Model homes! They beckon alluringly, full of pricey upgrades and every conceivable bell and whistle. They are designed to sell a given development or specific builder’s homes by making them look good.
Should you buy a model home, though? There are many pros and cons to weigh about whether a model home represents a good deal for home buyers. Read on for more.
It’s likely the developer has been using the model home for as long as several years. As a result, most builders will negotiate the price. It’s possible to get a lower price than you would pay for comparable new homes. It’s analogous to buying the showroom model of an automobile or the plasma television that’s been used as the store display.
If an upgrade exists, it’s likely model homes have them. Granite countertops, beautiful bathrooms, energy-efficient lighting — it’s all there. Buying a model home is a great way to ensure your home has the premium variety of every choice the builder offers.
Model homes are generally located very conveniently in the development, with easy access and egress to the nearest major arterials. Builders do this to help potential buyers find the model home quickly and easily. But it also works to your advantage. Especially in large neighborhoods, their location can cut time off any commute and make your home easier for relatives and friends to find.
Not only do model homes have every conceivable upgrade, but they are furnished to the nines. Lush sofas, modern window treatments, state-of-the-art kitchen appliances, you name it. It may be possible to negotiate with the builder to purchase the furniture, or to negotiate a deal in which you buy both house and furniture. The result? You get terrific furniture that shows the house to best advantage at a deal price.
Model homes come with landscaping that shows off the charms of the lot, the house and the surrounding environment. Whether you live in a dry, temperate climate or one that is cold in winter and hot in summer, the grounds of a model home will demonstrate the beauty of the environment. You will probably inherit the landscaping, and just have to maintain it.
While you may get a discount on the price, it’s prudent to remember the home isn’t entirely new, either. Keep this in mind while negotiating the price. People have trooped in and out to see the home, perhaps for several years. They have “kicked the tires” by going through every room and opening and closing cabinets and closets. The sales staff has been on premises, perhaps using the kitchen as well as other facilities. Model homes will show some wear and tear from this activity.
It’s a good idea to hire a home inspector to vet a model home thoroughly. Why? Well, builders often construct a model home quickly, so sales can begin. As a result, they may have done the finishing touches in haste. Be sure your bathtub is caulked properly, and all appliance installations are complete. If you find necessary repairs or maintenance, add the cost to your negotiations on price.
The same ease and convenience that characterize a model home’s location can also be a drawback. You may be close enough to trafficked areas that it’s noisy, distracting or unsafe for children or pets to play. Your model home may be the first house in the development, and receive all questions as a result.
Real estate folks have a vested interest in making rooms look bigger, since larger rooms command a higher price. As a result, making rooms look bigger is a time-tested real estate ploy. Sometimes, model home furniture is smaller, even built at three-quarter size, so the surrounding space appears bigger by contrast. Unless everyone in your family is of smaller stature, this furniture is unlikely to be comfortable! Even if this isn’t the case, you need to measure to make sure your existing furniture fits the space.
People who buy brand-new homes usually receive a warranty on appliances and items in the home. It’s likely the warranties on a model home began coverage when the model home went into use. As a result, your warranty will cover less time than usual. Similarly, new home buyers usually get a discount on home insurance. You may not receive this on a model home, because the structure is not new.
There are both benefits and drawbacks to purchasing a model home. Be sure to consider these carefully when deciding whether or not to buy one.