When you visit a showhome, you’re often seeing the best the builder has to offer. After all, they want you to buy their homes. With so many features, floor plans, and models to take in, it's easy to become distracted.
Because a new home is one of the largest investments you'll ever make, it’s smart to do a little preparation ahead of time to avoid missing out on information that could help you make the best decision. To help you with this, we've readied a few questions you'll want to consider asking when you visit a showhome.
1. How Much Would This Home Cost?
Architectural details, design choices, and even the location of the home can all have an effect on the price you pay. A builder will typically advertise their homes “start from” a certain price, but once you select a few upgrades, the actual price might be higher. Since showhomes tend to have a lot of upgrades, the prices may be significantly higher than the price you’re imagining.
Be sure to ask an Area Manager how much the home you’re looking at will cost. It’s helpful to tour a home with many of the standard features to get a better sense of what the lower-priced homes look like.
2. What’s the Process for Purchasing?
If you think you might be interested in purchasing from a particular builder, ask about the process. You’ll need to know things like what you'll need to start a contract, when you’ll have to make customization decisions, and how long it will take to build the home. This process varies from builder to builder, so don’t assume you know how it works if you’ve already talked to one builder.
3. What's Available Now?
If you’re in a rush to move in, you’ll be happy to know many builders offer quick possession homes that are completed or nearing completion. You’ll get the same new home warranty and modern style that come with a brand-new home without having to wait for it to be built from the ground up.
Condo buildings and townhome communities are more likely to have available quick possession homes because the builder can’t halt construction simply because there are still a few units to sell. This can be a good way to get a deal on a home you can move into immediately.
4. Which Models/Features/Communities Are Popular?
It’s important to buy a home that has the layout and amenities you need. You also want a home that gives you an easy commute to work. However, if you’re thinking about selling this home in the future, it’s smart to get a sense of what types of things others are looking for. Having certain features can help your home retain or increase its value over the years.
5. Are There Any Additional Monthly Fees?
Some condo communities require residents to pay condo fees. These cover the costs of exterior and grounds maintenance, along with the maintenance of other resources within the community. New condo communities tend to have lower fees and increasing your down payment or cutting back on a few upgrades are always options to make your home more affordable.
6. Can I Get a Copy of the Community Guidelines?
Condo bylaws exist to make sure all residents can enjoy their new homes. These rules might restrict the size or type of pet you can get, indicate “quiet hours” so residents can get their sleep, or limit where you and your guests can park cars.
Before you commit to buying a home in a community, you need to be sure you can live with the rules. Taking a copy of the rules home means you’ll have the time you need to thoroughly understand what they’ll mean for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there’s something you don’t understand.
7. What Happens If I Change My Mind?
Choosing to build a new home is a commitment, but the length of time between signing the contract and moving in sometimes means people start to regret some of the decisions they’ve made. Talk to the builder about what happens if you change your mind. When it’s a minor change like wanting a different type of flooring or a different colour on the walls, you can probably make the changes if the builder hasn’t already started the installation. However, big changes like cancelling your purchase may not be possible. Get a feel from the builder about what can happen when you change your mind.
The Area Managers at the showhomes you visit are well-versed in all aspects of the home building process. Use them as a valuable resource to get the information you need to make your decision.