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The Art of Touring Model Homes – How to Do It Right

The Art of Touring Model Homes – How to Do It Right
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Everybody loves taking a peek at new model homes! The 2023 Rio Grande Valley Builders Association (RGVBA) Parade of Homes, on June 3-4 and June 10-11, is a perfect opportunity to go tour the latest model home masterpieces by Valley builders. But touring a model home is not as simple as you might think—it is an art of its own. You should know how to tour a home to get the most out of your visit. Keep reading to learn the most essential things about model home touring.

What Is a Model Home?

A model home is a fully constructed house that you can tour in person, rather than just online. This allows you to walk through the actual floorplan offered by the homebuilder and evaluate the beauty and quality of their work with your own eyes.

What Will You Find at a Model Home?

When you arrive at a model home, a sales agent and perhaps even the builder may greet you at the door. If so, they will be available to answer your questions about the home’s layout and features. They can take you through every room and show you what everything looks like. As you tour the home, the sales agent will likely explain to you various options you can choose if you decide to have the home built for yourself—such as changes in floorplans, color schemes, appliances, and more. The model home will very likely be furnished and decorated to show potential buyers what living in it could be like.

Tips for Touring a Model Home

Here are a few ideas on how to use your time wisely while touring model homes.

Make a Checklist and Take It with You: Are there features you must have in your future home? For example, if natural gas is important to you, find out whether the community offers natural gas.
Perhaps you need four bedrooms or lots of storage space. Make a list of the must-haves and take it with you to compare it against any homes you tour.

Determine Your Price Range: Work with a mortgage counselor before you tour a model home to find out how much you can afford to pay. Be sure to only tour those houses that fit within your budget.

Ask Permission to Take Photos: It would be nice to take photos, but before shooting photos or video, it is best to first ask for permission. Not every sales agent or builder is open to the idea. It’s a simple courtesy and your host will greatly appreciate your tact.

Take Notes: If you tour more than two model homes, you should take notes about what you like and dislike in each. Often it’s easiest to pick up a brochure as you walk in and make your notes on it. This will make your decision later much easier.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions: The sales agent or builder is there to help you gather the information you need in order to make the right decision for you and your family. Be sure to take advantage of their knowledge by asking any questions you may have. You may even want to ask them if there was something you forgot to bring up during the tour that would be important to know.

Drive Around the Community: Is the community a place in which you’d enjoy living? Does it have a playground for your kids? Nice landscaping? Are there schools and supermarkets close by? Before you leave the neighborhood, drive around to check whether you can find everything you want and need.

Have Fun: Touring model homes and dreaming about your future house should be enjoyable. So, most of all, remember to have fun! With these things in mind, you will be well-equipped to start perfecting the art of touring model homes. Why not go put your skills to the test at the Parade of Homes? One of the model homes might just be what you’ve always been looking for!

These are all helpful points to review as you tour model homes. But be sure to also gather information about each builder. In particular, ask builders if their homes comply with the State of Texas building code that requires a blower door test and a duct leakage test, and then ask to see the results. These tests are great for predicting the home’s energy performance. If you get lucky and discover your home has a BUILT TO SAVE® certificate, you don’t have to question the builder any further. The home has been verified by an independent home energy Rater to meet the high-performance requirements of the BUILT TO SAVE® program. Buying a new home certified as BUILT TO SAVE® is not just about saving money on utilities—it’s about improved comfort, indoor air quality, durability, and a good resale value if you ever decide to sell.

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  You’ll want to make several copies of this checklist and fill one out for each home you tour. Then, comparing your ratings later will be easy.

THE HOME

• Square footage
• Number of bedrooms
• Number of baths
• Practicality of floorplan
• Closet/storage space
• Fireplace
• Internet
• Kitchen area
• Laundry area
• Exterior appearance, swimming pool
• Lawn/yard space
• Fence
• Patio/outdoor amenities
• Garage
• Energy efficiency certifications
• Flooring
• Ceilings

Good                    Average                   Poor

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THE NEIGHBORHOOD

• Appearance/condition of
nearby homes/businesses
• Traffic
• Noise Level
• Safety/security
• Perimeter fence/gated
• Number of children
• Pet restrictions
• Parking
• Zoning regulations
• Neighborhood restrictions/
covenants
• Fire protection
• Police
• Common areas
• Garbage service

Good                    Average                   Poor

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SCHOOLS

• Age/condition
• Reputation
• Quality of teachers
• Achievement test scores
• Play areas
• Curriculum
• Class size
• Busing distance

Good                    Average                   Poor

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CONVENIENCE TO:

• Supermarket
• Schools
• Work
• Shopping
• Child care
• Hospitals
• Doctor/dentist
• Recreation parks
• Restaurants/entertainment
• Church/synagogue
• Airport
• Highways
• Public transportation

Good                    Average                   Poor

☐                            ☐                            ☐

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The latest new home trends, up-and-coming neighborhoods, and more.

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