There is a right way to tour a model home (here’s how).

Model homes can be a great way to tour your home, whether you are looking for a builder or just a fun way to spend Sunday afternoon. It’s like Fashion Week’s catwalk: A model home is a way for builders to showcase their capabilities, even if they have to charge a high price.

To help you set expectations with builders, there is a right and wrong way to tour a model house. Understanding what is standard and what isn’t will help you avoid confusion and frustration when the building process begins.

Take a look around

It’s worth looking at the different builders’ offerings if you are serious about building your own home instead of buying one. Even if the first builder you meet is fantastic with the design of a model home, it’s important to schedule walkthroughs with at least three or four more builders before you make a decision. Every builder has a different design process, warranty, and upgrades. You should compare apples to apples before you settle on a builder.

Do your research

To see all the floor plans, visit the website of the builder before you go to a model home. Although these popular floor plans are most appealing to mass-market builders, they might not be the best for you. You can check out the online options before you visit the model home. Keep in mind that the builder might have another floor plan.

Ask about the design process

There are three types:

    • The majority of production home builders do not offer customization. You will most likely be limited to your floor and paint colors and you won’t have any other options like hardware.
    • Semi-custom builders allow for more customization. You can choose from a variety of cosmetic finishes and may be able adjust the layouts or dimensions within a given parameter.
    • You can design your own home with custom home builders. You can use an existing plan or create a new design from scratch.

Ask the builder questions about the design process as you tour the model home. It’s important to remember that the more custom-made a home is, the higher the price. Ask your builder to clarify what can and cannot be changed. If your builder does not allow for heavy customization, signing a contract could result in heartache. To save money, it is better to choose production over a custom-built home if you like the existing layout and admire the builder’s work.

Standard and Upgrade:

It can be difficult to tell which parts are included in the standard design package and which features are upgraded when touring a model home. Model homes are built by builders to showcase what they can do. They often use upgraded finishes, hardware and fixtures to make buyers fall in love. It can be very costly to upgrade bronze bathroom fixtures that you love.

Examine craftsmanship

While any builder can choose a beautiful paint color or select fancy furnishings, it is more important to inspect the quality of the actual craftsmanship when you tour model homes. Are the molding and woodwork seamless? Is the floor perfectly straight? Are the cabinets sturdy enough to withstand years of Thanksgiving meals? To truly understand the priorities and attention given to details by each builder, look beyond their cosmetic façade.

Imagine your possessions

You will fall in love with the entire house, from the layout to the lighting fixtures to the furniture. Don’t let your love blind you to the fact that when you move into a house, it will be your furniture, tables and couches that make it a home. Is it possible to imagine yourself and your family living in the home you are touring? Although it is easy to fall in love with a model home that has been well staged, it is possible to be too attached to it. However, it is up to you to decorate the space and furnish it.

Model homes are a great way to meet a builder. But make sure you do your research so that what seems like love at first glance doesn’t turn into a bad relationship. To ensure you find the right builder for you, look beyond the perfect plan and polished paint.

Do you have any tips for model home touring?

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