Questions to Ask When Touring a New Model Home


Large white model home

Once you've decided it's time to purchase a new home, you'll likely want to tour some houses to determine what you want and what is available to you. Model homes are a great way to not only see the most popular floor plans, but also the latest in appliances and housing features. When touring a new model home, it's important to have some information and know what to expect, in addition to asking questions as you plan your custom build.

What is a Model Home?

Model homes are the first new homes built in a subdivision. The model home is typically shown off to potential buyers looking to build their own new home so that they can see the layout and possible customizations the builder is offering for that subdivision.

Optionally, model homes themselves can also be bought. The bonuses are that they are ready to move into, meaning you don't have to wait for the house to be constructed, and that they are built with some of the best features in the neighborhood. Often, the model will showcase current trends and features prevalent in the housing market, such as an updated kitchen, flexible space, smart home technology, a large yard and more.

The layout of a model home is optimized to appeal to a wide variety of people. Builders don't take chances experimenting with different layout designs, so the location of doors, entryways, hallways, etc., will make sense and will make living there comfortable.

Whether you’re thinking of buying the model home itself or designing your home based on the model, it’s important to have some questions in the back of your mind as you’re attending model home tours.

What to Look for When Touring a Model Home

During your tour, make sure to take notes of the features you like and dislike. Take photos too! This will come in handy if you are touring multiple homes.

  • The Craftmanship: Check out the molding and woodwork of the actual house rather than getting too fixated on the furniture and design elements, which will obviously not be the same. It can be helpful to imagine your furniture in the space.  
  • The Home Style: There are many different architectural styles, and you’ll want to get a feel for which style fits you and your family.
  • The Community: While the floor plan is an important aspect of touring a house, you also have to consider the community in which the house is located. Keep in mind the school district in the area, amenities available on the property and within the community, proximity to grocery stores and shopping centers, in addition to rules of the community.
  • The Handouts and Plans: When you tour a model home, you’ll likely be given some paperwork. Take it and examine it – it will have far more details than you might remember in one visit.

In addition to observing these important elements, it may be helpful to keep a checklist handy, along with a list of questions you’ll need to be answered by the end of the trip.

10 Questions to Ask When Touring a Model Home

It can be hard to come up with questions while you're taking in all of the features of the home, while also envisioning your future there, so here's a list of questions to ask when touring a house in a new subdivision:

  1. How many floor plans do you offer? Get a feel for what the most popular plans are and why. Ask for the realtor to show you how the floor plans are different (by pointing out specific rooms, etc.).
  2. What features come standard and what is an upgrade? Ask details on which elements of a model home are standard and which are add-ons, as it will help you envision what your home will look like.  
  3. How long is the warranty? New build houses usually come with a 10-year warranty, but model homes, if you’re looking to buy them, may have a shorter warranty.
  4. Is there a homeowner’s association (HOA)? If so, what are the fees and what do they include? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 558,000 out of 903,000 new construction homes in the United States were in a homeowner's association. HOA's often have fees and restrictions, so keep this in mind as you're house hunting.
  5. How does the financing process work? Homebuilders will work with preferred lenders who can help point you towards the right resources and streamline the process, but you aren't obligated to work with these lenders.
  6. What will the yard space be like? When a model home is in a brand-new neighborhood, it can be hard to gauge where each yard will end and begin.
  7. Can we see a spec of the floor plan? This allows you to see what the house would look like unfurnished and can help you imagine how your sofa, decor and pictures will fit in the house.
  8. How much do upgrades or customizations cost? Make sure you know your budget walking into the house, then you'll know if you have room in your budget for any upgrades.
  9. What do you do for fun around here? Get a feel for what amenities are nearby and if those features fit into your lifestyle.
  10. When do model homes go on sale? If you’re looking at buying the model home itself, ask! These homes will go on sale once the original model home has brought in enough buyers to fill up the subdivision.

If you’re wondering, "What new model homes near me are open today?" connect with our team to find the nearest open houses. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, we frequently show off some of the most beautiful open model homes nearby. Ask for a tour today!