Built to Give

In addition to serving as an invaluable marketing tool for local builders, last year’s Parade of Homes dream home raffle raised $1.7 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
030 3. Perspectives

IMAGE COURTESY HBAGNO PARADE OF HOMES

This year’s St. Jude Dream Home, located in Lakeview, has four bedrooms, spans 2,800 square feet and is valued around $700,000. Raffle tickets are available for $100 each.

 

Each summer, the Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans (HBAGNO) presents its annual Parade of Homes, showcasing some of the newest homes in the area and allowing New Orleans the chance to see the latest innovations and trends impacting real estate today for free.

For two weekends, May 30-31 and June 6-7, the event takes place from 1-5 p.m. with approximately 10 homes on display.

Randy Noel, the National Association of Home Builders 2019 immediate past chairman of the board and owner of Reve Inc., a custom home building firm in LaPlace that has built more than 1,000 custom homes in the Greater New Orleans area, anticipates this year’s Parade will be one of the biggest yet.

Noel, who serves as chairman for the event, has a lot of experience attending Parade of Homes events.

“I can remember as a small child — we’re talking the early ’60s — my father was a home- builder and the Home Builders Association would build houses on one street—10 to 15 houses—and then hold this event and everyone in New Orleans would go from house to house looking at them all,” he said. “Back then, they would put up a lot of speculative houses, meaning you would put it up and sell it. Nowadays, we do a lot of custom houses and build based on what a customer wants.”

Still, he notes, the best way to reach custom buyers is to build a house in the Parade of Homes so they can see a variety of options.

“In 1985, when I opened my business, that’s how we were able to get our first customers,” Noel said. “We’ve done well ever since.”

Last year, 29 home builders took part in the event and Noel is hoping to reach 30 for the first time in 2020.

“The market is really good right now, so I think we’ll be able to do that,” he said.

A FESTIVAL OF FEATURES

While the No. 1 reason home builders are interested in the event is to sell homes, Parade of Homes also serves as a showcase for the latest home products.

“For the citizens and home buyers, they get to see, feel and touch new homes and see new products,” Noel said. “Right now, we are doing a lot of Wi-Fi with appliances and alarms, and even the bathtubs are now hooked to Wi-Fi so you can control your house from your phone, even if you’re in Europe.”

Other popular innovations include energy- efficient solutions — including windows that block up to 70% of UV rays, efficient lighting and A/C systems — and the latest in home theaters and outdoor kitchens.

We’re working a lot on housing affordability in New Orleans, trying to make sure the council and mayor don’t do things that they think will make things affordable, but are actually doing the opposite. Randy Noel, NAHB’s 2019 immediate past chairman
of the board and owner of Reve Inc.

Building strong is also a priority.

“Since Katrina, the houses have been much better built to withstand storms, hurricanes and such,” Noel said. “As a result, home buyers are getting a decent discount on their homebuyers’ insurance.”

On the design side, homes feature the latest design trends, including natural materials such as reclaimed wood, stone, marble, concrete and granite.

 

THE HOME THAT GIVES BACK

As part of this year’s Parade of Homes, money will be raised for St. Jude Children’s Hospital through the sale of $100 raffle tickets where the prize is a four-bedroom, approximately 2,800-square-foot Lakeview home located at 6446 Pontchartrain Boulevard. Built by Hyman L. Bartolo Contractors, the home is valued at around $700,000. Last year’s St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway raised $1.7 million for the hospital.

 

A NEW APP

This year, attendees will be able to use their phone for more than just taking pictures of the homes: They’ll be able to download a free Parade of Homes app.

“You can download it for free and it gives you the features of the house and shows you photos and gives directions,” Noel said. “You can find price ranges, number of bedrooms… it makes it easier to look for the houses.”

 

1,000 STRONG

With more than 30 years of experience in the residential construction industry, Noel said he feels confident the builders in the Greater New Orleans area are building some of the best homes in the country.

“We put a lot more in our houses than they do in Texas, and we build them a lot stronger because of stricter codes,” he said.

The HBAGNO currently has around 1,000 members, half of which are builders, and the other half are vendors and workers who support the industry. Noel said the biggest issues for the industry currently include new codes and zoning laws, and the need for more affordable housing, licenses, insurance and workman’s comp.

“We’re working a lot on housing affordability in New Orleans, trying to make sure the council and mayor don’t do things that they think will make things affordable, but are actually doing the opposite,” he said.

Stressing that the organization is an effective voice for those in the industry, Noel stressed the importance and value of membership.

“When you join the HBAGNO, you also join the Louisiana Home Builders and the National Home Builders Association,” he said. “Anyone who is a member receives coverage to make sure that their business thrives. On top of that, you have education seminars, webinars, and the latest news from all three levels. That’s a benefit for home builders.”