Homebuyers Handbook: Visiting Display Homes

If there is anything more exciting and inspiring than visiting display homes, I’ve yet to hear about it. ‘Walk-throughs’ are the ideal way to catch up on current building trends as well as garner ideas on interior design and innovative lifestyle enhancements. Whether you are in the market to build or just starting out on the home buying journey, display homes in and around Sydney are bursting with inspiration.

If you are planning to do the rounds of display homes this weekend, get the most out of your experience by preparing beforehand. Instead of randomly visiting display centres, hone in on the ones which tick all your boxes. How is this done?


Before stepping out your front door, arm yourself with a targeted list of homes which meet your tastes and needs. The majority of home builders provide substantial online floorplans, design photos and interior layouts of their Sydney display homes. This enables you to pinpoint the specific builder’s products which best suit your family and building block.

Look for builders who have flexibility in their designs. This is particularly important if you have a tricky block, inconvenient easements or have an issue with ‘overlook’ to neighbouring properties.

Take some time

Unless you are just visiting display centres to gather some decorating ideas, it is advisable to book an appointment with a consultant, in advance. This gives you the luxury of time spent with a knowledgeable resource who can give you a clear understanding of how the builder operates and their processes.

Many people recommend taking the whole family along when attending display centres but this may be a distraction. Kids will be drawn to features of a home which may not necessarily be part of the purchase price or practical. To make an informed decision devoid of distractions, it may be advisable to shortlist your favourite homes prior to taking the kids along.

Closely inspect the workmanship of the home and if possible, similar homes built by the same builder on that estate.

Understanding inclusions and upgrade

One of the biggest misunderstandings people come across when visiting display homes is the divide between what you are looking at and what is actually provided in the base price of the home. Getting this clear from the outset can avoid a lot of angst down the track.

That swimming pool the kids immediately fell in love with is unlikely to be part of the base purchase price so be prepared to look past the gorgeous facade and see what is really on offer. Some companies will do a price for a turnkey package which may include things such as water features and landscaping and these may be surprisingly affordable and definitely easier than DIY.

Remember it may be cheaper to pay for upgrades rather than have to go back and retrofit. An example of this is the lighting. You may find that the base price only provides bayonet light fittings which you would immediately want to be changed anyway. Consider the cost of retrofitting against upgrading.

If you think you may want a swimming pool at a later date, it may be worth having plumbing and electrical works done at the time of the home’s construction. Consider potential rear access requirements when planning the orientation of your home.

Question time

Take a notebook and ASK, ASK, ASK! There are no stupid questions when it comes to investing a substantial amount of money into a new home. Some key points to cover should be:

  • The credentials of the builder including testimonials, time in the industry, past projects, insurances and post-completion warranties
  • Standard inclusions and upgrades, down to the finest details such as:
    • the location and quantity of power points provided and the unit cost of additionals
    • types of light fittings and window treatments
    • materials used in benchtops, tap fittings and finishes
    • flooring 
    • facade
    • landscaping
    • fencing

  • Timing of the build through each phase including payment schedules and expected handover

  • Clarifying exactly what is included in the quoted price and what is not.

Avoid being lured in by sales hype. Investigate any sale packages thoroughly to ensure they contain real, quantifiable value.

The goal of every display home visit should be to gain the utmost insight into the finest offerings from each builder and to form a clear comparison base to work from. By preparing yourself well prior to each inspection, you are giving yourself the optimum opportunity to select and build a home which will suit you and your family’s needs, tastes, lifestyle and budget.

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