With all of the helpful online tools available to homebuyers today, why do builders go to the expense of constructing model homes and decorating them for public viewing?
While changing market conditions have seen a decrease in the number of model homes showcased in a given new home community, the model home is still an important component in the purchasing experience.
“Buying a home is a major financial and lifestyle decision, and as builders we want to offer every tool possible to make the process as easy and comfortable as possible for buyers,” says Anna Harmon, director of Marketing and Public Relations for Shodeen Homes. “A furnished model home helps buyers envision how space can be used to accommodate their possessions, and walking through the home gives a better perspective on how the home will live.”
Some model homes are “inventory homes” and are for sale, says Jeremy Lund, sales manager for Shodeen Homes.
“These inventory models are decorated with a neutral palette of colors, come with a warranty, and buyers can connect with the actual home they are buying. They can still choose some features such as crown molding on kitchen cabinets or decorative backsplashes. Shodeen Homes has found that this is a popular way to buy a home, especially for buyers with a tight timetable for their move,” he says.
Shodeen Homes is a respected homebuilder with communities throughout the Fox Valley and far western suburbs as well as in the Lake Geneva region of southern Wisconsin.
Model homes are especially useful for 55-and-more buyers, says Jeff Samuels, of Samuels Homes, who is offering luxury townhomes at Victoria Park in Libertyville.
“Our buyers want to establish an emotional connection with the home they are buying, and they like to spend time in a model home to be able to achieve total comfort with their decision,” Samuels says. “Our buyers are computer-literate and do preliminary research online, but they have owned other homes and they want the reality of touching features and evaluating the quality of what they are seeing. They value the opportunity to see the relationship of one room to another and to assess the size and scale of the rooms, traffic patterns and natural light. No digital photo can establish the connection these buyers want with the home they choose.”
“Buyers of upscale homes feel that there is no substitute for visiting a model home and visualizing how the home feels and lives,” says Joseph Balistreri, director of Business Development for the Ryan Building Group and Project Manager for North Shore Builders. “The Westleigh Farm model will showcase both quality standard features and special options. Buyers can see how their own furnishings will fit in the home and how the floor plan will work for their lifestyles. Virtual walk-throughs are helpful but they don’t reveal the intangible factors that motivate a buyer to choose a home.”
Westleigh Farm will include 34 upscale single-family homes on a scenic 47 acre site with gardens, ponds, orchards, walking paths and open space. North Shore Builders will build 26 ranches with finished lower levels and eight sites are set aside for design/build custom homes. Pre-grand opening prices start at $1.1 million and include a free three-car sideload garage.
The 4,700-square-foot model has an elegant French Eclectic exterior with a steep pitched roof, and stucco and stone exterior with painted wood trim. The home features an open concept main-floor living area, and a sampling of features include the finished look-out basement that includes a recreation room with bar, island and appliances, two bedrooms, exercise room and cigar room. Other special features include a screened-in deck off the master bedroom, a covered deck off the great room, a breakfast sunroom, and a site overlooking an orchard and the Howard Van Doren Shaw-designed stable that serves as the Country Estate entry. Freedom from lawn mowing and snow removal ensure a “lock and leave” lifestyle for those who travel frequently.”
Located on the site of the King Family Estate, said to be the inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic “The Great Gatsby,” Westleigh Farm also boasts a David Adler-designed clubhouse.