Things to Consider when Buying a Model Home.

Models may have never been lived in but they are not new either.

Palm Coast, FL – June 2, 2008 – Most home builders erect model homes to showcase their plans, workmanship, and available upgrades in the best light. They usually recycle these homes within a few years to keep their model inventory fresh and up to date with new plans, revised codes, construction materials and methods, and interior design trends. Model homes often represent a bargain for home buyers.
Most model homes are packed with optional features such as:
  • High end appliances
  • Granite countertops
  • Lush landscaping
  • Fully furnished and decorated by professionals
  • Top quality materials, upgraded lighting and plumbing fixtures
  • Attention to details of fit and finish
  • Structured wiring
  • Installed ceiling fans
  • Pool and spa
  • Wall paper in baths
Though never lived in, model homes are used. In many ways you should evaluate them as such.
  • Always get an independent home inspection.
  • Light bulbs and smoke detector batteries are old. See if the builder will replace them.
  • The furniture and accessories may be purchased at bargain prices. The builder will show you the original price, but that is not an indication of their true value in a resale situation. You may not want the furniture, but still want the window treatments. Window treatments maintain even less of their original value than furniture.
  • While most of the appliances have never been used, the warranty clock may have begun ticking months or years ago. See if the builder will extend the warranty. The same goes for HVAC and water heater.
If you are buying the model with a lease back with the builder, be sure that you get insurance advice from a professional. Because of the number of people walking through a model on a daily basis, liability is a great concern to insurers. It is important not to misrepresent the risk. Having it written a normal rental home in order to secure coverage (because so few will write such a risk) will only create a problem for the insured at the time of a loss. If the builder procures the insurance as a provision of the lease back agreement, make sure it is the right type of policy with appropriate coverage levels.
1 reply
  1. Wil Hessert
    Wil Hessert says:

    model home

    Thanks for the article. We purchased a model home and would add our experience to your observation. Window treatments are attached and should go with the home. Our seller tried to say they wouldn\\’t. The realtor said they did. We candidly told them we\\’d withdraw the offer if they didn\\’t stay with the house. Window Treatments are Very expensive. They stayed. We registered all the appliances per the builder\\’s suggestion, with GE. GE started the clock running the day we registered them. Had problems with two appliances and both were covered under the \\\”new\\’ warranty without any questions. Oddly, the builder would not provide any break on any of the model furniture. It was a take it or leave it at their price, which was badly overpriced. We accordingly didn\\’t take any of it. Important that you do a punch list prior to closing and make it part of the closing requirements. You won\\’t find the \\’other\\’ serious stuff until you live in the house. Fortunately, our builder, ICI, has an exceptionally strong warranty program and didn\\’t hesitate to repair anything we found. You won\\’t find some things until you live in the house. Also important that you visit the property at night prior to doing the punch list. Lots of things show up at night in different lighting that you can\\’t see during the day. We had an inspector, but in spite of his good work, he missed things. Nobody sees everything. WH

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