Buying the right home involves weighing many complex factors, especially given a house's substantial financial commitment. While custom-built and conventionally constructed residences provide the appeal of uniqueness and flexibility in design, model homes offer a value proposition that merits close consideration.

Model communities expertly showcase prototype dwellings that optimize livability and functionality within size and cost parameters intentionally aligned with market demand. However, discerning the raw economics of model home pricing versus other new construction approaches only superficially illuminates their comparative merits.

A holistic perspective demands deeper reflection on less tangible but equally consequential priorities like maintenance responsibilities, long-term appreciation potential, and stress-free move-in preparedness.

With so many viable new home choices available, this article examines the question: are model homes cheaper?

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The Basics of Model Homes

Model homes are pre-designed, pre-built properties that builders use to showcase their work to potential buyers. They are typically based on popular existing floor plans, and while they may have several upgrades and features, they fall below the custom or conventional homes' standard. Model homes are meant to reflect the builder's abilities and style while showing prospective buyers what they can expect from the builder should they choose to purchase a house from them.

Model homes are completely furnished, which gives buyers a feel of how it would be like to live in the house with the builder's provided layout. As a homeowner, this allows you to see how different furniture and designs work together and how they blend into the whole structure. You can also visualize how the provided layout will suit your needs in terms of spacing and practicality. Most model homes also showcase the latest design trends, allowing you to keep up with contemporary housing styles.

Another significant advantage of model homes is that they offer an excellent opportunity for budget-oriented homeowners. As stated earlier, model homes offer features and upgrades below conventional building standards. This includes finishes, countertops, and appliances. Such inclusions can considerably reduce your homeowner's budget without compromising quality.

When viewing a model home, it's essential to remember that it is meant to showcase the builder's abilities and style. While it may be a good representation of what to expect from the builder, it is not always a foolproof way of showing the quality of construction.

Note that model homes are built with cheaper materials and labor than custom homes. As a homeowner, you must ensure that the home properly reflects your needs, and working with a real estate agent or attorney to negotiate with the builder can help you achieve this.

Are Model Homes Cheaper Than Custom or Conventional Homes?

The question remains: Are model homes really cheaper than custom or conventional homes? Upon analysis, it is evident that one of the primary motivations for opting for model homes would be price. Model homes can be up to 20% less expensive when compared to a similarly designed custom-built home. There are a few reasons that would explain this cost difference.

Firstly, builders can leverage materials and labor across multiple projects, making the building process for each home more efficient. Additionally, builders can negotiate with suppliers based on the large volume of materials they purchase, allowing them to reduce the cost of materials.

Taken together, these factors result in more accessible pricing for model homes. However, it is important to remember that there may be trade-offs regarding customization options, and not all model homes may be cheaper than custom or conventional homes.

What are the Pros of Buying Model Homes?

Aside from the cost savings, there are other advantages to buying a model home. For one, you get to see the finished product before you buy it. This means that you have a better idea of what the house will look like when it's finally constructed, avoiding unpleasant surprises.

Additionally, model homes frequently come with high-end features and upgrades that would be costly or impossible to alter in a custom home.

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What are the Cons of Buying Model Homes?

As with anything in life, model homes also have their downsides. One is that models may not be located where a buyer wants to live. Model communities tend to be in suburban areas far from the central business district. As such, a buyer may have to pay additional fees to relocate the house to a different area, adding to the overall cost.

Also, because the home is already built, there are minimal changes you can make to the home's design or layout. You're stuck with the pre-designed layout or may have to pay exorbitant fees for customization.

Lesser-Talked-About Aspects

The Cost of Customization

One of the biggest advantages of model homes is that they come with a set design and upgrades, so you don't have to worry about the added customization costs. However, if you build a custom home, you can work with an architect to design one tailored to your wants and needs.

While this can be more expensive upfront, it may save you money in the long run as you won't need to spend money on remodeling or renovations.

The Long-Term Cost of Upgrades

While model homes may come with impressive upgrades, it's important to consider the long-term cost of maintaining and repairing these features. For example, high-end appliances and fixtures may be costly to repair or replace in the future.

In contrast, while custom or conventional homes may not come with all the bells and whistles of a model home, they may have more practical features that are easier to maintain and less costly to repair.

The Impact of Location

Model homes are often built in new developments or planned communities, which may include added perks such as community amenities and HOA fees. However, these areas may also have higher property values and taxes.

In contrast, custom or conventional homes may be situated in established neighborhoods with lower property values and taxes. It's important to weigh these factors when deciding where to purchase your home.

The Importance of the Homebuilder

Ultimately, the quality of your home will depend on the builder you choose. While model homes are often built by well-known national builders, custom or conventional homes may be built by smaller, local builders with more flexibility in their designs and practices.

It's important to do your research and choose a reputable builder who you can trust to build your dream home.


Model homes are attractive for several reasons, including affordable prices and high-end features. However, it is worth considering that some of these homes may have difficulties with modern technology upgrades.

Buying a model home depends on the buyer's preferences and lifestyle. We hope this article has provided valuable information to help you make an informed decision while shopping for your next home.