For multi-unit tract housing and condominiums…one of the things the builder can anticipate during the construction of the sales models…is the collection of finish materials to be featured on display within the sales office.
Such items as door casing, detailed baseboard, bull-nose drywall cornerbead, bathroom sinks with the plumbing fixtures installed, doorknob hardware, and other featured materials are sometimes mounted on display boards by the interior designer and placed within the sales office as a sales tool.
Consider this activity item with the sales department and the interior designer before the start of the construction…so these materials can be procured from the various vendors and subcontractors in a timely manner.
Pre-planning is better than coming up with this idea as an afterthought…then rushing to get these materials to the interior designer in time for the sales office grand opening.
Sales model units receive thousands of prospective buyers throughout the course of a large multi-unit project.
This amount of traffic creates wear-and-tear in these units in a variety of ways.
The builder should sell the sales models on an as-is basis. Most sales models are decorated with wallpaper, wall treatments, optional decorator features, and upgraded flooring. Sometimes sales models are purchased with all of the furniture.
For these reasons the sales models prices are often negotiated with the homebuyer. Like a demonstration automobile with low mileage at a car dealership…the homebuyer must understand that the sales models are slightly used.
The builder wants to avoid a purchaser demanding that entire areas of vinyl flooring be replaced in the kitchen, for example, because of a small cigarette burn discovered after move-in and occupancy.
The builder should not intimate to the buyers that the sales models will be brought up to the standard of quality of the new…untouched by sales traffic…production units.
For the negotiated sale of a models unit to have any meaning…the words as-is in the sales agreement must mean as-is. This should be the arms-length understanding…even when the builder engages in final prep repair work in converting the models into livable units.
Many builders leave off the interior doors with sales models to give the models a more open and spacious feeling.
At the close of sales and the completion of the project, when the sales models are converted back to regular units for occupancy, the interior doors are rehung.
One option the builder should consider is hanging a few interior doors in each model in openings having the least foot traffic…such as coat closets and secondary bathrooms.
The prospective homebuyers can thus see the style and design of the interior doors and doorknob hardware…without disturbing the felling of openness of the sales models.
Store the other interior doors in an empty garage in the sales models…or in a storage bin…with both sides of the hinges and hinge pins attached to each door, as shown in Fig. 6.3. Storing the doors with their hinges attached prevents the problem a few years later at project close-out…of not being able to find the original hinges.
In sales models, for multi-unit projects, it is a good practice to install rigid plastic covers on all toilets as shown in Fig. 6.1, so they will not be used by people viewing the models.
These covers are bolted in place between the toilet seat and the toilet body, and can be custom-made to match the color of the toilet.
Air conditioning thermostats should also be covered with a lockable, clear plastic box cover as shown in Fig. 6.2, to prevent people from moving the dials on the thermostat…thus disrupting the air conditioning.
In addition, for air conditioning for the sales models…it is a good practice to connect the air conditioning controls for all four or five models…to be operated by one single thermostat placed in the sales office. This requires some forethought early in the construction of the sales models and sales office…placing underground conduit sleeves to connect the units for air conditioning control wiring…which is then abandoned and removed at the completion of the sales and conversion of the sales models complex.