No. of Recommendations: 1
I'm considering buying a "new" home that is currently serving as the builders model home and I'm curious as to whether anyone has any experience, good or bad, with buying a model home.

In theory, builders will exercise more care with finish work with houses they intend to use as models. In practice, I've seen some pretty awful finish work in model houses. Look carefully. You really will get what you see.

Make certain you understand what stays with the house and what goes. Upgraded lighting and carpeting probably stays. Furniture probably goes. There's no telling about window treatments and wall-mounted mirrors. If wall-mounted mirrors go, make sure you understand about the wall finish behind the mirror -- often the wall behind the mirror is unfinished.

Model houses probably have more wear and tear than you might expect on flooring, doors, windows, and cabinetry, and they probably have less wear and tear than you would expect on plumbing and appliances. You should plan to replace the higher wear and tear items sooner than you might expect for similar items in a never lived-in house.

Landscaping probably is better than you would expect in model houses compared to stock houses. Infant mortatily among the plants probably will be low. The nursery warranty on plants may have expired.

Some builders convert garage spaces into office spaces in their model houses. Some builders convert bedrooms into specialty rooms -- exercise rooms, dance studios, fancy offices, etc. You may or may not find the conversion desireable, and you may or may not want to negotiate for returning the converted spaces to their original functional spaces.

I still recommend you have a certified house inspector examine the house before you close the deal. The builder probably will scream, and he may even refuse to accept your purchase offer with an inspection contingency, but a house inspection is cheap insurance against unforeseen problems. I think the mininum acceptable qualification for house inspectors is that they are full members of the American Society of Home Inspectors (

David Jacobs
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