention to detail is another important aspect to consider. La Voy and his partner Rick are “hands-on” for all jobs, keeping a close eye on items like lumber specifications and framing standards.
“We specify engineered lumber where appropriate and require framers to follow our prescription for advanced framing, which prevents flooring materials from separating due to floor deflection, minimizes or eliminates nail pops and cracks in your drywall, and eliminates the chance for interior doors to stick or to become ‘self-opening/closing’ over time,” La Voy said.
La Voy advises buyers to not solely rely on “cost per square foot” to measure a home’s overall cost, as it varies greatly depending on the floor plan and which footage is actually finished. For example, basement square footage is inexpensive relative to main-floor footage, so a house that includes a basement finish will have a much lower cost per square foot than the exact same house without the basement finished.
“It also varies by the homeowner’s choice of finishes (appliances, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, tile, etc.) which can add anywhere from another $50 per square foot to $350 per square foot or more, depending on those choices,” La Voy added.
Homebuyers can get a feel for the homes La Voy Builders builds at Parade Entry #253, the model home in the Loch Lloyd community in south Kansas City.
“They don't build them like they used to” is a phrase that just doesn't apply to housing anymore, according to Greg Prieb II, President of Prieb Homes (PriebHomes.com). In fact, he says, newer is actually better.
“The quality of materials available for new home construction has improved dramatically over the past 5 to 10 years,” Prieb said, explaining that items such as smart siding, granite counter tops, tar tape window tape, soft-close cabinet doors and drawers are much higher quality and construction than in the past.
Prieb Homes is featuring several homes along the Johnson County K-7 Highway Corridor on the Parade, including Parade Entries #56, 57, 83 and 84, as well as several homes in Olathe.
When exploring financing options, Prieb advises buyers to take their time, have an open mind, and shop around.
“Out-of-town lenders can be more difficult to deal with, as well as ones found on the internet that promise rock bottom rates,” Prieb said. “Having a good lender that communicates and is experienced and established can make for a much smoother and less stressful transaction.”
2016 Fall Parade of Homes
- When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 24 through Oct. 9. Admission is free.
- Where: 318 homes throughout the metro. Free Parade Guides listing addresses and information for every home on the Parade are available at the HBA office at 600 E. 103rd St., near Interstate 435 and Holmes Road, and at all Parade homes.
- Home prices: Range from $182,500 to $1.6 million.
- More Information: Event information and a digital Parade of Homes Guide can be found at KCParadeofHomes.com using an online Home Search tool for locating homes by builder, price, location, school district or amenities, plus a Mobile Search and Maps tool for searching from your smart phone or tablet.