A model home checklist from J. Lawrence Homes

Midlane Country Club, Wadsworth

With mortgage interest rates at all-time lows and a great selection of quality new homes on the market, it’s an ideal time to get an outstanding value on a new-construction home in Chicago.

But with so many homes available, it’s easy for them to blur together, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. So just what should you look for when touring a model home? John Wozniak, president of J. Lawrence Homes, recently used the two fully decorated new-home models at Midlane Country Club at Wadsworth as an example.

  • Kitchen cabinets should be a minimum of 36 inches. The Merillat maple cabinets at Midlane are 42 inches and offer plenty of storage and roll-out shelves for easy access. Check for pantries, too — you want more than enough storage so you have room for items you accumulate over the years.
  • Kitchen countertops need to provide plenty of prep space. Kitchen islands, like the one shown in Midlane’s Riviera model, show how much extra counter space you can gain. And islands that face the breakfast area or family room let you stay engaged with family or guests while cooking. Extra bonus for islands that accommodate bar stools.
  • Kitchen appliances vary from builder to builder. Look for a brand you trust. Midlane’s are from GE and go above and beyond with double ovens and an Energy Star dishwasher.
  • Master suites should have ample closet space, preferably one or two walk-in closets. Tray ceilings and sitting areas add an air of sophistication. Master baths should have dual bowl vanities. Separate showers and soaking tubs are an extra perk.
  • Guest bedrooms need sufficient closet space and should be big enough to grow with children’s different furniture needs, like the ones shown in Midlane’s St. Andrews model.
  • Family rooms that are open to a kitchen are the most functional. To give the room personality, see if there is an option for a fireplace or a two-story ceiling for added drama.
  • Dining and living rooms really come into play with entertaining, so how large of a table can the dining room hold? Is there space for your buffet and china cabinet? Also, take note of the abundance of natural light from windows in these areas.
  • Dens that can also be used as an office or playroom are the most practical, especially if the room has a closet for storing supplies, games and toys. Proximity to the bathroom and an outside door are also good if you use the space for client meetings.
  • Laundry rooms in new homes are usually located on the first or second-floor. Consider what’s more convenient for your family and look for amenities like a window for natural light and fresh air, a laundry tub, and upper and lower cabinets.
  • Lighting fixtures that are current in design and match throughout the home are the most attractive.
  • Staircases that open up the rooms such with oak or wrought-iron railings are typically more appealing than half-wall drywall staircases. Also, take note of the width of staircases.
  • Flooring options should be aplenty, from ceramic tile and hardwood to carpet and padding.
  • Character can often be lacking in some new homes, so look for interesting details like the numerous archways found throughout the models at Midlane.

Midlane Country Club, located at 3028 Monterey Ln in north suburban Wadsworth, offers new-construction single-families and club homes starting in the $240s.

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