Walking through show homes can be like walking into a fairy tale. The beautiful interiors and eye-popping props put all who visit under a magic spell, like pixie dust has been sprinkled in every room.
But not everyone is there for the fantasy. Serious home buyers with hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend often don’t want the illusion, nor can they see past it. They want to know exactly what their hard-earned money will buy.
Oliver Trutina, vice-president of Truman, is one of several Calgary builders that showcases the real deal, building show homes with standard features, or standard “specs”, which are included in the base price.
“We said 20 years ago that we want to highlight what we put in our homes,” he says.
Truman’s standard specifications depends on the type of home, the price point and the community it’s built in. There are four levels of specs, each standard to a particular type of home. For example, the Prestige package at the top end is the standard for super estate homes in the $2 million to $3 million price range.
“People will realize what they saw in the show home wasn’t what they were going to get,” says Trutina, who is currently building in Timberline, Carrington, Walden, West District and Chelsea in Chestermere. “With us, what you see in the show home is what you get.”
Sterling Homes believes in outfitting show homes with basic features. Melissa Principalli, area sales manager in Sirocco at Pine Creek in the southwest, says it can be difficult for buyers when they discover upgraded features are unattainable.
“It’s nice to showcase what we can do, but Sterling has great standard packages, too. Buyers don’t need upgrades to have a beautiful home,” she says.
Principalli cites the Ashton, a 2,024-square-foot front-drive garage model home in Pine Creek, as an example. At a base price of $514,000, the home has 1 1/4-inch granite in the kitchen and bathrooms, undermount sinks, soft-close cabinetry and standard appliance package. The luxury vinyl plank flooring is basic and the carpet on the stairs and throughout the second level is standard grade.
With the Ashton, Sterling couldn’t resist a bit of sparkle.
“The vault in the bonus room is an upgrade, as is the railing on the staircase and in the bonus room, upgraded to iron from wood,” she says, noting that the fancier features add $10,000 to the purchase price.
Morrison Homes also has a realistic approach to show home presentation, especially in a parade with more than one home.
With duplex or laned show homes, Morrison will build a standard feature home next door to an upgraded model.
In a parade of move-up models, one will be close to standard with a few upgraded features. With estate show homes, the builder blends standards with upgrades.
Standard features include luxury vinyl plank flooring, stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops and new this year, a Smart Home package compatible with most smart hubs. These features can be seen in Morrison’s show homes in D’Arcy (Okotoks), Dawson’s Landing (Chestermere) and Livingston in the northwest.
Marketing lead Kayla Gavan says buyers often double or triple check to see if the standard features are for real.
“They’ll say wow, this is beautiful, are you sure this is all standard? We enjoy reassuring them,” she says.
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