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Considering Buying A Show Home? Here Are The Pros and Cons

Posted 1 January 2023 by Keith Osborne

Like the idea of moving into a new property? Here are the advantages and disadvantages of buying a show home...

If you’re thinking of buying a new-build property, you might have considered buying a developer’s show home.

Show homes can be ready to move into straight away and are often built to a high specification. However, there can be also downsides to buying the showpiece property. Keep reading to see all the advantages and disadvantages of buying a show home.

What is a show home?

On a new development, a housebuilder will often build a ‘show home’ to use as a real-life advertisement for their work. Rather than trying to imagine a new home based on plans and designs, you can actually see a finished property.

Show homes are often built to a good standard and illustrate how a typical property on a new development will look. They are designed to show off the builder’s credentials and to convince you to buy one of their new homes.

It’s brand-new in the sense that no one has lived there, but it will be decorated and fitted out to show potential buyers how the finished article looks.

Once the developer has finished marketing the new homes, they no longer have a need for a show home and will typically sell it. There are various arguments for and against buying a show home, and if you’re considering doing so keep reading for the pros and cons.

Show home at Barratt Homes' Deers Rise March 2023The advantages of buying a show home

There are some very good reasons for considering the purchase of a show home:

  • The housebuilder is trying to make the property look as good as possible, and a show home will often have a top-of-the-range kitchen and bathroom, high-quality flooring and windows, and superior fittings.
  • In addition, you’ll also find that show homes are professionally decorated by an interior designer. This means you’ll often benefit from extras such as carpets, curtains or even hanging artwork. You may also be able to buy the furniture that is dressing the property, and the garden may also have been professionally landscaped. All this may be included in the asking price.
  • On a practical level, buying a show home means that you can inspect every aspect of the property and check the workmanship before you buy. You get to see how the property actually looks, rather than trying to imagine from a floor plan or designs.
  • Finally, as a builder will normally only sell the show home once they have sold all the other properties on the development, you may not be living near a building site for months!

The disadvantages of buying a show home

While there are lots of good reasons to consider buying a show home, you should always take the following into account:

  • You’re buying a property that has been completed by the builder, so you won’t be able to personalise any fixtures and fittings such as the kitchen or bathroom.
  • A show home could have been built for months before the developer sells it. It may have experienced significant wear and tear from hundreds of potential purchasers looking around. You’ll need to make sure you provide the builder with a comprehensive snagging list detailing any issues (see below).
  • As show homes are designed to ‘sell’ the rest of the development, they are often built very quickly in order to give buyers something to look around. This can mean that the quality of the build can suffer, and as the property is unoccupied some issues can go unnoticed.
  • Show homes could have been open for months or even years, and so items will be second-hand. For example, the boiler may have been run solidly for months, meaning you’re buying it ‘used’ and it may have less time left on the warranty. You may also benefit from less coverage under other warranties.
  • A show home is typically built at the entrance to a development, so your road may be busier than other streets on the estate.
  • The show home car park is often where the final house in the development is built, so you may experience disruption for a few months while a new property is built right next door.

Show home at Keepmoat Homes' Glenvale ParkWhat you should do if you’re thinking of buying a show home

Having taken the pros and cons into account, if you’re still thinking of buying a show home it’s important that you don’t rush into the purchase.

Spend some time in the house making sure that’s it has the right layout for you. While a developer may have gone to town on the fixtures and fittings, they may not be right for you and your family.

For example, a huge open fire and fireplace may look appealing to potential buyers, but is it something you’d really want in your home?

Make sure also that you inspect the property carefully and provide a full list of work to the developer – and try to make sure this is completed before you move in. Examples of work that may need to be undertaken include:

  • carpets to be professionally cleaned
  • walls and other surfaces to be repainted if they have been scuffed or marked
  • ensuring appliances are all in good working order

If you want to be completely sure that you haven’t missed anything, you can consider hiring a professional. Specialist companies can carry out a complete snagging survey on your new home, giving you a comprehensive list of items that you can take up with your builder.

Getting an expert to look over a show come can flag up defects that may cost you hundreds of pounds to fix yourself once you have moved in.


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