Should you buy a model home?

DSC_2383As construction winds down and developers pull up stakes, they’re often eager to sell off those prototype domiciles. Some buyers lie in wait until this time comes, ready to pounce at this upscale abode—and maybe score a deal at the same time. Others might be turned off by the thought of living in a slightly used home that has been trampled through by hundreds, maybe thousands of prospective buyers.

So what are the Pros and Cons of purchasing a model home? Lets take a look at both sides.


Convenience: You’re getting a move-in ready, never-occupied home with loads of upgrades—and you don’t even have to wait for it to be built. Plus models are already decorated and fully furnished. And because they usually offer the furnishings at a discount, you might not have to haul yours across town and into your new house.

Extra features– For a model home, the builder usually wants to go all out and make it look spectacular. They want to show off their building ability and they want to excite potential customers. However, the other houses in the subdivision might not be as good as the model home. Therefore, you can sometimes get a few little extra touches thrown in.

DSC_2368Larger floor plan– In addition to having nicer features, the builder will usually construct the house on a somewhat larger floor plan. They know that they are going to have many people walk through the house and they want the house to seem big. Therefore, a model home might actually be a little bigger than the other similar houses that they are building.

Bargaining power– When you buy a model home from the builder, you will usually have a little bargaining power. You can use the argument that the house should not be at full price because the builder has gotten a lot of use out of it. Hundreds of people could have walked through that house which contributes to wear. Therefore, you can offer the builder lower than they would take for one of the other new houses. If the builder is getting down to the end of their subdivision, they might be ready to get out and move on to another project.

No ‘settling’ repairs: A bit of settling is to be expected when buying new construction. Along with those creaks and cracks, there may be some minor repairs needed within the first year, too. But guess what? That’s not your problem!


The warranty clock has already started: New homes come with a standard 10-year warranty from the builder. But since a model home has been around for a few months or even years, that time is subtracted from your warranty coverage. Also, most appliances have a one-year warranty that may have already expired by the time the model is put up for sale.

Rushed construction– Many times with the model home, the builder might not have taken their time on the construction. They needed to get something up quick so that they could start selling units. If they rushed through the construction process, it could potentially lead to some flaws in the house. They might be testing out a floor plan for the first time and run into problems. While they might not be apparent to the naked eye, you might have some problems somewhere in the house. Make sure that you have a building inspector come through and look at the house first.

Slightly used– Even though the house looks good, it has still be used by the builder. Sometimes a model home can be open for several years every day of the week. Therefore, the heating and cooling has been going for that long every day. The carpet has been walked on and worn out. All of these concerns should be addressed before you buy.

There’s a lot of traffic: Models are usually located at the front of the subdivision—that’s the whole idea—and if it’s a corner model, that exposure to an exterior street often has significantly more traffic. A neighborhood pool or tennis courts are often near the entry, too, meaning extra noise and traffic in the area.

There will always be pros and cons when buying any home, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons when it comes to buying a model home.

So it all comes down to the basics. When considering a model home, ask yourself these questions: Does this floor plan really work? Will I save considerable money by not having to upgrade?


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