This year brings a first for the annual Fall Tour of Homes.
"We're featuring three showcase homes as opposed to just one. Each builder submitted an impressive proposal, so we decided to admit them all as showcase homes," says Joseph Narkiewicz, executive vice president of the Tampa Bay Builders Association. "These showcase homes are in three different locations for different lifestyles, and each has unique and distinct features."
The showcase homes by Arthur Rutenberg Homes, Standard Pacific Homes and M/I Homes are among 54 homes in the tour, that will be open to the public through Nov. 16.
Narkiewicz says the tour lets buyers check out new products and home styles in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties.
Buyers are excited about the many incentives available, he says. Plus, the federal government is offering a $7,500 tax credit to new buyers to help stimulate sales, making this an excellent time to buy a new home, Narkiewicz says.
Prices this year are terrific, he adds, noting that, in some cases, you can buy a home today for the monthly payment you would have had in 2001.
Narkiewicz says the tour also is a popular event for those interested in redecorating.
"It offers a lot for most everybody and is a nice family outing. Children enjoy going and seeing children's rooms. They get ideas for themselves." Arthur Rutenberg's showcase home is the four-bedroom, three-bathroom Tradewinds VI in Rose Point at Connerton in Land O' Lakes.
Featuring a regal entryway, decorative niches and efficient use of space, the home seems larger than its 3,100 square feet, says Lori Garton,
president of Lyons Heritage Tampa LLC.
The living room's two-sided indoor/outdoor fireplace is a popular attraction, she adds.
Standard Pacific's Doral, a 1,700-square-foot villa, features a roomy kitchen and sunny breakfast area, says marketing director Jennifer Lugar. Arched entries, custom moldings, columns and art niches, provide interesting architectural details, she says. In the Villas of Cambray at Panther Trace in Riverview, the standard Doral has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
M/I Homes' Riviera III at Easton Park in New Tampa offers five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a bonus room and a three-car garage. Buyers can add a swimming pool, fountain and energy package to the 3,492-square-foot home.
"Easton Park offers residents abundant opportunity for relaxation as well as recreation," says Lisa Turbeville, vice president of sales and marketing for M/I Homes' Tampa division. "Hillsborough River State Park with canoeing and 54-acre Flatwoods Wilderness Park with an 11-mile trail are both nearby."
Tour guidebooks are available at participating models, the TBBA office, 2918 W. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 201, Tampa, and Sweetbay Supermarkets. Models are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. To learn more, call (813) 873-1000 or visit www.tampabayparadeofhomes.com.