Buying a Model Home

by : Martin Lukac

There are a lot of model homes out there on the market, should you consider purchasing one. They come with advantages, and often a gift certificate for furnishings.

You are basically purchasing a slightly used, yet brand new home. It has all of the upgrades you could want -- expensive hardwood floors, gorgeous landscaping, decor in place and fireplaces. The model is in a finished neighborhood, and is usually in a well-located position.

But is there anything unusual about a model home purchase that you should watch out for?

When you are buying a model home, it is much like the purchase of an existing home. The only difference is that no one has lived in the home. The home is "used," yet new. And it is usually a good deal.

Builders construct models to display their homes during the building of a development. The model is the builder's top work. The upgrades are all there and the house is kept very nice. After all, it is a marketing tool that the builder uses to get consumers to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. It has to be very nice -- they spend a lot of money constructing it so that they can make a lot of money selling copies of it.

There are a lot of advantages to buying a model home, including custom paint, walkways, enhanced curb appeal and full landscaping. Many models come with patios, pools, fancy lighting fixtures and a designed look.

Model homes are sold "as is" in most cases. The carpet and padding have probably been walked on by thousands of feet. They have been cleaned several times. They are by no means "brand new," but generally are in good shape.

Most builders will go through the home and touch it up for the buyers. They may touch up the paint and do a good cleaning. Yet, there can still be damage to the home.

There will be spots where the furniture sat, just like a used home. The home may not be perfect.

It is recommended that you have the home thoroughly inspected by a professional home inspector. This is a necessity in a new, used or in progress home.

You can always have the builder to list the upgrade values that are added to the base version of the floorplan. This can show you how much you are saving in the purchase of the model. You can also ask that the sales consultant add an addendum on the purchase agreement that clarifies what is included in the purchase price of the model. You can, and should, ask that any repairs that are offered and not offered are written in the agreement. Remember, if it isn't in writing, it isn't a legal agreement.

There are a lot of arrangements that can occur in a model home purchase that are seen in other real estate transactions. For this reason, it is a good idea to have your attorney review all documents and be available for the closing on the property. It is always a good idea to have someone reading the papers you sign to clarify them for you.

Model homes are a great opportunity for many buyers. You get a new home at a much smaller cost. What more could you ask for?