Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.
On May 4 and 5, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. each day, you have the opportunity to join the Northern Virginia Parade of Homes tour of the areas most popular builders and remodeling contractors.
Admission is free and they have a great interactive map of the homes on the route. They’re listed alphabetically or you can focus on a city. Below I’ve highlighted some questions to ask them if you’re thinking of building.
Make sure you click the “add to my tour” button when looking at builders. Some of the addresses listed are their offices and not the model home they’re using for the tour.
Some of the homes listed are actually for sale, some are not.
Questions to ask:
- If you like some of the features of the home and hate others — ask if the house was a custom build for someone (i.e. it’s someone else’s taste and not necessarily representative of what the builder normally does).
- Ask about lot acquisition. If you’re looking for a specific lot size, location/school zone, type of home (i.e. 3-car garage), talk to the builders about how they find lots, what they do if they get a call with one that might match your needs.
- Look for personality — building a home is a highly personal transaction, way more than buying/selling normally. You want to make sure you actually like the person you’ll be dealing with almost daily for a year.
- Ask all the questions you’ve heard rumors about (does a pool count a lot coverage? How about a deck?) These guys will know the answer.
- Do they have floor plans they’re able to reuse if you like a specific one (check their websites, most have full photos and floor plans for the home they’ve built previously)? Find out if they have architects they’d recommend if you want to do something truly custom.
Ask about financing options. They’ll happily give you the names of local banks they like working with and give you options.
- When you’re walking through these houses, really get a feel for the space. How does 5,000 sq. ft. feel? Compare that to 4,000 or 6,000. You’ll see so many models on the parade of homes, you should be able to get a good feel of what you need, don’t really care about, size/space, etc.
The homes are beautiful! Enjoy the tour!