Choosing a Model Home Floor Plan: Details You Don’t Want to Overlook

A year ago, my husband and I, with assistance from an excellent real estate agent, chose a model home floor plan and had a house built. We enjoyed choosing colors, brick, trim, floor treatments, cabinets, counter tops, and hardware. We bought a few upgrades: a premium lot, full-property sod, hardware from nickel to bronze, a covered porch, and a utility sink. We are delighted with our new home, but have noticed a few details, since moving in, that we should’ve been more aware of in the planning stages.
This article is not about major home features or legalities. We hired a well-respected real estate agent, had an attorney check all documents and serve as our closing attorney, and had the house inspected before closing by a certified home inspector. Those professionals help with major considerations associated with building a home. This article is about the underlying details that might be overlooked when smitten with a glamorously decorated model home.

Following are questions to ask the sales representative, or you can find the answers for yourself by carefully examining a model home.

Is there anything in the model home that is not a standard feature?
You may fall in love with dark, rich cabinets in a model home and then find out they are only available as an upgrade. The same may be true for the covered porch. Upgrades raise the price of the home. Before giving earnest money, make sure you’re getting what you think you are. Take plenty of pictures in case of a dispute.

Are the tubs a standard size?
I couldn’t believe it the 1st time I took a bath in the main bathroom. The tub is not long enough for an adult to lie fully back in and is not wide enough for adult arms to lie in the water. For us, this bathroom is adequate, because we use the bigger master bath. If we had children at home, the size of the tub would be a problem. If you wonder about tub or shower size, measure them, or better yet, climb in and check the fit.

How much wall space will I have in the bathrooms and the kitchen?
If you have a beautiful antique wash basin that you want to put in your bathroom, or an heirloom clock that always hangs in the kitchen, you want to make sure there’s space for them. Try not to focus on model home interior decoration. Instead, visualize your furnishings and decorative items in the space. Too many people say, “I wish I’d thought of that,” after closing on a home.

How big are the closets and is there adequate storage?
Closets in older homes tend to be much larger. Check the measurements of the closets to make sure you’re satisfied with their size and storage capacity.

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Is the wall paint washable?
Interior walls are often sprayed using non-washable, water-based paint. Water-based paint smudges if you try and remove a spot; therefore, spots have to be painted away.

How big is the pantry?
Pantry size may not seem so important when you’re in love with a model home, but after move-in, pantry size becomes a big deal. Try not to compromise on things that will annoy you later.

How big is your furniture and how wide are interior door frames?
This is a detail that is easily overlooked. You may plan to put a couch in a room at the end of a hall, but discover that narrow interior door frames make it impossible. Measure door frames. Ask the builder if they can be widened, if needed.

What’s the downside of faux wood?
We chose faux wood for our kitchen. It’s beautiful, easy to clean, and durable. It does have one drawback. The boards are not glued; they’re interlocked. If liquids get spilled on the floor, they can warp the boards. We didn’t realize this when we chose faux wood. We use area rugs to protect the floor. We clean with a special laminate floor cleaner, called Bona. We try to keep the floor dry, but kitchen spills inevitably happen. A tile floor might have been a better choice, even though we love the look of faux wood.

Are electrical outlets where you need them?
Open floor plans often present outlet problems. This is a principle area where a decorated model home can be misleading. One model home decorator placed a beautiful lamp on an end table, but the lamp’s cord had been removed. Why? Because there’s no outlet anywhere near the lamp. The room couldn’t be decorated, as shown, without cords running across the floor.

Many homes feature an open office just inside the front door. Decorators decorate the room to make it look spacious and elegant. You have to look past the decor. Picture your desk, computer equipment and all the electrical cords that’ll be visible for everyone to see when they come to visit.

Evaluate every room in the house and make sure outlets are where you need them. Remember, builders often are willing to modify their plans to accommodate reasonable changes.

Thus, interior designers are hired by builders not only to make model homes look beautiful, but also to camouflage any potential problems. It’s vital to look past decoration in order to uncover functional details that affect daily living. Paying attention to details helps transform a model home floor plan into the beautiful and functional home of your dreams!

Source: Personal Experience

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