The conveniences and draws to buying a model home are obvious. But as with any real estate transaction, you will want to be sure to partner with an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) who will protect your best interests.
Buy a model home with an Accredited Buyer’s Representative
Do not go it alone! You will want to have a real estate professional accompany you to view the model homes when possible. Between high-pressure sales tactics and the competition to buy model homes, it is really in your best interest to get an Accredited Buyer’s Representative involved on your behalf as early in the process as you can.
The purpose of model homes is to display homes in the best possible context in order to sell the homes that will be built to the corresponding layouts. Model homes are often decked out with upgrades like nicer appliances, finishes, designer window coverings, and paint. Rather than starting from scratch, the model home will likely have nice landscaping in the front and back yards. You will want to see all models in-person to compare upgrades for yourself.
Top Questions to ask when buying a model home
Ask if the home has ever been occupied. While “new” model homes have not been lived in, if they have been used as a sales office, fixtures like toilets and sinks in the bathroom will not be new. If the model home in question was used as a sales office, ask for how long. You may be able to use that information later in the negotiation process.
Your Accredited Buyer’s Representative should also help you gather and compare data from home sales in the subdivision. Advertised prices are meaningless if they are not indicative of the final sale prices. You may also want to take note of whether the final deed was mailed to the home in question’s address or another. This can be a hint as to whether the home will be owner-occupied or if it was bought by investors—an important fact if you are looking to live near homeowners like you as opposed to renters.
Working with the right lender
When considering lenders, ask your Accredited Buyer’s Representative for referrals. Though the builder will likely have a lender lined up (because of close relationships or, in some cases, the builder owns the lender), that organization is another that may not have your best interests at heart. By doing some homework, you can save yourself thousands of dollars over the course of your mortgage by getting the best possible rate.
If you are looking to buy the model home with the furniture, artwork and the like that is displayed within, be sure to get that in your contract as well. Check the details of the contract as well to make sure the “furnished” home does not have any big exclusions.
And make absolutely sure to get a professional inspection. Not only will your lender likely require it, but it will contribute to your peace of mind as well. Even though the home is new, there is no telling what kind of mistakes might have been made in the construction. You may wish to accompany the inspector during the walkthrough as well so that no stone is left un-turned. Even builders are human! This is another area where your Accredited Buyer’s Representative will come in handy.
Working with an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®)
When buying a model home, you will need a real estate professional to work for you, and not any realtor will do. The Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) is a specific designation for real estate professionals who have undergone specialized training to represent the buyer in real estate transactions in addition to experience requirements that dictate that the agent will have completed a certain number of transactions on behalf of buyers only (no dual agency) prior to receiving the accreditation.
While it is a good idea to seek out this expertise when buying any home, the nuances of buying a model home and the relative proficiency of the builder in this type of transaction makes it especially beneficial in this situation. If you are unsure if a realtor is an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, ASK them!
Home Builder’s Sales Agent
Regardless of what they tell you, the home builder’s sales agent is paid to represent the home builder. Their incentive and loyalties rightfully lay with the seller. That is not to say that anyone is looking to rip you off (though you never know), but it is certainly incumbent upon you to protect your financial interests and even the playing field with your own representation. The builder has a seat at the table, you should too.
Your Accredited Buyer’s Representative will have a legal (and moral) responsibility to clue you into the positives and negatives of the transaction.
To get in touch with our team of Accredited Buyer’s Representatives, contact us today.