Whether you fantasize about a sleek condominium or a sprawling mansion, the Home Builders Association of Greater Cleveland wants to bring you face-to-face with your dream.
Three HBA events this summer and fall are designed to do just that. Individually, each event provides a look at one piece of the market available to new-home buyers. Collectively, they provide a comprehensive look at new-home construction in Northeast Ohio today.
The first event, CondoQuest, focuses on new condominiums and cluster homes. Then, Homearama showcases eight new luxury homes, each worth upward of $1 million. The third and final event, the Parade of Homes, features single-family houses in new developments from Avon Lake to Twinsburg.
At all three events, you can linger over new styles and products without the commitment or pressure of a one-on-one tour.
"You may not be ready to build, but these events give you an idea of what's out there and what works for you," says Greg Romes, president of Lake Pointe Construction and president of the HBA. "You can go in, look around and see what you like. The biggest traffic we get are people out looking for ideas. And if a home is done right and feels so good, it may give you the nudge you need to go for it today rather than wait six months."
This is the HBA's eighth consecutive year of sponsoring CondoQuest, a scattered site showcase for condominiums and cluster homes, according to HBA events manager Kathy Caffrey. This year, the HBA expects as many as 50 different sites. CondoQuest runs from June 9 to 24, with participating sites open for visits from 1 to 6 p.m. every day except Friday.
Checking out the event is easy. Pick up the June issue of Cleveland Magazine for a list of participating sites and builders. All you have to do is select the sites that interest you and show up for the tour. You'll be treated to a comprehensive look at one of the hottest and most rapidly evolving new-home styles on the market today.
"We've had huge success with CondoQuest in the past," Romes says. "I think a lot of people now wait for the event to come out and look at condos, just so they can take advantage of some the deals going on."
CondoQuest is sponsored by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which puts a company representative at each featured site. Guests can be preapproved for a condo purchase on site or simply pick up preliminary information, says Wells Fargo builder sales manager Diane Schmidt.
"We can run the numbers right there, but more often we talk to people who want to see what's available and then make an appointment to meet later," Schmidt says. "We can tell you at any given site what your monthly payment would be, and that's important. Some people are surprised on the high side and some on the low side. ... If they take the time to ask questions, they don't have to leave without knowing what their range is."
Click to CondoQuest for more information.
Of the three HBA events, Homearama tends to attract the most gawkers. That doesn't surprise Jeffrey Halpern, president of Kingdom Development and this year's Homearama chairman.
"It's a 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous' kind of thing," he explains. "People want to see how that other, small percentage lives."
The HBA's Romes agrees.
"Not many people are in the million-dollar-home market," he says. "But Homearama gives people ideas on design for their home as well. It's one of the greatest spectacles in Cleveland."
This year's Fifth Third Bank Homearama, held Sept. 8 through 23, features eight new homes from eight premier builders, all in the golf-course community Signature of Solon.
The homes are sizable, from 4,600 to 7,000 square feet, and upscale, at well over $1 million each. Every one features a different architectural design, with arty, modern approaches holding their own next to traditional, Western Reserve formality.
For an $8 admission fee, curiosity seekers can tour the eight mansions and stare all they want. This year's theme is "Take the Dream Tour."
"It heightens interest in what's new in technology and design," Caffrey says. "People tour these homes to get ideas and take them to their own homes. You really see a wide variety of styles."
The HBA brought Homearama back last year after a five-year absence, drawing in approximately 25,000 visitors, Caffrey estimates.
"We're trying to expand on what we did last year," says Halpern, whose company is building one of the eight luxury homes. "We're taking it to the next level."
Parade of Homes
The open houses for Parade of Homes are on scattered sites with no admission fee. You can check out builders in which you're interested and ignore others. You can stay in your neighborhood or venture to the other side of town.
"It gives a broad range of homes for buyers to choose from," notes Tony Hocevar, president of Casablanca Builders and chairman of this year's event. "It's more affordable homes for real people, as opposed to the elite homes of Homearama." Scheduled for Oct. 6 through 21, the HBA plans to offer up to 40 sites in a wide area. Hocevar expects to include as many as 30 builders in a territory stretching from Medina County to Lake County, as well as sites in Geauga and Summit counties. "Ultimately, our goal is to show a broad range of what's available," he explains. "If we can do that, and attract the new-home buyers to check us out, we've done our job."
Of the three events, Parade of Homes has the most diversity, Romes says. "There's a very wide range of samplings," he notes. "It's not just the million-dollar-plus buyers. Some builders also offer special deals just for this event." Like CondoQuest, Parade of Homes will also feature on-site financing experts for customers interested in determining their price range.
"Fall is the time of year when people are drawing up plans for a new home," Caffrey says. "Here, you can look at new models and new products, as well as get your questions answered by professionals."
For a map of participating sites, check out Cleveland Magazine, The Plain Dealer or your local Sun newspaper.
From CondoQuest to Parade of Homes, the HBA believes that 2001 could be its most successful year yet.
"There are so many builders and so many locations," Romes says. "All the events are put on for the public. We give a lot of information, and we want people to come by and get it."