Model Home Tours: What to Look For + Checklist

Are you in the market for a new home? If so, touring model homes in your area is a great way to kickstart your search. These carefully constructed showcase properties offer prospective buyers a glimpse into the aesthetics and design of future properties within a new home community. 


Model home tours are a valuable opportunity to envision the features and amenities you desire in your future property. However, navigating these tours can be daunting without proper preparation. We've crafted this informative guide to ensure you make the most of your next model home tour. 


Keep reading to gain insights into the world of model homes and receive a breakdown of what to anticipate during your tour. Within this guide, you’ll uncover expert tips for navigating a model home tour, including the essential questions you should ask your sales or real estate agent. 


Download our FREE PDF Model Home Tour checklist to help you prepare for your tour. 


What Is a Model Home?

Model homes are sample properties homebuilders use to showcase their work. These properties allow potential homebuyers to see the layout, features, customization options, and design of new construction homes before buying a home in a particular community.  


Homebuilders generally construct model homes to appeal to a wide array of homebuyers. Therefore, the floor plan of a model home will often be straightforward yet flexible enough to suit the various preferences of buyers in the area. Buyers can also purchase model homes themselves—typically once a community is near closeout.


What to Look For When Touring a Home

During a model home tour, it’s essential to make note of the features you like and the ones you dislike. Bringing along a notebook is a great way to record your preferences. You should also take pictures and save any paperwork the sales agent provides to help you review details about the home and community later.

These are the most important features you should make note of when touring a model home: 

  • Quality of materials: Inspect critical areas of the home (flooring, cabinetry, countertops, doors, windows, etc.) to see if the homebuilder uses high-quality materials.  

  • Craftsmanship: Look past the decorations and assess the fine details of the home (molding, woodwork, electrical outlets, etc.) to get a feel for the homebuilder's skill and expertise. 

  • Floor plan and style: Assess the home’s floor plan and general style, and ask yourself if it will suit your needs and spark joy. You can also ask your sales agent if different plans are available to find the perfect floor plan. 

  • Community: While driving to and from your model home tour, assess the surrounding areas and make note of any necessary resources (grocery stores, hospitals, schools, police department, etc.). How you feel about the surrounding community can be just as important as the home you live in. 

Whether a new homebuilder or a seasoned company built the model home you are touring, you should carefully inspect the home’s quality, craftsmanship, and general style. You can also ask your sales agent or Realtor questions to gather more information during your tour. More on this below!


6 Questions to Ask When Touring a Model Home 

When you’re touring a model home, it may be difficult to simultaneously take in all the home’s features and formulate questions on the spot. So, here are a few questions you can come prepared with to help you make the most of your visit: 

  1. What are the different floor plans you offer? Explore the array of floor plans available from the homebuilder and request details (square footage, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.) from the sales agent regarding the distinctions between each layout. 
  2. What features does the home include? Seek clarification from your sales agent regarding which amenities are standard and which are premium additions.
  3. Are there any upgrade options? Discover what upgrades are possible. For example, can a half bathroom be upgraded to a full bathroom? Ask your sales agent to identify areas within the home that are customizable and discover the associated costs.
  4. Do all homes come with a warranty? Clarify warranty details. Most new build homes come with a warranty, but this warranty may only cover specific areas of the house for a specified period. 
  5. What is the financing process? Learn more about the financing process. Most homebuilders work with preferred lenders, but you are not required to work with these lenders. 
  6. What school district is the community in? Gauge details of the community to assess its suitability for your needs and lifestyle. 

Model Home Tour Checklist

Follow this checklist to make the most of your next model home tour. You can also download a FREE PDF version of this checklist to help you stay on track during your tour. 


Develop your wish list

Before touring a model home, you should develop a wish list. This wish list should outline the essential features you desire in your dream home and distinguish between non-negotiables and desirable upgrades. Additionally, consider including a list of amenities you wish to have within the surrounding community.

Keep an open mind

You should use your wish list to remind you of the key features you would like your home to have, but the wish list shouldn’t prevent you from keeping an open mind. While touring a model home, you may encounter features you had never considered or ones you disliked until seeing them in person. Keeping an open mind is critical to getting the most out of a model home tour. 

Pack your bag

While you won’t need to pack an entire toolkit, there are some items you should take with you on a model home tour. Consider packing these items: 

  • Pen or pencil
  • Notebook
  • List of questions (or pdf guide)
  • Camera (or smartphone)
  • Tape measure
  • Comfortable footwear

Inspect the home

During a model home tour, you should note your preferences and inspect critical areas of the home to see if they suit your taste. Here’s a recap of the features you should inspect: 

  • Quality of materials 
  • Craftsmanship
  • Floor plan and style
  • Community

Ask questions

Asking questions during your model home tour is a great way to gather more information to help you make an informed decision when the time comes. Consider formulating questions before your tour as you research the housing community, floor plans, and surrounding community. Here is a recap of some standard questions to ask during your next tour: 

  • What are the different floor plans you offer? 
  • What features does the home include? 
  • Are there any upgrade options? 
  • Do all homes come with a warranty?
  • What is the financing process? 
  • What school district is the community in? 

Take pictures

Taking pictures during a model home tour may seem like an extra step, but it can come in very handy. By doing so, you can review notable areas of the home after your tour. Here are some areas of a home you might photograph during a tour: 

  • Front yard
  • Entranceway
  • Living room
  • Kitchen
  • Bathrooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Basement 
  • Backyard

Model Home Tours FAQ

What should I consider when taking model home tours?

When taking a model home tour, it’s essential to consider various elements and factors to determine if the home and community are suitable for you. During the tour, you should assess the quality of materials, craftsmanship, floor plan, home style, and community. You should also ask your sales agent about home warranties, upgrade options, and financing options.  


What is the difference between a spec home and a model home? 

Some homebuilders use the term “spec home” to distinguish model homes buyers can purchase after they are listed. Other homebuilders use the term model home exclusively. Spec homes can also refer to other completed homes that might be available to tour in a community, even if they’re not fully equipped with furniture and appliances like a true model home. If you are interested in buying a model home you recently toured, you should ask your sales agent if the space is for sale and when it will be listed. 


What is the difference between a model home, a model house, and a show house? 

Model homes, model houses, and show houses are all the same. These terms are all synonyms and refer to a sample home used by homebuilders to showcase the aesthetics and design of properties in a community.


Can you take a virtual tour of a model home?

Many homebuilders offer virtual 3D tours. However, the possibility of taking virtual tours of the model homes you are interested in will depend on the offerings of those homebuilders. Also, virtual walkthroughs are great for out-of-state individuals and others who can't make it to an in-person tour, but they are not a one-for-one substitute for the real thing. 


Should I buy a pre-owned home or new construction?

Many homebuyers struggle to decide between buying a new or pre-owned home. The best decision will come down to personal preferences and availability, but new construction does offer some compelling benefits, including personalization, location, energy efficiency, and lower maintenance costs. 

The statements contained herein discuss general factors and do not constitute professional, investment and/or financial advice.


This is not an offering of property to residents in any jurisdiction that may have restrictions on interstate offerings of real estate, unless the property has been so registered, qualified or exemptions are available. It is the intent of Century to sell its residential homes pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (15 U.S.C. 1701, et seq.).