From Alaska to Florida, New York to Washington — and all the states in between—consumer shows pop up in Spring and Fall. These dynamic resources display the latest and greatest in everything from interior design and furnishings to construction innovation and building materials. Along with an abundance of information, ideas, inspiration, and insider tips, these events shower attendees with special show prices, discounts, and installation offers that can save time, money, and hassles with their renovation and building projects.
Don't underestimate the opportunities for home owners and wannabees —and the amount of fun to be had by both. However, just showing up is not enough. Your real estate professional can fill you in on the benefits you'll gain, especially if you're fixing up your home to list, if you're a first-time-buyer with little housing experience, or if you're ready to customize the home you've just bought. For instance:
- Sellers who want top dollar for their home, benefit from investigating what's out there for savvy buyers. Let local interior design and home shows bring sellers up to date with what makes a great impression.
- Buyers will discover that home and design shows are treasure troves of buyer-beware info and don't-learn-the-hard-way insight. Here they can find out how things should be done and what "quality" products and professional installation look like and feel like. For instance, how lighting fixtures can light up a space with artistic flair, not just illumination. This knowledge is essential when viewing houses or condos staged to spark buyer desire and to distract from less-than-perfect attributes or renovations.
The following Seven Show Time Tips ensure you'll have fun while you gain all the advantages of attending:
1. Before "show time", visit The Event website to explore the exhibitor list and key websites. Zero in on your prime interest—new flooring, appliances, or livingroom color pallet—and make note of exhibitors that solve other issues—replacing a couch, shower doors, or lighting fixtures. Events target specific types of consumers, so make sure you're part of the target, so you'll derive the greatest benefits.
2. Plan your path through the show floor. If you just follow the mass, you may miss out on hand-outs and face-time with experts. Visit your top ten list early and plan to drop back later to cement any deals you're interested in.
3. Talk to experts. Look for the CEO or senior executives of a company you're interested in. Ask for followup contact info in case that "one last question" pops into your head a week later. Ask "What's new?," "What issues can consumers face if they choose the wrong products (not theirs)?," "What are the important installation and maintenance issues to address?" and "What are you excited about with this year's line?" Take notes or record these details in a notebook or file that keeps everything together for future reference.
4. Take your photos. If on-phone shots don't clearly depict the problem you want to solve or solutions you want to implement, print good-sized photos. Make a few copies so designers can scribble their great ideas on a photo.
5. For more ideas, check out publications that sponsor the shows. For example, the recent Toronto-based Interior Design Show IDS16 was sponsored in part by Azure , which also holds an international competition celebrating excellence in architecture and design, House & Home which hosted a Sunday of consumer seminars with designer stars and columnists, and D Magazine, with its show-focused premier issue. Free copies, contests, and discounted subscriptions were part of the show perks.
6. Dress to be taken seriously, but stick to very comfortable shoes. Have a few cards made up to hand out if you want follow up.
7. Make this a better experience than shopping online by touching textured surfaces, feeling fabrics, hefting objects like door handles, color-matching your samples…. Taking photos is good, but if you have not had a good, up-close look at the product or object while it is in front of you, you may as well have stayed online at home.
Don't be shy about checking with your real estate professional to see if there are free tickets or discount passes for the upcoming Event that's caught your eye. They usually know who's doing what in their trading area.