Bubil: The models don't fail to impress


This is one of my favorite work weeks of the year — Parade of Homes week. It’s when I drive around the area to photograph model homes that are entered in the annual Parade of Homes put on by the local association of home builders. It began Saturday.




This is not hazardous duty. Yes, there is the possibility of stepping on an errant nail somewhere, or developing a case of new-home jealousy. But I am amazed at the progression of new-home design from year to year. Builders just seem to understand what appeals to buyers.

And I am not in the market.

This goes beyond bricks and sticks, though. Furnishings and decor can make or break a model home. And the decorators are having a very good year, using new colors and objects in such a way that they entice the visitor while not distracting him.

This might be the biggest difference in a model home that is for sale and a resale that has just come on the market.

Furnishings in a model are neutral. They reflect trends, but they tend not to stop a potential buyer in his tracks. They show possibilities.

In a resale house, however, personal furnishings and objects can get in the way. It can be better to show an empty house than one with bad furniture.

“On a resale, neutralize the home,” said builder Drew Smith, president of the Building Industry Association. “Hide away any personal objects that would distract buyers or keep the buyers from imagining what their furnishings would look like in the home. Keep a resale home as sterile as possible in regard to personal touches.

“But you do see, even in the models, photographs, but they will use magazine pictures. They are very non-descriptive and there are different people in each room, so you realize they are space fillers and not someone’s personal memories.”

Smith is one of 300 members of the two-county BIA. That number is notable in itself when you realize that during the 2005 boom year, the two local building associations had 1,000 members between them.

“We are working hard to bring our membership back,” said Alan Anderson, executive vice-president of the BIA, formerly known as the Home Builders Association. “We have to work on some of our builders to get the people who work for them involved.”

The BIA is 35 percent general contractors and 65 percent associate members, such as tradespeople, mortgage brokers, real estate agents and insurance brokers. “Anyone who has goods and services to provide to the building of a home,” said Anderson.

Alleviating the labor shortage is a BIA priority.

“This is the only product left that you have to build on-site; it is hand-made,” said Anderson. “It is a long process, and we are helping our members with the labor shortages that we have.

“We are tracking well. Building permits are at or above where they were last year at this time. Sarasota’s permits have increased significantly.”


Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: February 22, 2014
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