Homes on show

Home Solution by Metricon image Erickson_25_Cran_facade_RET_FA WEEKEND VISIT to the latest display home village has become a popular past-time for many Victorians in the last four decades.
Display villages, which are usually located in Melbourne’s outer growth areas, are like supermarkets for new homebuyers, showcasing contemporary designs from a range of builders. More often than not the village is complemented by a nearby land sales office, offering residential blocks on the estate the display centre is located or from nearby subdivisions in the same growth corridor. Increasingly, they have become user and family friendly, with facilities available for visitors to have a coffee and play areas for children.
While prospective homebuyers can do research on the Internet when looking for their dream new home and land combination, there is nothing like on-the-spot personal inspection to ensure you are getting the pairing you want.
Housing Industry Association state executive director Gil King says display villages offer a range of services to help simplify the whole home and land buying experience for both newcomers to the property market and those looking to upgrade from an existing home.
“Display villages are wonderful for builders to showcase their quality, designs and expertise,’’ Mr King says. “Simply put, the consumer has an opportunity to wander through what may be their future home, or a version of it, and get a feel as to whether the design suits them or whether it needs some slight modification.
“Additionally, future homeowners can see with their own eyes how the furniture layout might look and give them inspiration for how they may decorate their home. More often than not the display home is furnished and complete with a variety of fixtures and fittings. This all goes to motivate the prospective purchaser towards their dream.’’
But visitors to display villages should be aware that the houses exhibited may have many non-standard or luxurious items included. These fixtures and fittings may not be part of the base price for the home. Furniture is also not provided in base model houses. After all, they are not called display homes for no reason. Each builder is trying to impress visitors with the look and feel of their products.
“This (the upgraded fixtures and fittings) may amount to an additional cost from the standard design,’’ Mr King says. “Also, landscaping and furnishings make the home look very appealing, however it will invariably look quite different when newly completed and with the consumer’s own furniture inside.’’
The HIA chief says villages have the major advantage of allowing consumers to compare the designs of different builders which are on display.
“As long as they modify their expectations to sit within their own furnishings and the need to landscape, then this type of comparison is worthwhile,’’ Mr King says.
He says those wishing to build a home similar to the one on display need to “have a full and frank discussion with builder’’ and not leave themselves “wondering’’.
“Display homes’ operators are required to have a copy of the plans and specifications used for the home’s construction as well as a draft copy of the builder’s preferred building contract,’’ Mr King says. “One protection for consumers that can lead to exaggerated expectations is that the builder must construct the home for the client using the same plans and specifications that were used for the display home and must complete the work to at least the same standard of work quality and quality of materials as the display home.
“Consumers should remember that the display home may well have different fixtures and finishes and that the final home may look quite different from the display home.  This often happens when different bricks and roof tiles are used. The builder can also specify in the contract that the construction of the home will differ from the display home and can detail why and how. This often occurs when regulations change that mean the display home now no longer complies with the current rules and regulations.’’
Metricon managing director Ross Palazzesi describes display home visits as an “exciting experience’’ for prospective homebuyers which allows them to work out what they like and what will best enhance their lifestyles.
“Visiting a Metricon display home will give you a chance to look at different home designs in living colour,’’ Mr Palazzesi says. “You’ll be able to explore the home layout, run your hand along the finishes, soak in the space and imagine what it would be like to live there.’’

By Andrew Brasier

Published in The Indian Weekly (First Weekly Indian news Magazine in Melbourne, Australia)