A guide to visiting display villages
If you’re thinking about building a new home, be sure to set aside time to visit a few display villages.
A display village is a showcase of the latest new-home designs from a range of builders, conveniently grouped in one spot.
Stockland project director James Westh said the aim of villages was to give prospective buyers the chance to wander through different designs for ideas and inspiration and discuss their needs with sales consultants.
“By experiencing the home first-hand, you’ll know whether it makes you feel relaxed and ‘at home’,” Mr Westh said.
Here, he shares his top tips for getting the most out of your visit.
Do your research
The first step is to work out what you can afford, then set a budget and stick to it.
Mr Westh said having a pre-approved loan would help.
He also advised putting together a shortlist of your preferred builders. Ask for recommendations from friends and family and consult online forums.
As well, find out how long a builder has been in business and what customer service, warranties and guarantees are offered.
“Before visiting a display village, it’s also a good idea to study the latest home designs on builders’ websites,” Mr Westh said.
Determine your needs
Decide what you want from your home and where you want to live.
Given display villages are built within residential estates, you’ll also be able to get a good feel for the community itself, including the services and the lifestyle.
“Being part of a connected community can make you feel more at home,” Mr Westh said.
He suggested sitting down as a family to get everyone’s thoughts on what they wanted from the home.
“A handy tip is to study how your family uses your present house, what spaces you use most and what areas you need that you don’t have.”
Consider your storage needs, how many bedrooms, bathrooms and living areas you’ll want and the placement of windows and power points. And, importantly, look to the future and how your needs might change and how the home will accommodate those changes.
“(And) if you don’t see yourself living there for a long time, think about how your design may suit the next owners and its resale value,” Mr Westh said.
Plan your visit
Mr Westh recommended people avoid visiting too many homes in one hit and scheduling plenty of rest breaks.
“It’s important to take your time visiting each home, which will make it easier to remember the details.”
Display villages often host special events and activities, which are great ways to see how neighbours interact and the level of community spirit, so consider planning visits around some of these.
Have a pen and paper handy to make notes on specific features you like and don’t like about a floorplan.
Mr Westh said a phone with a camera was also very useful to be able to compare features from different homes later. And take along a measuring tape to see if room spaces are the right fit for your furniture.
Finally, don’t forget a bag to carry all the brochures and information you’ll collect.
Pick the best time
Weekends tend to be the best time for families and weekday workers to visit. However, they are also the busiest times.
Mr Westh recommended scheduling one-on-one meetings with sales consultants, as well as second visits, on weekdays, when things were quieter.
He said returning at another time was handy if your time was limited or the kids were losing interest.
“It’s better to pay a second visit than rush through the inspections.”
Some villages have features such as playgrounds that will help keep kids entertained while you chat with the sales consultant.
At Stockland’s Highlands display village, in Craigieburn, for example, children can enjoy a new nine-hole minigolf course.
Often, a display home will have upgraded features on show, so be sure to ask the consultant what’s included in the standard price and what features come at an extra cost.
And see if you have flexibility to remove or change rooms around to better suit your needs. “Also, check whether the home has different floorplan options or any promotional offers,” Mr Westh said.
Imagine living there
Walking around the display and picturing yourself living there is a valuable part of the decision-making process.
“Stand at the kitchen bench. See how long it takes to walk from the living room to the bathroom. Or sit outside in the alfresco dining area,” Mr Westh said. “Display villages are a great way to experience a lot of different floorplans in one location.”