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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Apr. 19, 201805:12 PM EST

There’s something for everyone in this parade

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Lookers, homebuyers and Realtors all can find value in NEFBA’s Parade of Homes.
by: Andrew Warfield Staff Writer

This year’s Northeast Florida Builders Association Parade of Homes will offer new home browsers an opportunity to dream a little.

Four builders placed entries into the new for 2018 “Dream Homes” category, homes valued at $1 million or more.

Fox Signature Homes, Arthur Rutenberg Homes, Dostie Homes and The Pineapple Corporation will each showcase a high-end home in the Parade.

In all, there are 90 entries by 28 local, regional and national homebuilders in this year’s Parade of Homes, set for April 14-29.

The Parade of Homes is an annual opportunity for homebuilders to showcase their products to a wider audience and, even though many visitors aren’t necessarily in the market for a new home at the time, they soon might be. And the brand awareness builders can generate can pay dividends later.

And sometimes, they even change the minds of reticent browsers.

Realtor Judy Hicks of RE/MAX Coastal Real Estate, a charter member of NEFBA’s Sales and Marketing Council, calls the parade of homes an effective marketing opportunity not just for builders, but for Realtors as well. She said it provides a more convenient way for agents who often represent new construction buyers to become more familiar with the products available.

“It’s a great way for a Realtor and a consumer to go and see several models in a short amount of time,” said Hicks, who has volunteered to be a driver for out-of-town Parade of Homes judges. 

“One downside for the site agent is that they know the consumer knows the builders really deck out these homes, so anybody thinking about remodeling and color trends knows that and they are just out there looking,” Hicks said.

“But, when you are a consumer and you get out there and you see what’s new, you want it, and sometimes you can’t get it cost-effectively unless you build.  This allows the builder to plant that seed for people to come back later and visit,” she said.

The SMC’s mission is to foster deeper relationships between builders, site agents and Realtors to drive new home sales. The Parade, she said, dovetails with that mission.

“I look forward to the Parade,” Hicks said. “I let my clients know it’s coming up and do a lot of networking with site agents. It’s a great tool for me to use to see where the new neighborhoods are and the pricing, because everything changes and it’s not always easy to keep up with that.”

The longer schedule and extended hours from noon to 6 p.m.  offers flexibility for agents to plan with their clients and new home shoppers additional time to tour.

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