Get the most from your display village visit
Touring a display village has become a regular part of the house-hunting process – but are you getting the best value from your time?
It’s a twenty-first century home-buyer’s ritual: the display home visit. Whether you’re looking at free-standing homes, a block of townhouses or a tower of new apartments, taking the time to visit and walk through your prospective new home is a powerful way to understand, and ultimately choose, the space you want to live in. Here are some tips for making the most of your visit.
First things first
Before you even look at a map of the show village, there are some basic questions to answer. First and foremost, how do you want to live? Are you committed to a free-standing house or are you leaning towards a townhouse or an apartment? If you’re not sure, think about the lifestyle you want and be honest about your needs.
If you’re planning a family, you’ll want enough bedrooms and maybe a backyard. Or perhaps you like the idea of a smaller, less-expensive townhouse that’s easier to maintain, and using local parks and facilities to give yourself (and any kids and pets) room to run. You can then invest the time and money you’ll save on house and lawn maintenance into hobbies, holidays or other investments.
You should also get as close an estimate as possible of your budget. There are plenty of loan calculators online and the federal government also has some excellent resources. It can be a lot of fun to wander through houses and wait for inspiration to strike, but once you get serious you’ll want to be fully across your needs, your wants and your financial situation.
How many villages, how many houses?
When you’re planning your visit there’s a balance to be struck between quantity and quality. You want to visit lots of homes so you can explore your options, but not so many that at the end of the day they all blur into each other. This is something you’ll have to judge for yourself and don’t be afraid to call it a day earlier than expected if you hit the point of diminishing returns.
Taking notes and photos will definitely help you keep track of the different places you visit, but ultimately they’re just data to help trigger your recollections, not take their place entirely.
The number of houses to visit also depends on where you are in the buying process, as Peter Langfelder, General Manager, Melbourne Housing , explains: “If you are just starting out … you could aim to visit four or five villages in one day. But if you already have an idea about your needs and the type of home you want, it would be best to limit it to two or three villages in one visit to ensure you remember everything you’ve seen.”
Display villages have all sorts of amenities for visitors, like cafes, parks and playgrounds, land sales offices and spaces for builders, architects and other suppliers to showcase their goods. Make sure you get as much value as possible from your visit by preparing questions and listing the information you want from the full range of information sources available. Most display villages have websites that list all their vendors and facilities, so check them out and get ready!
On the day itself, you’ll want to take photos of different rooms, locations, features and finishes, so make sure your phone or camera is charged and has memory to spare. Bring a notebook, so you can jot down any important information; if you’re not self-conscious, you could even use a voice recorder to talk yourself through a promising home. Bring a water bottle and some snacks, and make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes – sneakers are good, heels or dress shoes less so.
Who you’ll meet and what you’ll learn
The homes you visit are the star of the show, but you can get a lot of extra information while you’re on-site. “Take advantage of the experts at the display homes and discuss with them what you’re looking for in a new home,” says Langfelder. “Ask any questions that you may have and take a business card so if you think of any additional questions later on, the building and design consultants can help you.
You might also find it helpful to take along a checklist and fill it out for each house. That way you’ll get a consistent set of information about each place, making it easier to compare notes later when you’re trying to come to a decision.
Bring the kids
Yes, bring the kids. The house you buy will be their home too and you should involve them in the hunt. Most display villages have facilities like playgrounds and parks, and some even run activities so you can take a break, or even leave them in care for a short spell while you take care of business.
Depending on their age you might get some useful feedback on the places you’re looking at. Your two-year-old might not have much insight but your eight-, twelve- or sixteen-year old will look with different eyes and pick up on details and design nuances you might not have noticed.
Take notes – then compare and contrast
Don’t fly solo. Even if you’re looking just for yourself, you’ll get better results if you bring along another set of eyes. And of course if you have a partner or a family of your own, they should come with you.
Wait a day or two before sitting down to talk about the places you saw. You’ll probably be tired and ‘housed-out’ on the day itself and a little bit of time will give you some valuable perspective. Which places or features stand out in your memory? Thinking back on it, was that place really as good as it first seemed?
Discussing all this with someone else who was there with you will help you frame your decisions and make a shortlist for a second round of visits.
No matter whether you’re just starting on the homebuyer’s journey or nearly at its end, visiting your local display village (or block, or tower, or development) offers a concentrated dose of information that you can digest at your leisure. Take the family or take a friend, work through your checklist and above all, enjoy yourself! Having fun on the day is a good way to make sure you come to the right decision.
You can visit Metricon Homes at Harpley Display Village.
The information in this section has been prepared as general information only without consideration for your particular investment objectives, financial circumstances or particular needs. Read the full disclaimer.