If you’re looking for a new home, the chances are that you’ve come across your fair share of display homes – homes set up to give you a feel for how it could look and show you its full potential.
It’s easy to be blown away by display homes, and to instantly fall in love, or it could even go the opposite way! But before jumping to any conclusions, here are some things you should look for, and questions to ask in a display home.
1. Layout and floor plans
Show homes are designed to make the most of the layout, so it’s important to imagine the layout without the intricate interior design. You could ask to see a home under construction, or the floor plans, so that you can look at the layout from a more practical perspective.
You should question whether it would work with your furniture, or whether the quirky alcoves will prove more trouble than they’re worth. You might even find that without all the upgrades, the layout has a smaller feel to it, and you don’t want to be disappointed later down the line.
2. Ask about making changes to the layout
If you decide you don’t like the layout, but have ideas for improvements to truly make it yours, you should ask about whether or not this would be possible. Home builders will know all about the structure of the build, and what you’ll be able to do.
So if you’re thinking of knocking a wall down, or getting an extension, it’s definitely worth checking with them what’s possible in terms of the property’s structure, and planning permission.
3. Would your furniture work with this property?
Most people will move into a new house with the intention of keeping their old furniture. Otherwise, moving house could cost you thousands more. But if you’re planning on doing this, you need to think about your current furniture when viewing a show home.
Remember display homes are designed by professional interior designers, so the furniture you see when viewing will have been specifically chosen to compliment the house. You should try and picture your furniture in its place – would it work with the layout?
4. Check out the area, as well as just the display home
The home is obviously your main priority, but you should check out the area it’s in as well. No matter how nice the house is, if it’s in an area that doesn’t suit you, it might not be worth buying.
You should think about whether you need shops or schools nearby, ask what the crime rate is like. If you end up buying in an area that makes life difficult for you, you wont be able to appreciate your new home as much.
5. Ask for a fixed price
Home builders can often be sneaky with ‘estimated’ prices, meaning that you can be unsure of exactly how much you’ll be spending. This is why it’s important that you ask for a fixed price. Work out whether you just want the standard home package, or if you want any upgrades, and ask for a fixed quote. This will allow you to work out whether or not it’s within your budget.
6. Energy efficiency
A lot of show homes will have impressive lights and gadgets dotted around the house, and it’s easy to be sold on the prospect of a modern way of living, but one thing that people often forget to ask about is energy efficiency.
If there are lights dotted all around the property, you’ll undoubtedly end up paying more in electricity, and you won’t be doing the environment any favours. Home builders will be able to tell you if they have any energy efficient systems in place.
7. A quality garden
Gardens are often overlooked in show homes, as most of the emphasis lies within the house. But for those with children or pets, or even just those that enjoy relaxing in the backyard, gardens are hugely important.
So look out for a good quality garden when visiting a show home. Is the ground fairly flat? Is the soil fertile? Is it big enough? Remember, land is an investment, so even an average sized garden can be a good feature to look out for.
8. Ask about upgrades
When you look around a display home, most of the luxury you see will be a result of building upgrades. Gleaming countertops and lush carpets might cost you a lot more than the advertised price, so make sure to ask what features of the display home are upgrades. This will allow you to view more realistically.
9. Look for practicality
Rather than being sold just on the aesthetics of a display home, think about the practicality of the property. Are the bedrooms big enough? Is there enough storage space for all of your belongings? These are all things that could change your mind when considering a property.
10. Light fixtures
Light fixtures can be an impressive part of display homes. Chandeliers hanging over the kitchen or dining table. But think about whether the placement of these lights will work with the set up you’ll have with your furniture. Will the light fixtures sit so symmetrically or will they look out of place?
11. Natural light
It’s also important to consider natural light. Without a good amount of natural light, the house may look dark and gloomy without the work of interior designers. If you’ve got dark furniture this is definitely something you should look out for, as whilst it may seem light and open in the display home, when replaced with your own belongings you might find that it’s not what you expected at all.
12. A good build
In display homes, a lot of emphasis is placed on things within the home, rather than the actual house itself. You should check that the actual build is durable and strong, otherwise you might find your new home isn’t such a worthwhile investment. Check that the window and door fittings look strong and well fitted, and look out for any signs of damp.
13. How many coats of paint have been used?
Asking how many coats of paint have been used will give you an indication of the cost of painting the home, and will also give you an idea about the wall beneath. If they’ve used a lot of layers, you might want to ask why.
14. Ask what the standard home would include
It’s easy to fall in love with the upgrades, but if you’re on a budget, you should ask what the standard home would include. This way you’d be able to make your decision based on a realistic expectation.
You could then work out from there whether or not you wanted or could afford to pay for any of the upgrades.
15. Good testimonials from the builder
You should always ask for testimonials from the home builder working on your potential home. Whilst there are a lot of reliable and trustworthy builders that produce great work, there are also those that aren’t so great. If you’re having your entire home built, you want to make sure your home builder is one you can trust to build you a home that will last.
16. How many homes are they building?
Asking how many newly built homes there will be will give you an indication of how built up the area will be. Also, if they’re building a lot of new homes, you can trust that they’re a company that’s done this before. If there’s only a few homes being built this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re less experienced. It might even mean that more time will go into each house. You should check that each house will be of the same quality of the display home.
17. How long will it take for you home to be built?
Buying a house is something that takes time, but so is building a house. You should ask how long it will take for your potential home to be built, so that you can decide if you’ll have enough time to get your affairs in order, or if you need a house quickly then you’ll know whether or not it will be ready in time for when you need it.
18. Can you buy the display home as it is?
Display homes are usually just to give you an idea of what your home could look like if you went with one of their houses, but you might be interested in buying the display home itself. This is something you should ask about if you’re interested, as there may be a longer wait until you can move in, and there may be a fair few terms and conditions, as well as a bigger price.
19. Check the plumbing
This is definitely something you should do, even more so if you decide to buy the display home itself, as taps and pipes may never have been used. You should check the quality of pipes and plumbing, and ask about the hot water system that will come with the house. No one wants to move into a new home and find themselves unable to have a decent shower.
So there are a lot of things you should check for in a display home, before you get carried away with the impressive interior design. But if you’ve asked all the questions you can think of, and a home ticks all of your boxes, that’s when you can let yourself be blown away!