Home Buying in Raleigh>Question Details

Trulia Ralei…, Other/Just Looking in Raleigh, NC

What should you look out for when viewing a model home?

Asked by Trulia Raleigh, Raleigh, NC Tue Apr 23, 2013

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We have a great Pamphlet "Buying New vs. re-sale" that spells out all the details of the new home purchase, from dealing with the builder, to features and upgrades in the model home. Email me and I will send you a copy.
One note I want to make though now: when making color selections, take pictures of the brick, cabinets, counter tops, hardwoods, paint, etc. You will save yourself from having to prove later what was the right color!
Irina Bennett
Realtor/Broker at REMAX One Realty
ABR - Acredited Buyer Representative
CNE - Certified Negotiations Expert
CRRS - Certified Residential Relocation Specialist
America's Best Agents member
New Construction Specialist
Real Estate Innovator Award
TREIA - Triangle Real Estate Investors Association member
16 Years of experience in the Triangle Real Estate!
Let's talk about Land-Investment-Commercial-New and Green Homes-Real Estate Foreclosures and Shortsales
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
We have some lovely new neighborhoods going up in Raleigh. The model homes generally have great interior decorators working with the builder. It would be so easy to fall in love with any of the homes. You do want to make sure you find out which features are upgrades and add to the cost of the base price. Make sure you talk with the onsite agent with your buyers agent so you can be sure you know exactly what comes with just the base home. It would be a good idea to visit other homes just being built in the neighborhood, so you can see what the house will look like without all the decorating in it. It's also important to know about the exterior features, whether your lawn will be sodded or just seeded, and if they will put in a fence if you need one. Hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Good morning,

Model homes are gorgeous and you have to remember that all of the upgrades were probably built and installed into the home to appeal to the buyer. When walking through a model, your main question needs to be what is included with the basic price of the home, then start adding up any extras you like, that you see in the model home. You also may want to know what is the final price of a home duplicating the model home, given you like all of the upgrades. But that is the key word 'upgrades'.. Which will raise your base price...

Best of Luck;

Christina Solorzano;
CEO & SR Credit Repair Specialist of
Everlasting Credit Repair
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
As a Realtor who worked part time for several new home builders over the past 19 years and I can't name them here, typically what you need to understand when going through a true 'model' home of what items are you looking at that are considered options and what are those items in the home that are standard. Every new home has a base price, but models are typically built to showcase upgrades. Ask the sales person what the price of the home as you are looking at would be priced at vs. a base home. Don't be afraid to ask the person if you find a floorplan you like if there is another home in the neighborhood close to or at completion that reflects a more base like price range. I never has a problem showing my potential buyers those homes. Many builders also build 'spec' homes for quicker sales that include only the more popular upgrades for that neighborhood. Ask if there are any of those to view as they will be priced over the base price, but many times much lower than what the model would sell for. The key is to try and NOT get caught up in all the glitz and go housepoor spending more than you really intended to.

If I can be of any assistance to you, please don't hesitate to call me at 919-795-5447. I also invite you to view my website at http://www.RaleighHomeSite.com . I do have a button in my site under HELPFUL INFORMATION that will open a page listing links to many of the new home builders in the Triangle area, both local builders as well as national ones.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Upgrades and upcharges for those upgrades.

Modle homes are dressed to impressed and priced too.

Figure what your budget is and what you can be qualifed to purchase.

If possible use an independent mortgage broker, not the builders lender for financing.

Remember, the modle home's agent represents the seller/builder not you. Have your own agent/Realtor to work for your best interests.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
First thing I look at is the exterior when I drive up. Do any of the previous homes the builder built have walls with bows in them, does the lot have good water run-off and drainage. Interior I look for stress cracks, electric, plumbing and HVAC, quality of appliances, flooring, fixtures. Base homes vs a better one, but not necessarily by the same builder. Get what you pay for. Sometimes you're better off finding a home in an established neighborhood with good bones that's been updated.

I've owned and worked on both. If you're not handy things can get expensive very fast.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 23, 2013
I worked in new home sales for several years so I'm very familiar with local builders in the Raleigh area. It's always a good idea to work with a realtor even though you will also be assisted by the sales agent at the community. Remember that the sales agent is really looking out for their client, who is the builder. Your buyer agent will look out for your interests.

Model homes always have many added features that are not included in the "standard features" as part of your base purchase price. Always ask the sales agent to carefully explain which features of the home are NOT included as standards. The agent should be able to give you a fairly good idea of what the various upgraded features would cost should you want to add them on to your home. Some examples of features that may not be included in the base purchase price (depending on the builder) are granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, a fireplace, hardwood floors and other items. These items can potentially add thousands of dollars to the base price of a new home so it's a good idea to be aware of them so that you don't fall in love with something that will put you way over your intended budget.

Please feel free to contact me directly if you are not working with a realtor and would like to discuss further. Best of luck in your home search!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 23, 2013
Too many buyers make the mistake of going "solo." That is without the support of an agent. In my opinion there are two important things buyers should have in their possession. Their agent's business card and a letter of pre-approval for financing.

Buyers of new construction are often told that they don't need an agent and that they can take care of everything. This may be the case but it doesn't necessarily have your best interests in mind. It's certainly ok to use the builder's financing program BUT it's important to know how their rates compare to the outside world.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 23, 2013
Always ask for a complete list of everything that is shown in the model home, which details what is NOT included in the "base price" of your new home. Most model homes are built with extensive luxury features that show how your new home CAN look, so you need to be aware that there can be an upcharge for many of the features. Understanding what's included and what’s not can make a big difference in helping you choose a builder whose bottom line you can trust.

Also ask if the builder has models of any homes reflecting the “base price” so you have a clear understanding of what your new home will look like. If all the models are filled with upgrades, ask if there are any photos of homes with standard features, or if you can walk through some homes in progress of being built that are closer to what the base price home would look like. This can also help you get a feel for the building process as well as how well as give you an idea of how closely involved your builder will be with your project.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 23, 2013
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