by Lisa Peck
A home tour can be a fun, inspiring experience or it can be overwhelming. Here are some tips, some obvious, to help make your tour experience worthwhile.
Plan you route
Go to the tour websites before you start out to plan a route. After starting the AIA tour last year, I realized that Tim Alt's RAVE award-winning home was on the tour and ended up driving back across town in order to see the home (it was well worth the trip). Pre-planning would have saved time and gas.
The Parade of Homes website has a tour planning tool for your use. If you are a fan of a particular style of home or a particular builder or neighborhood this will help you find homes that you are interested in.
The perfect date
Bring someone on the tour with you who shares your enthusiasm for design. This can be your spouse, a friend or a co-worker. Don't bother to bring someone who would rather be at the ball park or biking.
Turn the tour into an event by planning to stop at a restaurant for lunch in between homes or plan a fall picnic in a park near one of the homes to get a real feel for the neighborhood.
Think about what you would like to know about the home you are visiting...from why the home was sited the way it was to the energy efficient features of the home. The people staffing the homes would like to talk with you about your questions and any projects you are considering, whether they are in the near or far future.
As you tour, ask yourself questions...what about a particular home strikes a chord in you...if more than one home appeals to you what do the homes have in common. Standing back and thinking while you tour a home can be a fruitful exercise.