Buy mode is one of three independent modes in the game (the others being Live mode and Build mode) that appears in The Sims, The Sims 2, The Sims 3, and several spin-off games. It can be activated by clicking on the Buy mode icon in the user interface, or by pressing F2. Buy mode allows players to purchase items from an object catalog and place them on the current lot, sell objects that are on the current lot, and arrange objects on the current lot. Construction-related elements such as doors, windows, fences, and stairs are not associated with buy mode, but are in build mode. Buy mode largely focuses on furniture and appliances.
The descriptions of many of the objects available for purchase in the game (particularly the less expensive ones) involve humor, sarcasm, insults towards the player, and wit, and serves as comic relief in the game. For example, one of the cheapest cars available in The Sims 3, the "Big Lemon", notes that although the car's doors are jammed and its ignition is faulty, it is still worth buying. Another example is the outdoor entertainment item "Foot-and-Hand Ball" used to train the athletic skill, which references and pokes fun at American football, which, despite its name, rarely involves contact with the ball via the feet.
The game is paused while the player is in buy mode. Game time only passes when the player is in live mode.
Many of the tools available to the player, such as the hand tool, eyedropper tool,[TS2][TS3] design tool[TS2] or Create a Style,[TS3] are also available in build mode and will function just as well on items placed in build mode, like columns and trees, as they will on items placed in buy mode. Lot information will also be displayed on the top-left corner, showing the value of the lot and its size, just like in build mode.[TS2][TS3]
In some situations, buy mode, as well as build mode, may become disabled, such as during a fire, burglary, or other major event. This is done to prevent modifications to the lot that may impact or prevent a game event from occurring. After the event has ended, build and buy modes are re-activated. However, buy mode as well as build mode can be activated through the
alwaysallowbuildbuy cheat.[TS3] In general, buy mode and build mode are also disabled when a Sim is on a community lot. In The Sims 3, however, clicking the Build or Buy buttons while away from the active household's home lot will bring the camera back to the home lot, and open Build or Buy mode there. If the household owns any additional lots, the camera will pan to the lot that was most recently viewed by the player.
Menu of the items can be filtered for an expansion/stuff and or stone, or by base game and store by clicking the top-right corner of a category catalog.
By function categories
The Sims and The Sims 2 automatically sorts the buy mode by object function—clicking on the buy mode icon will reorder objects to sort by room. Prior to Hot Date, the function sort did not have sub-categories. Unlike some features introduced in Hot Date, this was carried over into The Sims Deluxe Edition. In The Sims Castaway Stories buy mode is renamed to "barter mode" and its objects are only categorized by function.
A list of "sort by function" buy mode categories and the types of items found there.
|Room||The Sims||The Sims 2||The Sims 3||Objects|
|Appliances||Mainly kitchen objects: Refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, microwavess, coffeemakers, food processor, garbage cans, barbecues and trash compactors.|
|Comfort||Beds, chairs, armchairs, sofas, bar stools, benches and deck chairs.|
|Decorations||Plants, paintings, sculptures, mirrors, curtains, rugs, ornaments, etc.|
|Electronics||TVs, computers, stereos, clocks, burglar alarm, fire alarm, video games, phones, pinball machines, etc.|
|Entertainment||Sporting goods, hobbies and skill items, party items, etc.|
|Hobbies||Musical instruments, bookshelves, exercise equipment, play equipment, workbenches, other skill-building items, etc.|
|Kids||(In misc section)||Baby furniture, toys, decoration, and play equipment.|
|Lighting||Lamps, wall sconces, hanging lights, and outdoor lights.|
|Plumbing||Toilets, sinks, showers, bathtubs and hot tubs.|
|Storage||Bookshelves and dressers.|
|Surfaces||Counters, kitchen tables, desks, side tables, coffee tables, shelves and displays (not bookshelves), cabinets, bars etc.|
|Vehicles||(In misc section)||Cars, bicycles, motorcycles, scooters, parking spaces, garage doors, and bike racks.|
|Miscellaneous||Skill-building items (mirrors, weight machines, bookshelves),[TS] dressers, play equipment, party items,[TS2] children's items,[TS][TS2] cars,[TS2NL] pet items,[TS:U][TS2P] garbage cans, etc.|
|Pets||(In misc section)||Pet bowls, pet houses, pet toys, scratching posts, horse training obstacles, horse stalls, haystack, etc.|
|Props||Stage props, hypnotizer, etc.|
|Resorts||Resort objects and rabbit holes, sporting goods, hot tubs, wedding arches, bars, various pool objects, firewalk pit, etc.|
|Buydebug||Various collectible and fish spawners, light emitters, buydebug objects, etc.|
By room categories
Buy mode in The Sims 3 is automatically sorted by room, but selecting the "Sort By Function" icon will resort the buy mode by function. The items within each category are sorted by function, with some items included in multiple categories.
