Mary and I went to Realtor's day at Homearama this week.  It was a beautiful Fall afternoon and the perfect way to see what some of the builders are offering the public in response to the current economic climate. 

This year's Homearama at Carmelle in Mason features 5 homes instead of the 10 from last year.  Additionally, the average $761,360 price is less than half of last year's $1.9 million.  But the square footage of 5,664 on average is much more than half of the 7,626 sq feet of 2008.

Consumers definitely are spending more time researching their home choices and analyzing the market than in previous years.  In making decisions, they are more careful to be sure that the value is substantiated and feel as though the slower market gives them that leisure.  It appears as though quality of construction and amenities available have trumped the need for more and more square footage. 

Common features seen in many of the homes offered are:

  • Green buildingis part of every offering this year.  Universally, builders and consumers alike are looking for energy efficiency savings.  Gene Kopaygorodsky, owner of K Homes, incorporated the maximum of insulation, a solar hot water heater and a hybrid heating and cooling system in his offering, the "Susanna."
  • Outdoor living space is paramount. The economy is forcing more people to spend additional time in their homes and entertain there more often. Every single one had an outdoor fireplace/firepit. Our favorite outdoor space was the large covered patio with a double-sided fireplace  at the Maison do la Grace built by High Point Custom Homes and Summit Custom Homebuilders. 
  • All homes shared some similar architectural elements. Stone, Stone and more Stone...interesting that all the homes used a lot of stone on the exteriors and tended to repeat it again inside or on the outdoor spaces.  Each home has a hip roof and, overall, the five homes create a Tudor feel to the street.  Our favorite exterior was the Nottoway by Fischer Homes...you just can't beat the look of the added lightening rod look-alikes on the roofline and we both loved the second floor terrace overlooking the front yard.
  • Lavish Landscaping with water features were seen in several of the homes.  Of particular interest is the work of Gayle Frazer with the help of Bob Meyer Landscape Service at the Fischer Home and Landscaping by Don Gilb at the Drees Homes offering.  Gayle designed a unique water feature just outside the walk out lower level that naturally connected the outside spaces.  My personal favorite was the Don Gilb offering because of the unique combination of perennials and shrubs for continuous bloom. Their water feature enhanced the entrance to the home.  Since Gayle designed my landscaping and Don Gilb executed it, I guess I was already predisposed to like them!
  • All of the homes provided open space for family living.  We particularly liked the Susanna by K Homes. Rather than the unused living room, they placed the kitchen in a combination hearth room on one side and great room on the other side.

Plan to attend the show.  It runs through September 27, Monday-Friday, 4 - 10PM and Saturday and Sunday Noon - 10 pm.  Save money by buying your tickets at Krogers.