Are Model Homes Falling Out of Style?

January 11, 2016

The decorated model home may be waning in popularity as more builders look to slash it from their budgets.

“While the days are gone when a builder would feature several decorated models at each new-construction community, does that mean model homes are a thing of the past?” BUILDER Online asks in a recent article.

Some homebuilders say a model home is no longer necessary.

“Buyers today are extremely knowledgeable, so they don’t really need to walk through a decorated model to discover what it is they want. They know what they want,” says Andrew Kiener, director of project sales for Kinzie Real Estate Group, based in Chicago. “Plus, in the past it was common to see floor plans or model homes designed for certain buyers, like the empty nester or a family with two kids and a dog. But household dynamics have changed, so having a model represent a general demographic doesn’t really work anymore. Models just don’t fit into that equation.”

Kiener says that instead of touring model homes, buyers can view the builders’ quality of work by touring spec homes in progress or completed homes that are about ready to close.

“You can still show buyers a finished or nearly finished product without the cost of a model home,” Kiener says.

However, Brian Hoffman, an executive with Northbrook, Ill.-based builder Red Seal Homes, argues that builders need to continue building and decorating model homes.

“Buying a new home is the biggest purchase someone will ever make, and as builders, we need to offer every tool we can to help make that process easier and more comfortable,” Hoffman says. “We have been building homes for more than 80 years and while many things have changed, the need for a finished, decorated, show-ready home for your buyers hasn’t.”

Hoffman argues that even luxury buyers purchasing custom tend to like to view model homes as a starting point to view finish options and construction quality.

“It gives buyers a better appreciation for 9- versus 10-foot ceilings, or how the floor plan flows with the addition of a butler’s pantry,” Hoffman says. “Details that are just numbers and notations on a floor plan come to life when you walk into a great room that is complete with an inviting sofa and luxurious rug. It makes buyers feel at home, and that is important.”

What do you think? Do you think model homes are still necessary in new-home construction? Weigh in below.

Source: “Are Model Homes a Thing of the Past?” BUILDER Online (Dec. 4, 2015)