Home builders who battled through the late-summer smoke are opening the doors to their latest creations for the next two weekends.
The third annual Southern Oregon Tour of Homes begins Friday and runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Sunday, then it will will repeat Sept. 22-24.
The tour includes 17 houses, including some that already have sold, in Medford, Ashland, Eagle Point and Jacksonville. Prices range from $289,900 to more than $1 million.
"When people build a house, it's a functioning, living piece of art," said Builders Association of Southern Oregon President Tim Alvarez, of Claudio Alvarez Construction. "And when it's been bought by someone, now it's a home."
Although the home tour is smaller and decades newer than a similar event in Central Oregon, Alvarez said there are plenty of signs the event has caught on.
"We had one builder last year that had four pre-sold houses after the first weekend," Alvarez said. "He had to cut it off at four. If he could have taken eight orders, he would have had eight."
The dearth of available single-family residences is a draw, Alvarez said.
"Right now, it's easy to sell a house," he said. "There's a shortage of housing, and money is flying around. But in five years, after the market cools off, you will know who the builders are, and they will be the first to sell their houses."
Some houses expected to be on display were snapped up prior to the tour.
"I put a house on the tour, and it's already sold," Alvarez said. "The tour ends on the 24th, and the people move in on the 25th."
For builders wanting to connect with future clients, the tour is unique and more open-ended than a typical open house.
"They've been doing this for decades in the Bend area," Alvarez said. "It's a marquee event for any high-end contractor or affordable builder. If you're a builder, you're getting your brand out there."
With houses spread across the valley, home viewers can easily spread their journey over two weekends.
"It's an opportunity to look at houses in the market you are in," Alvarez said. "I see it as a three-dimensional Pinterest. Some people might just be looking for cool countertops."
Copies of the tour guide are available at the Builders Association office at 1006 E. Jackson St., in Medford.
— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.