As outlined in our recent article about retirement planning, it’s never too early to start researching builders or touring model homes when you have a destination in mind. To help make sure that you get the most out of your visit to our model homes we’ve reached out to our Online Home Advisors and New Home Specialists to gather some recommendations for your visit. Before we discuss planning the visit, here is a quick checklist of items to bring along with you.
- Paper and Pen
- A tape measure
- A camera or smartphone
- Your pre-visit notes
You’re unique and the qualities you demand in a new home are unique as well. When you’re planning your initial visit you should make a list of features that are “Wants” and “Needs.” The “Needs” should be items that are requirements for your lifestyle. Things like, square footage, number of bedrooms, garage space, and number of floors all fall in this category. If you’ve always dreamed of restoring classic cars you shouldn’t have to sacrifice that dream because a home you’ve toured doesn’t offer the garage space you need. “Wants,” on the other hand, are those things that you’d love to have if your budget allows. These are items like flooring choices, fixtures, appliances, or even some structural items like bay windows and walk-in showers. Keep in mind that home prices generally rise over time, so take care to have a practical expectation for what your budget will allow for in the future. Make sure to leave space in your “Wants” and “Needs” sections for features you may discover during your tour.
Compose a list of questions that you have about the builder, the homes, and the area and leave space for the answers. This will help ensure that you won’t forget to ask those important questions.
One final item to consider for your pre-visit notes is the furniture you have already or may anticipate purchasing. If you have large, uncommon, or uniquely shaped furniture you should take measurements to ensure that those pieces will comfortably fit in the space that’s available.
Your First Walkthrough
The reason this section is titled “Your First Walkthrough” is that you should plan on touring the models you’re interested in twice during the same visit. You should first introduce yourself to one of our New Home Specialists and then head over to the models. Exploring the models on your own will ensure that you have ample time to take notes, identify new “Wants” and “Needs,” and envision how you will use the space. This will also give you an opportunity to break out the tape measure if you have any concerns about those furniture dimensions you wrote down in your pre-visit notes. Your first tour is also the perfect time to take pictures. Your pictures should include design features you’ve noted, styles that you may want to recreate when visiting the Design Center, and anything else that might inspire you. After you take your time really exploring the models and taking notes, it’s time to bring those notes to a New Home Specialist.
Your Second Walkthrough
Your second walkthrough will be with one of the New Home Specialists and presents the opportunity to ask questions and explore the model in more detail. This is the time to ask both the questions you prepared in your pre-visit notes as well as any that may have arisen during your first walkthrough. This is also a great time to bring up any questions you may have about the surrounding area, to request printed materials from the office, or even ask for restaurant recommendations.
After Your Visit
Once you’ve completed your walkthrough of the model homes you have one final place to explore: the neighborhood itself. Take a few minutes to drive or walk around the neighborhood. Speaking to the neighbors can give you insight into their experience with the builder and the homebuilding process as well as the community itself. It also gives you a chance to discuss some of the features that your future neighbors chose to install and their favorite parts about their homes.
Touring a model home can be a lot to take in. With thoughts about how to put rooms to use, how to design those rooms, what upgrades to invest in, and even how to decorate, it can be easy to overlook items that may be important to you in hindsight. Taking clear notes and lots of pictures will help make the process easier and our interactive floorplans can provide answers to questions about room dimensions online. But don’t worry. If you happen to come up with a question after you’ve left the models our Online Home Advisors are only a click away.