One of the most exciting things about the home buying journey is actually looking at homes. While it’s tempting to rush to a model home visit at your very first chance, that’s not always the most effective way to find the home of your dreams.
It’s a little bit like buying a car. If you walk into a dealership without thinking things through, you might come home with that high dollar two-seater instead of the SUV that’s a better fit for your lifestyle and budget. A model home visit can an extremely helpful experience, and you want to get the most of it by doing a little homework first.
List Wants and Needs
WestWind Homes builds new homes in McAllen, Laredo, Edinburg, Weslaco and other areas of Rio Grande Valley. We have a lot of model homes available and friendly staff who is eager to help you find the perfect fit. We can get you there sooner if we have a basic idea of what you’re looking for.
You’ll want to know more than just the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you require. If you’re shopping with a partner, sit down together and make a checklist, whether it’s electronic or on paper. Chart your wishes under what you absolutely must have and what would be nice if you could fit it in your budget.
Use This Checklist Starter
Before your model home visit, get your thought processes going with the following list.
- Home type – Single family detached or townhouse? What architectural style do you prefer?
- Location – How important is it your home be close to jobs, schools, the airport, outdoor recreation, shopping and dining?
- Bedrooms and bathrooms – How many of each?
- Layout – Do you want an open floor plan? Formal living room? Formal dining room? Walk-in closet in certain rooms? Do you need additional spaces for a home office or hobby room?
- Kitchen – How do you prioritize things like granite countertops, a breakfast bar, pantry space and a breakfast nook?
- Hard surfaces – What are your needs and wants in terms of flooring, bathroom surfaces and exterior building materials?
- Outdoor living – Do you want a big back yard or a small space with low maintenance? Do you need a fence, deck, patio or outdoor kitchen?
- Energy efficiency – How important is it to keep your heating and cooling costs down? What home features are you looking for to help accomplish this?
- Additional features – Do you want extra wide doorways, handicap accessible areas, an outbuilding or other feature?
Take Your Checklist
You put a lot into creating your list of needs and wants. Some people work hard on their checklist, but they don’t think to take it with them when they actually go to a model home visit. Put yours somewhere you won’t forget.
Preview What You’re About to See
As soon as you schedule a visit, you’re going to be over-the-top excited. Get a little sneak peek by previewing what you’re about to see if there are photos and videos available online.
WestWind Homes lists available floorplans and photos on our website. Another great place to find information is our Facebook pages. Discover new construction for sale in Rio Grande Valley and get a jump on your model home visit by browsing videos. Or see similar content on our WestWind Homes Laredo page.
As you look at photos and take videos, write down questions you have so you can ask during your model home visit.
Start Your Model Home Visit Ready to Take Notes
When you look at homes, the details you love and hate seem so vivid you expect you’ll remember them later. Usually, though, that isn’t the case. If you like pen and paper, bring a notepad. If not, your cell phone can be a powerful tool when it comes to capturing and retaining information.
The thing is, all our model homes are pretty great. Buyers think they love one home, then the next seems even better. By the time they’ve made a model home visit to a handful of options, it’s hard to recall what they liked about the first. We’ll schedule as many repeat visits as you like, but you probably want to make records of your first impressions.
Most people know within minutes whether a home is worth considering. If you think you might be interested, take photos and video of your own to record what you like. Even if you don’t like everything, note what you do. For example, if you know a floorplan doesn’t work for your family but you absolutely love the storage in the utility room and the kitchen countertops, write it down. All our homes can be customized in more ways than you would believe.
Don’t View Too Many At Once
Try to only schedule two or three model home visits at a time. After that, they all start to run together. You’re less focused, and you might end up rushing through a home with real possibilities because you’re getting tired, hungry and overwhelmed.
But Make a Model Home Visit to More than One
Sometimes a buyer falls in love on their very first model home visit. When that happens, we always try to encourage them to look at a few more, just to make sure they’re not missing out on something better.
Look Beyond Decor
Our design team is pretty incredible. They have an eye for how wall color, flooring, countertops and furnishings all work together. They know what accessories make our homes feel welcoming, and they use that knowledge to show each home to its best advantage.
That being said, try to look past furniture, window treatments and rugs if the home you’re touring is furnished. You can change those things, and you probably will want to change them over time. Focus on how the floorplan meets your lifestyle and on the quality of your Texas home builder’s work. Ask to tour an empty home if you have trouble visualizing it unfurnished.
Check Builder Reputation
It’s easy to get blown away during a model home visit by spacious layouts and new surfaces, but don’t forget to ask about the details that might be hidden. Find out what previous customers say about the builder, especially ones who have lived in their home for a few years. Check with your local BBB to see if anyone has filed complaints that went unresolved. Check out their work both completed and in progress to get a wholistic view of their quality of workmanship and materials. Find a builder that uses outside experts to produce certified construction.
Ask Questions Even After Your Model Home Visit
When you get home, you’re probably going to think of questions that didn’t occur to you during your model home visit. You should have contact information for the person who showed you the home. If it’s a WestWind Homes representative, he or she will be happy to answer your questions. You can also get in touch around the clock through our online concierge.
Ask questions about architectural options, design center choices, community amenities and so on. Understand what warranties your builder offers. Find out what’s included in home pricing and what’s an upgrade. You might also have questions about the home build process.