A Foolproof Method for Touring Model HomesJuly 21, 2017
This five-step methodology will help you get the most from model home tours
Close your eyes and imagine what your future home will look like. What do you see? A deep sofa complete with pillows. A modern kitchen. A roomy bedroom sanctuary. Feels like a home, does it not?
But any imaginary home can become dashed by reality, whether it is not enough square footage, a missing detail or even unexpected realizations. That is why touring a new model home becomes a valuable experience when buying a new home. Not only will it increase the excitement of the entire process, it can become a strategic fact-finding expedition.
As with any great strategy, some planning is involved to ensure maximum results. No need for worry, though. A little strategic thinking will not ruin the fun.
Decide what you want
There is perhaps no more important step than this: deciding what you want and need from your home. It sounds somewhat obvious, but wandering into a home tour without a firm grasp of your needs can muddle or, even worse, derail the home buying journey.
Regardless whether you are a novice or veteran home seeker, you should consider mapping all the elements your current lifestyle requires now, keeping in account what you will need in the future. For example, if you are looking to start a family with children then making sure your house has room to grow. Or, on a smaller scale, if you plan on purchasing a pool table down the road then you better make sure your game room will accommodate one.
Itemizing what your needs are can help with several things. First, it provides an easy reference point for future use, one where you can literally check off or highlight items. Second, listing can uncover unforeseen necessities or even push certain characteristics from “Must Have Now” to “Maybe In The Future.” Either way, you are prioritizing what is important for your home.
Once you have a list, take a moment to review the types of floor plans a builder offers and see if they satisfy most if not all your of your checklist items. If you find one or two plans that fit your needs, then it is time to schedule a tour.
Keep in mind that your list is not written in stone and can change to meet your needs. In other words, do not feel pressured to lock yourself in this early in the game.
Scrutinize every detail and take notes
Take the time to look at everything you see on the exterior and interior. Do not be afraid to be picky. This could potentially be your home, after all. So when you enter the living room, take notice of the way it feels. Are the ceilings high enough? How is the natural light? In the kitchen, what do you think of the cabinet space? Will the master bedroom be enough for your California King and your dog’s designer plush bed? (Nota bene: If measurements are a real concern, you should bring a tape measure.)
Being picky is exactly what you should be because, as is the case with most new construction homes, what you see will closely resemble the final product.
Pretend you are an investigative journalist and take notes on everything you observe or feel, including any questions you may have. Go even further by taking plenty of pictures. There is nothing worse than spending an hour or two touring a model home only to forget what certain features looked like.
By the way, the same goes for anyone that accompanies you. In fact, attending tours as a group can cover more ground than if you went alone. Having multiple points of view, whether they be family members or friends, are revealing, because they may see or ask something you might have otherwise overlooked.
Overall, stay focused and do not let a home’s fancy decorations or tasty snacks sweep you off your feet.
This part might sound basic, but it is often overlooked. Asking sales representatives or real estate agents questions does not tarnish your image as an informed home shopper; in fact, it boosts it, letting you stand apart from your fellow tourers.
Asking questions lets you learn more about the home and home builder than you would by taking the tour alone. Take the time to ask about the building process, workmanship warranties and other coverage on appliances, what details are upgrades or standard or whatever else crosses your mind or requires an answer.
When you are not seeking clarification, though, be sure to listen to what others have are asking. The answers to those questions may answer one of your own or fuel additional questions.
Tour more than one home
While there is no minimum requirement, allowing yourself to view multiple model homes does provide more data. In addition to simply finding the right home, multiple tours also lets you practice and become more comfortable with asking the right questions or training your eye for the details you are looking for.
Taking multiple tours is not a sign of failure, either. In fact, it is quite a common practice. According to a Zillow report from last year, “The average shopper goes on seven home tours, and while they may incorporate online research, they tend to be hands-on at decision time, preferring to meet an agent in person or talk on the phone, and prioritizing private tours of homes led by a professional.”
One piece of advice: avoid touring more than one home per day. Beyond the scheduling concerns, seeing more than one home can quickly make every house feel the same, no matter how copious the notes or photos.
This one is short and sweet. No matter how stressful the homebuying process may get, let yourself relax from time to time. Not only will you feel less pressured, but you might just realize the reason you are letting loose is because you have found the home of your dreams.
What has your experience with model homes been like? Share this post along with your story or advice!