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Never Buy the Model Home

I was chatting with my fellow financial bloggers a few days ago and mentioned to Larry MacDonald how I had purchased one of the model homes in my area and the issues I had run into having done this, and he encouraged me to expand on this for a post here, about how you should Never buy the Model Home

Never Buy the Model Home

When my wife and I bought our current home, we were quite excited to find out that it was one of the five model homes for our new community. We were even more excited to know that we were buying the house from the original owner.

The excitement started to wear off a few months after we moved in when we started doing some simple DIY tasks around the house.

We first wanted to repaint one area, so my wife attempted to remove the wallpaper that was in place, only to find out that the paper had been put up on top of the drywall with NO paint primer in between, so we started tearing off the paper from the actual drywall. House was put up quickly it seems, a reason never to buy the model home.

Sadly, the ceilings seem to be suffering from the same issues. Because there is no primer or sealant on the ceiling drywall, all the “stippling” sprayed on is now “flaking off” in many areas, exposing the untreated drywall. This will be messy and time-consuming to fix (and a pain to work on the ceilings).

Looking at some of the blinds and window adornments we thought of replacing those, but then we remembered they were put up with Velcro strips (we did notice this beforehand, but it is something else to watch for), if we wanted anything more permanent we would have to replace the temporary mounting hardware with something more permanent.

The wiring in the house seems to have been done with great speed, and occasionally, one or two things were not quite up to code, but we fix those as we trip over them. I would not say this was time to call Mike Holmes. However, I think a few code violations may have been missed in the rush to get the model home ready to show.

The landscaping of the house was at best “hodge podge” at worst, “welcome to the jungle”, because the previous owner enjoyed a lot of bushes and such (I have spent 10 years ripping them out). When the model homes were sold the developer was disposing of a lot of the plants they had used as display and the previous owner took them and planted them EVERYWHERE.

The carpeting is also badly worn, because MANY people wandered through this house when it was the model, and I doubt the carpet was replaced when it was sold. Even if a better grade of carpet was put in, it was worn heavily when it was the model home.

On the positive side , there can be upgrades from the standard home layouts, but most of these “upgrades” are cosmetic. One thing that comes to mind is that the main bedroom doesn’t have a shower but a jacuzzi-like tub. At first, this was a great idea, but only having one 1oneshower to share between me and two teenagers in the morning, I suggested a shower in the en suite bathroom instead.

As with any home you purchase (including newly built), have your model home inspected by a licensed inspector. Can builders avoid having the model home inspected since no one will be living in it right away? I don’t know, but getting your home inspected BEFORE you close the deal is always an excellent idea.

Why Tell This Story

This post is about keeping these issues in mind if you are looking at a model home. I would never have thought of these issues before I bought the house, but now I see them, I can see why they may have happened, given that most model homes need to be up quickly to get the developer’s models to show so they can sell houses to get money to start developing (thus speed is of the essence once the developer decides to move forward).

Check for these issues and keep in mind other areas where speed might cause workmanship to suffer (say, not letting the foundation cure for long enough). When you buy, be diligent in your inspection and get a licensed inspector to check the house as well.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. They try to get you with all the upgrades, when you’re much better off going with the phase 2-3 homes, when they found their mistakes from phase 1.

  2. Good post but at the same time, the showhome is built to entice people to purchase. Often it is the best you can expect from a builder. Once you place an order for your home to be built you will be nickel and dimed over every detail and they just throw it together any way……………

  3. I think in general, most of the houses, condos and even townhouses that they built today is well “half ass job”

    I seen condos first hand and ya if I ran fast enough I could run through the wall, so its pretty bad.

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