A list of "sort by room" buy mode categories and the types of items found there.
|Room||The Sims||The Sims 2||The Sims 3||The Sims 4||Objects|
|Kitchen||Counters and islands, sinks, refrigerators, stoves, microwave ovens, small appliances, large appliances, garbage cans, pet items, decor, curtains, alarms, etc.|
|Bathroom||Toilets, sinks, showers, bathtubs, lights, decor, counters, etc.|
|Bedroom||Beds, bedside tables, alarm clocks, dressers, table lamps, plants, wall decor, etc.|
|Living room||TVs, stereos, video games, sofas and living chairs, coffee tables, end tables, etc.|
|Dining room||Dining tables, dining chairs, bars, ceiling lights, stools, plants, etc.|
|Study||Computers, desks, skill-building items, bookshelves, indoor activity items, etc.|
|Kids||Toy boxes, teddy bears, toddler skill-building items, beds, cribs and changing tables, playground equipment, etc.|
|Outdoor||Outdoor chairs and tables, lounge chairs, lawn ornaments, outdoor grills, hot tubs, outdoor recreation items, cars and other transportation, dog houses, etc.|
By community categories
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In The Sims 2, prior to the introduction of Open for Business, players could only access 'Community Sort' that replaces the typical 'By Room' buy mode sort when modifying a community lot. This is the only category that doesn't have sub-categories.
Sorting by community catalog display the following categories:
- Food: includes dining furniture, restaurant objects, grocery shelves and freezers, vending machines, etc.
- Shopping: includes lounge furniture, countertops, end tables, shelves, small appliances, grocery shelves and freezers, small electronics, etc., as well as cash registers.
- Outdoor: includes benches, hot tubs, barbecues, telephone booths, outdoor lamps, etc.
- Street: includes benches, commercial decor, sidewalk trash bins, etc.
- Misc: mostly domestic objects that do not fit in the other categories.
A collection is a compilation of in-game folders that include a set of objects, that by default come from with the installed expansion or stuff pack. It can come either as specific for a pack or for a theme that features exclusive items. Such folders can include most types of items from buy or build mode.
Players can even create custom collections with custom names and icons.
Initial release of The Sims 3 did not have collections. They were added to the buy mode in Patch 26.
Some of the store sets in The Sims 3 Store automatically add collections to the buy mode upon installation, for the items in the set.
The Sims 3: Movie Stuff is the only pack for The Sims 3 that does not have a collection.
List of collections in The Sims 2
List of collections in The Sims 3
Buy mode tools
These tools, for the most part, can be used interchangeably to change the elements of both buy and build modes.
Hand Tool (hotkey H): The hand tool is the default tool and is used to add, pick up, rotate, and move items. Some items cannot be moved, while others can only be placed in certain locations. When holding an item, the highlighted tile(s) which show its footprint also show which side is considered the front (depending on the object, this may or may not be the side Sims will approach it from).[TS2][TS3] If the tile is highlighted green, the item may be placed at that location; otherwise, it will be red—[TS2][TS3]attempting to place the item will give a description of the problem. Objects can be picked up by clicking on them. When holding an existing object, the player can delete the object by clicking on the bottom panel, or by pressing the ⌦ Del key. To rotate an object, the player can either use the < and > keys, or drag the cursor around in the direction they wish their object to face in. When a new certain item is purchased, the hand tool will automatically be selected and used to place the new item; holding ⇧ Shift while placing the item allows the player to place multiple copies of the same item.[TS2][TS3] Pressing the ⎋ Esc key will cancel the placement of an object. In The Sims, the direction the object is facing in is indicated by the arrows shown while rotating an object with the mouse—the white arrow indicates the front side of the object, while the black arrow indicates the back.
Eyedropper Tool (hotkey E):[TS2][TS3] When pointed at a wall covering, floor covering, or most objects, will show the name of what it's pointed at. Clicking on a wall or floor covering will switch to the appropriate area of build mode and select that covering so it can be applied. Clicking on an object will make an exact duplicate of it, and will focus the catalog on that object. If the selected object is from build mode, the game will switch to that mode. A glitch can sometimes occur where the item doesn't immediately appear on the cursor, and thus needs to be reselected manually.
Design Tool (hotkey R):[TS2] Allows a recolor change for a selected item. Costs §15 per use, regardless of what was changed. Objects that do not have recolors cannot be changed with this tool.
Create a Style (hotkey R):[TS3] This tool opens up the Create a Style menu, which allows the player to redecorate and recolor most items using both preselected styles and colors, or by manually using a color wheel and different available textures. Use of this tool is free.
Top-down View (hotkey T):[TS2] Switches the display to (or from) a view from above.
Undo/Redo (hotkey combination CTRL + Z / CTRL + Y): Allows the player to quickly undo or redo an action. The undo/redo history will be kept even if the player switches between buy and build modes.[TS2][TS3] In The Sims, this was only available in build mode, and the history did not carry over into buy mode..
Sledgehammer Tool (hotkey J[TS2:P] or K[TS3]): First introduced in The Sims 2: Pets and carried forward into later games, the sledgehammer tool allows players to easily remove walls and objects. The tool can be used on individual objects and tiles,[TS2] or by clicking and dragging around an area to remove multiple items.[TS3]
This section describes features that are only available in The Sims 3.
The family inventory is a space where large objects (too large to be held in a Sim's personal inventory) are kept. Certain opportunities may make an object available in the Family Inventory. When a Sim family moves, if "pack furniture" is selected, all objects in the household will be placed in the Family inventory, to be moved and rearranged in the new house.
Buy mode in other games
Buy mode is referred to as "barter mode" in The Sims Castaway Stories, and "furnish mode" in The Sims Medieval. Despite the different names, the function of these modes is similar to the traditional buy mode.
In The Sims 4, buy mode is not an independent mode, but is instead fully incorporated into build mode. Build mode in The Sims 4 contains an object catalog (including object sorting by room and function) and a family inventory.
- Depends on game availability.
- While editing a resort lot
- When the cheat is enabled
- Added in Patch 36.