Model homes have become synonymous with illustrating a vision of what life could be like for prospective homebuyers.
A large kitchen and spacious family room echo thoughts of holiday gatherings, while the perfect primary suite sparks images of an oasis for self-care. But there’s more to it than turnkey entry.
Buyers can be confronted with seemingly limitless choices when purchasing a model home, and customization doesn’t come cheap; plus, some say that the process isn’t always smooth. But from multimillion-dollar houses to affordable housing complexes, there’s a model home for everyone.
After living in Merrick for 35 years, Susan and Scott Horowitz, 62, and 67, respectively, decided to purchase a home in Florida six years ago to use as a winter season and retirement property. It wasn’t until some of their friends moved into Country Pointe in Plainview that they considered a new location back home.
“We were familiar with it [Country Pointe] and I liked the idea that it was a community, perfect for us for this stage in life,” said Susan Horowitz, a retired teacher who shared that she and her husband, who owns a food distribution company, paid more than $1 million for the Madison Home model, with an additional $50,000 in upgrades. Although the options are costly, Horowitz was experienced in looking at model homes, having done so for her Florida property.
“The value was there for a model home, but the other big consideration was the fact that I know people moving there now and into other properties who are having a hard time getting in,” she said.
The couple purchased the model as a move-in ready home, including furniture and décor pieces. They kept all the appliances, because new ones were back-ordered due to COVID and high demand.
“Brand-new construction with a new kitchen that was move-in ready — where else can you go and do that? It was a good situation for us,” said Horowitz, who closed on her home at the end of last year.
“People want simple and convenient, especially the 65 and older population,” said Irene Rallis, a licensed associate broker with Douglas Elliman. “New, clean, no issues — and they can get that all for a reasonable price.” She noted that many buyers are snowbirds looking for a smaller living space while they are on the Island.
“Homeowners can view a model home purchase like this as a good investment,” she said. “The carefree and downsizing mentality applies to both populations who are looking for model homes: they want move-in ready and maintenance-free.”
Michael Dubb, founder and CEO of the Beechwood Organization, which developed Country Pointe, said the purpose of the model home is to give the potential homebuyer a sense of what they can do or purchase with the model home.
“We have a certain type of buyer; some fall in love with the model and just want that, while others will make changes, such as a different color kitchen or countertop or different wooden floor,” he said.
There are up to a dozen models at Country Pointe Plainview — ranging from 1,200 to 3,000 square feet — with prices starting in the high $700,000s to $1.5 million. According to Dubb, who partners with his son, Steven, a fully furnished home includes everything from lighting fixtures and furniture to knickknacks, bedding and window treatments. The process of making decisions on a model home begins at purchase and ends right before drywall goes up.
According to Dubb, and in Horowitz’s own experience, everything cost-wise is transparent. Homebuyers are given the information upfront of what the property comes with and what each additional project or upgrade will cost. Homeowners association fees and taxes are other costs, but they are not surprise expenses.
The allure of a model home is peace of mind. “When you buy a new home, there’s no mystery,” Dubb said. “It comes with a warranty, the customer service is there, and all of the bugs are taken out of it. When you buy a resale, you don’t know what’s going on behind the walls of the house.”
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