When you tour a new development, you are often shown the model home. The home has the all the gleaming finishes and perfect layout you desire. The model home is a marketing tool designed to show how beautiful your home can be — so why not buy the model itself? In many developments, the model is sold at a discount, because it isn’t as new as the other, freshly created homes.
Before you sign on the dotted line, there are some things to consider. While the home is new, it has seen a lot of foot traffic and use; it’s generally more “slightly used” than a completely new, untouched home. Another issue to consider: If the development is new, the model may not be available for immediate occupancy, because it is still being used to attract other home owners. It’s always important when moving into any new development to find out how many other owners are currently residing in your new neighborhood.
Pro: The model has the top-of-the-line finishes. Generally the builder will use the most desirable options to outfit the model home, including upgrades that would cost extra in other homes.
Con: The finishes may not work with your decor. If you buy a new, unfinished home, you may be able to choose some of the finishes yourself. Also, while the home is technically new, it is also slightly used. You have no way of knowing how many people have tromped through, flicking on light switches, turning on taps, and metaphorically kicking the tires on the home.
Pro: It’s beautifully decorated. The model home has generally been staged and styled by an interior designer for maximum appeal.
Con: It’s not decorated to your taste. If you don’t like the style of the model home, you may end up spending money redecorating to make the home align with your personal preferences. Also, if you have your own furniture, you may not want to pay for new furnishings. Make sure that the carpet and flooring aren’t too worn. If you notice any wear and tear, build those allowances into your offer.
Pro: The home has been landscaped to provide a more appealing look.
Con: Because the landscaping may be designed for low maintenance and lower water bills, it may not have the lush green lawn you desire. Also consider the location of the home: The model is often in the front of a development, while other homes may offer more privacy.
Pro: The appliances are often included and are generally top-of-the-line.
Con: If the home has been a model home for some time, the appliances may be a year or two old and could be outside the warranty. Ask the builder about warranties on all appliances included in the sale. Because the heating and cooling systems may have been working overtime for months, you may want to get a home warranty to cover any potential issues.
Work with a buyer’s agent who can help you negotiate so that you get the best deal possible. Even though you are buying a new home, make sure it has a through inspection. The model home is often where builders test out new ideas, and you want to be sure that the construction is solid and that no corners were cut.