Let's start with the basics. So, what are model homes? They are homes that are the deluxe version of homes in a development. They are often the only homes actually built. You'll drive up and see a bunch of dirt lots or homes in some state of construction. Then you'll see a beautiful home with lush landscaping. It will often look like a mirage in the middle of a desert!
Developers build model homes because they want to entice potential buyers with possibilities. The goal is technically to show the buyer what any home in the development will look like if they buy it. In reality, the model home has all the upgrades and is professionally outfitted with furniture and so on. In short, it is pretty much the best that could possibly be done with one of the homes in the development, not the average look.
It can be very easy to fall in love with model homes. There isn't anything wrong with this so long as you realize the home you are buying is not going to look like the model home. Most buyers realize this and try to deal with it by actually buying the model home. Developers will sell them, but there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind. This is particularly true for first time buyers.
First off, get everything in writing. "The developer promised he would leave all the furniture..." doesn't stand up in court if it isn't included in the contract. If they are promising something, get it in writing.
Second, make sure everything you see in the home that you want to stay is documented in the contract. It is often advisable to hire an attorney for $500 to $1,000 to make sure there are no loopholes whereby the developer can remove...the tile flooring or something equally shocking. Remember, this is a business deal. Getting peace of mind makes sense.
Third, demand additional warranties on the model home. Although it looks nice, you are actually buying a used home. The developer has also been riding it hard. They sales people have cranked up the heating and air conditioning. The garage door has been opened and closed a few billion times. The same goes for light switches and so on and so on. An extended warranty costs the developer $500 or so a year, so they should be willing to do it.
Finally, does the home have carpets? If so, people have been walking over them. Developers know anticipate this and tend to put in cheap carpet that looks nice, but won't last. Get it changed out for something better.
Buying a model home has definite positives. Just make sure to protect yourself in writing!