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Spring Homearama achieves goals

For the first time in its 29-year legacy of home shows, the Tidewater Builders Association brought Homearama to Carrollton and held the event during the spring season.

Now that the event is over, builders, developers, decorators and patrons have cast their ballot.

With more than 30,000 patrons, 150 vendors and business opportunities for those involved, all reports suggest the event, held May 8-23 at Founder’s Pointe in Isle of Wight, was a success.

“I think it was a big success,” said Mark Edwards, senior vice-president and broker of East West Realty, the Founder’s Pointe developer.

“We accomplished exactly what we were hoping to — to create awareness of our community and introduce our part of Hampton Roads to the rest of the area. The purpose isn’t to sell all the houses, but we sold several — that was a plus.”

While past Homearamas have been known for their expansive crowds and homes with price tags soaring into the multi-millions, the 2010 Homearama was scaled to the size of the economy. Featured were eight homes in Founder’s Pointe with prices beginning in the $500,000s.

“Overall, everyone was pleased with the numbers,” said Bill Halprin, TBA President. “The group of people that came out this year had serious interest in the homes and were looking to do things in their own homes.”

An advantage of the size and pace of the event was the ability to do better business with those interested.

“The homes and ideas in this year’s Homearama were a lot more achievable than past Homearamas,” Edwards said. “And because you weren’t flooded with so many people coming through the homes like a train, people were able to stop and talk to the people involved with Homearama and get the information they needed.”

Of the eight homes, the River Retreat, Nature Watch, Affordable Elegance, the Armistead and the Meadow Glen were sold; contractual interest was expressed in two others and builders also sold contracts to build homes at other locations.

Edwards said he helped people who will be building homes in Suffolk, the Outer Banks, York County and Williamsburg.

Vendors and designers also were pleased with the event.

“Homearama was great, fantastic, stupendous and so much more,” said Alison Dodson, owner of A. Dodson’s, which decorated the Smithfield house. “We handed out about 4,000 business cards and had a huge boost at the store due to Homearama.”

Visitors during the weekend were from all age groups.

“We had a lot of multi-generational families coming through to tour the homes,” said Eric Sasser of Sasser Construction, which built the Charity House. “I can’t say I’ve seen that trend so prominent in previous years. It typically has been moms with grown children, but now we see families with their aging parents looking at homes together. I think the family unit is changing a lot.”

Founder’s Pointe’s central location attracted people from all over the area.

“We came from Yorktown,” said Roger Smith, a patron. “I’m a Realtor and came for Realtor’s Day and had to bring my wife back to see the houses.”

“I’ve been to other home shows, but this was very well done,” Margie Smith said. “The décor is tasteful, these are beautiful surroundings, the prices are reasonable, the floor plans are all well done and every builder offered something a little different. I’d come back if it was this close next time.”

The couple’s favorite home was the Charity House by Sasser Construction, which also won the People’s Choice Award.

“It was the nicest home I’ve seen from any of the Parade of Homes I’ve been to,” Margie Smith said. “I loved the hidden kitty-litter box. It’s a great use of space. We put ours in our bathroom. He just thought of all the little things.”

Throughout the event, Edwards said he continued to hear positive comments from people regarding the quality of the homes and attention to detail.

“We didn’t really know what to expect,” Edwards said. “We’re coming out of tough times and a tough real estate market, but the people who showed up were eager to explore the homes and discover what is out there. We thought the crowd would drop off, but it stayed consistent the whole time.”