I was chatting with my fellow financial bloggers a few days ago and mentioned to Larry MacDonald about 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 the current home we live in, we were actually quite excited to find out that it was one of the five model homes for the community we were moving into and even more excited to know 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 to do some simply DIY tasks around the house.
We first wanted to repaint one area, so my wife attempted to remove the wall paper that was in place, only to find out that the paper had actually been put up on top of the dry wall with NO paint primer in between, so we started tearing off the paper from the actual dry wall. 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. Due to no primer or sealant being used on the ceiling dry wall all the “stippling” that was sprayed on is now “flaking off” in many areas, exposing untreated dry wall. This is going to be messy and time-consuming to fix (and a pain to work on the ceilings as well).
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 in the rush to get the model home ready to show, a few code violations may have been missed.
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 lay outs, but most of these “upgrades” are cosmetic in our case. One that does come to mind is the master bedroom doesn’t have a shower, but it does have a jacuzzi-like tub. At first this was a great idea, but only having 1 shower to share between me and two teenagers in the morning suggest 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 get around having the model home inspected since no one will be living in it right away? I don’t know, but it is always a very good idea to get your home inspected BEFORE you close the deal.
Why Tell This Story
Keep these issues in mind if you are looking at a model home, is the reason for this post. 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 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, or something like that), when you buy be diligent in your inspection and get a licensed inspector to check the house as well.