A glimpse of what’s possible

Find the home of your dreams on the Town & Country home tour

Granite Ridge Builders’ NextSTEP home at 7467 Flutter Road has solar and geothermal energy systems that make it energy efficient in addition to stylish, comfortable and smart, meaning its residents can control its systems through an app on their mobile devices. (Photo provided)
The modern-style New Edition by Windsor Homes in Harrison Lakes boasts 2,271 square feet of lopen living space and plenty of on-trend features in its brand new contemporary design. (Photo provided)
Timberlin Homes features interior stone walls, plus this spacious kitchen and pantry, in its tour home at 3085 Black Goose Boulevard in Gray Oaks. (Photo provided)

Maybe you’re in the market for a one-story home with a spacious living room, three or four bedrooms and located out in the country.

Or maybe you’re into open concepts, large bedroom suites, quartz countertops or a garage that can fit three or four cars. Perhaps the hassle-free life of a villa is the life for you — all the trimming of a home, none of the maintenance responsibilities.

Or maybe, just maybe, you’re looking for something state of the art. You want to control everything from your fingertips using just your tablet or smart phone — locks, doors, lights, music, television, thermostat … everything.

If you’re looking to buy a new home, no matter who you are or what you want in a house, you are likely to find the home that delights you and checks every item on your list during this year’s fall Town & Country New Home & Specialty Retail Tour, presented by the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Fort Wayne. This fall’s tour is sponsored by Ruoff Home Mortgage, JF Miller Heating and Air Conditioning, 97.3 WMEE, K105 FM and Fort Wayne Newspapers.

Given that realtor.com declared Fort Wayne to be one of the Top 10 hottest housing markets last June, expectations are that interest in this tour will be high. One home has already sold, but don’t worry. Visitors will be directed to another nearby home instead.

The tour is free with participating homes — spanning all the now actively developing areas of suburban Fort Wayne and Allen County and the surrounding area — open from noon to 5 p.m. during two consecutive weekends, Sept. 24 and Sept. 25 and Oct. 1 and Oct. 2.

It’s self-guided, and you’ll find all the information you need in the 88-page official tour guide, distributed with today’s Journal Gazette. Beginning Monday, the guide will be available on grocery store free distribution racks, too. If you want to go paperless plus have the advantage of live mapping while you enjoy the tour, visit www.hometour.fortwayne.com. The official tour website has full information on all the builders, sponsors, vendors and every home, plus directions and maps to help you arrive easily on site. The website is designed for ease of use on smartphones and tablets while you’re on the go.

Many tour visitors aren’t even actively shopping for a home. They’re browsing for a future buy or looking for good design ideas for their current homes. A large tour really does welcome people with all sorts of interests.

“The nice thing about this show is that you can see every price range house,” said Maurine Holle, HBA executive director. “You can see a starter home to the technology house. There are all different kinds of floor plans and styles.”

The “technology house” Holle refers to is one called NextSTEP. It is being offered by Granite Ridge Builders for $898,900, including lot. A smart home at 7467 Flutter Road, the NextSTEP home can be controlled through an app from anywhere in the world and is billed as energy efficient with solar and geothermal systems.

You’ll find whatever options you seek within the 35 homes, 11 villas and three home building sites on this fall’s tour, located throughout the Fort Wayne, New Haven, Auburn and Grabill area.The homes are already decorated and highlight the latest trends in homebuilding, from traditional to contemporary.

The tour is an opportunity for builders to show off their latest homes.

“Oh, absolutely it helps us,” said Barclay Allen, owner of Timberlin Homes. “More importantly, it helps give the public an introduction to Timberlin Homes. It introduces us to the public, tells them who we are and what we do.”

Timberlin has been in existence for 10 years, according to Allen. This year, the company has two homes on the tour — a 2,800 square-foot, five-bedroom home with a stone fireplace in the Whisper Rock addition up north and a 2,700 square-foot, five-bedroom home with interior stone walls on the southwest side of the county in the Grey Oaks addition.

While the size of the homes are close, that’s where a lot of the similarities end. The interiors and layouts diverge from each other drastically.

“We’re not just a cookie-cutter builder,” Allen said.

The tour is also the chance for the HBA itself to showcase what it’s members have to offer. Allen is the current treasurer for the HBA and in line to be its next president.

Beyond his business, he thinks the tour highlights how great the builders are in this region.

“This is a win-win,” he said. “Obviously I’m about promoting my company. But also, putting on my HBA hat, it’s about promoting Northeast Indiana and Allen County and the quality homes that we can produce.

“Straight across the board, there are lots of good builders in the area,” he continued. “Basically, the quality of our association of builders, I will put it up against anybody else. Not only statewide but in our whole region. I think the Town & Country is a great tool to promote and showcase our wares.”

So no matter what you might be looking for — lots of basement, near a park, away from people or within a short jaunt of town — the HBA builders are betting there is something for you on this fall’s tour. There are 18 homes which have never been featured on the tour before, and the tour’s website proclaims “Your dream home awaits you.”

“There is a lot of variety,” Holle said. “Everything under the sun can be seen at this show.”

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