SWMBIA's 'Parade of Homes' continues this Friday through Sunday and there are a few killer tips I'd like to share so you can get the most out of your home touring this year.

I've been attending the SWMBIA Parade of Homes for more years than I can count. We here at the radio station have always been a part of it and actually DONE the full tour of homes. And before I worked here, I worked at American Land Title Company, so needless to say anyone working in the real estate world was a part of the Parade too.

So....I may not know everything, but believe me when I say I'm pretty knowledgeable about getting the most out of your time and your Parade tour! Here are my best tips:

1. Use the bathroom before you leave home. Laugh if you must be the Tour Homes have Port-a-Potties and you're not allowed to use the bathroom inside any Tour Home. I'm not above a Port-a-Potty but wouldn't you rather NOT?

2. Bring your phone/camera but ASK FIRST BEFORE TAKING PICTURES. Many tour homes are private homes, already owned by someone. That's their stuff and their space. You'll probably find something in each home you'd like to remember by taking a picture of it. It's almost always OK but please ask before snapping pics all over the kitchen. There's a SWMBIA rep at each Tour Home.

3. Ask questions about whatever you like. That's what The Parade is all about. There's a SWMBIA rep at every house and most of the time the builder is there too. When you find stuff you love, ASK about it! Tiles, cabinets, countertops, beams, whatever. Nobody knows these homes more than the builders themselves and I've always found them to be super pleasant folks.

4. Spend some time OUTSIDE the homes. Some of the coolest stuff I've seen at Parades over the years have been with the landscaping. Pathways, boulders, built-in planters, decks, lighting and even certain types of gravel. Professionals designed these exteriors...take advantage of their knowledge and experience.

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