Even as architectural styles, furnishings, and “must have” amenities in homes change over the years, what never changes is people’s desire to peek inside the doors to see what’s new.

That is again true for the 27th Annual Parade of Homes, which is set for Oct. 10-13, says Maxine Rossman, executive officer for the sponsoring Outer Banks Home Builders Association.

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but getting up close and personal inside a home is just hard to beat,” Rossman says. “On our tour you can see it, feel it, and even sit on the sofa.”

This year’s Parade of Homes features 17 destinations. While previous versions have opened more homes over as many as 70 miles of coastline, this one will offer more variety of sizes, prices, and styles, and the homes will be located within a 35-mile stretch. That means guests will get more bang for their 10 bucks.

According to Rossman, some are smaller, starter homes; some are true second homes, and others are for retirement or investment. Architectural styles include both the “new-new” and “retro-new” feel.

“We have seen an interest in throwback looks that started last year,” she says, citing the flat roof homes featured on several models this year. “It just harkens back to a simpler time.”

New “smart home” technology is slowly coming to the Outer Banks, but Rossman notes that is one amenity not high on everyone’s list, especially for absentee owners.

“Technology is finally showing up here. But that is not always a priority when you voluntarily come here to leave the real world behind. The real selling points are the views and the lifestyle. But those who want all the bells and whistles can find them.”

For viewers who happen to be visiting from other areas of the country, Rossman points out that the Outer Banks is a unique market when it comes to the real estate industry.

“We have a different type of market here,” she says. “It is not primarily year-round, and there is only so much land, most of which is already built out. So now builders are looking at creative ways to use smaller lots and redeveloping existing homes.”

Whether old or new, or remade to look new, this year’s featured homes will hold interest for all lookers. Three are large-scale remodels from complete makeovers to extensive add-ons. And some homes on this tour are for sale. Rossman expects spirited interest.

“Some of these should sell like hotcakes,” she says, noting that asking prices start at $259,000 to more than 10 times that amount.

The Parade of Homes offers a format so potential buyers can get a “side-by-side” comparison of ways different builders’ approach and execute design and function.

Styles range from a soaring three-story, 6800-square-foot villa (House No. 15) with 12 bedrooms and 12 baths, complete with theater, gourmet kitchen, fitness room, salt-water pool, hot tub, and tiki bar; to a compact, open concept 800-square-foot condominium (House No. 2) that comes with association exterior maintenance.

Or a combination — small doesn’t necessarily mean spartan.

House No. 12 comes in at a little more than 2,100 square feet. But in that compact footprint, the builder packs plenty of details expected in larger spaces, such as a private courtyard, two-sided fireplace, and dining room with cupola.

House No. 8, appropriately called “Transcendence,” presents a “luxurious-retro design” that starts with the exterior presentation, with industrial lines and gray exterior set off with white trim. Lots of sky view windows bring in the natural light while providing inspiring ocean views.

Some stops exude a timeless appeal. House No. 4, The Pineapple House, is an oceanfront setting with hardwood floors, granite countertops, tiled showers, barn doors, and shiplap walls.

Even after arranging 27 of these events, Rossman continues to be surprised by the variety and style. She expects more than 2,000 people to attend over the traditional Columbus Day weekend.

“It’s funny how it always comes together,” she notes. “There is something for everybody. And there are always lots of ‘oohs and aahs!’”


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