Install a Panic Button in the Sales Models

When the project sales office has a security system, it is a good practice for the builder to have a panic button connected to the security system on the land-line telephone so the salesperson can summon help.

Some new housing projects are located out in the middle of uninhabited areas…and sales offices are open for business during weekends until 5 or 6 PM.

When a lone female salesperson is working the sales office, the secluded conditions of the location place that person at risk.

When a button on the telephone can set off the security alarm and summon the police to the project…the salesperson can quickly call for help if a problem develops.

Collect Samples for the Sales Office

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.

Finish Carpentry

Decorative casing crashes with ceiling crown mold.


Baseboard is higher in elevation than the flat vertical surface of the cabinet face frame post.


Baseboard dies into dissimilar, concave shaped, quarter round trim at laundry closet bi-fold door.


Consider upgrading to a smooth surfaced, vinyl coated plywood for the exposed underside of kitchen cabinet rough-tops. In the example in this multi-million dollar house…the underside countertop plywood had knot holes and other flaws openly exposed.


Drawer hits range before fully opening.


Countertop partially covers decorative plinth design at top of post.


HVAC return-air register crashes with stair wood trim.


Return-air register crashes with a stair bottom step.


Another example of a return-air register crashing with stairs…in this example the stair skirtboard.

Sell the Sales Models As-Is

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.


Look for aesthetically pleasing solution for location of spa tub motor access panel.


Water pipe for toilet too close to tile and baseboard…excutcheon cover plate will not fit.


Fireplace loglighter trim piece can’t sit flat against curved wall surface.

Light Fixtures

Can lights and audio speakers are not the same size…cannot be nailed tightly to the same ceiling joist and then end-up centered with each other…need to use a string-line to align centers…if centering is considered important.


Exterior balcony door hits light fixture before fully opening.


Top of door barely misses ceiling sconce light fixture.


Not enough space between the countertop splash and the pony wall tile for the electrical outlet to fit.


Electrical receptacle outlet crashes with bath mirror and shower tile.


Receptacle outlet crashes with mirror.

Install Some Interior Doors

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.

Keep door hinges attached for interior doors for the sales models…removed and stored in a nearby garage or container…to provide a more open and spatially larger feel in side the models…and easier movement for sales models foot traffic.