For inspiration, design, and innovation, look no further than the Lakes Region Parade of Homes | Home Improvement

Whether looking to build a new home, an addition or switch up decor, the annual Lakes Region Parade of Homes is a great place to get ideas. The parade attracts an audience from people looking for remodel inspirations to buyers seeking to find the builder for their next project.

Following last year’s virtual-only tour, the Lakes Region Builders & Remodelers Association is pleased to be able to host the popular, three-day, self-guided home tour in person.

The tour is an opportunity to meet some of the area’s best builders, along with their product and service providers to learn how a home was designed, what materials and techniques were chosen and why, and what went into the construction. No matter where buyers are in the home search, the Parade of Homes is all about giving visitors the opportunity to explore new possibilities.

The Lakes Region Parade of Homes takes place annually every year over the Columbus Day Weekend. The 15th annual tour this year takes place Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Oct. 9-11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

This year’s homes are all new construction within the last two years. Some of the homes were ready last year but the builder waited to showcase them this year. Two of the homes were on the virtual tour last year and now available to tour in person. There are a variety of homes to see ranging from 1,800 to 8,000 square feet — something for everyone. There are four waterfront homes scattered in seven communities including Loudon, Hebron on Newfound Lake, Sandwich, Moultonborough on Lake Winnipesaukee, Meredith, Laconia and Gilford. The styles vary from Adirondack, classic log home, island retreat with modern conveniences, a hybrid modular home with custom features and a carriage house. Two of the projects are virtual-only entries, a feature that allows visitors to see them without leaving home. There is also the first-ever barndominium — a condo plus toy box featuring modern living quarters plus 4,500 square feet of garage space. There will be toys in the toy box on display. Touring the parade can be a multi-day adventure, or simply a visit to one or two homes.

When it comes to amenities, visitors will get a firsthand look at popular trends. The top kitchen and bath features that buyers crave include kitchen double sinks and pantries as “must have” items in the kitchen while a shower stall and tub are essential in the primary bathroom, according to NAHB’s recent study.

The What Home Buyers Really Want, 2021 Edition report goes on to say, among the kitchen features, more than four of every 10 buyers think the double sink is so essential they would be unlikely to buy a home without it, making this the highest essential share of all kitchen features listed. And while double sinks and pantries were the only two kitchen features rated as essential or desirable by at least 80 percent of buyers, four additional features are sought by more than 70 percent of buyers: table space for eating (78 percent), a central island (77 percent), drinking water filtration (76 percent), and Granite or other natural stone countertop (73 percent). Not far behind are three features rated as essential and desirable to more than two-thirds of all buyers: recessed lighting (69 percent), customized backsplash (69 percent), and pull-out shelves (68 percent).

The parade homes’ laundry rooms and exterior lighting are the two most wanted features in a home (both rated essential or desirable by 87 percent of buyers). The most wanted list also includes two exterior features, a patio and a front porch and three features related to energy efficiency, ENERGY STAR windows and appliances and energy efficient lighting; as well as a ceiling fan, hardwood flooring, and a full bath on the main level of the home. When the tour is over, visitors will have a wealth of information about the building industry.

The tour is a three-day event and costs $20 per person. One ticket is good all three days and visitors may visit homes as often as they wish. The proceeds help the Lakes Region Builder’s Workforce Development Initiative to support the next generation of building trade professionals. Tickets are available by visiting or at the first home. Visitors are encouraged to download the free app by searching “Lakes Region Parade of Homes.” The app gives visitors turn by turn directions, a photo gallery, an idea book to make notes, and store digital tickets for the event. Additionally, all ticket holders will have full online access to view builder videos, directions, voting for favorite home and 3D touring through March 2022.

It’s no secret that the pandemic has created challenges of all types in all industries, and the construction sector is no different. Supply chain delays and pricing fluctuations can mean that new construction and home improvement projects can also face delays. It’s an industry-wide impediment that all hope will soon dissipate. And while the builders and trade professionals are as skilled at navigating these hurdles, the economic reality is that this environment is likely to remain challenging for a bit longer.