Recently my wife and I had a home built in a brand new sub division. The house was a semi custom home meaning we got to pick the upgrades, colors and features but didn’t get to choose the floor plan. Honestly, the process of building the house was very exciting. However, one of the most difficult parts was knowing what upgrades to choose from the extensive list of options. It was definitely very difficult to pick. However, we discovered a few things during the process that I thought I would pass along. Here they are…
1. It is absolutely essential to choose a budget and stick to it. This is really tough since they will give you so many options. However, if you aren’t careful it is easy to spend tens of thousands of dollars more than you wanted to spend. For my wife and I, we had to sit down prior to our meeting with the design center and choose some of the options that were must haves and some that would be nice. We didn’t end up getting too many that weren’t on the must have list. It is always helpful if you ask the builder for a price list prior to your meeting with the design center.
2. There are some upgrades that will build value in your home and others that won’t have any resale value at all. This is something to keep in mind but it shouldn’t completely control your decision making process. Choose what you like. Remember that almost every house is going to have some upgrades to it and that if you don’t choose anything your house might be too plain. Make choices that will give your house character and help to make it your home.
3. Remember that there are some upgrades that you can do after
the building process is done and there are others that you can’t (or will cost you a lot to do). If you think you might want speakers, cable jacks, plumbing or extra electrical outlets you will probably want to have the builder put them in for you since they can be very difficult to add later. On the other hand, adding some extra cabinets, changing out fixtures and putting up blinds are all things that you can do yourself after the building process is finished. Plus, you can probably save money by hiring someone other than the builder to do it for you.
4. The builder will price the upgrades on the list according to their cost and their desire to do the upgrades. You will find that some upgrades seem like a great value while others seem overpriced. The overpriced ones are most likely ones that the builder doesn’t really want to do anyway. The same will apply if you ask the builder to make customizations to your home that they don’t really want to do. They may quote you a price but they will certainly charge you for their hassle.
5. The builder makes a lot of money on ALL of the upgrades that they do. This is something to remember when looking to purchase appliances, fixtures, blinds and other items as part of the building process. If you buy these items through the builder you will most likely pay more than retail for the items and you will probably get less choice than you would if you just go to your local building supply superstore.
These are just a few things that we learned as we walked through the upgrade process for our new home. We are now moved in and are continuing to make our house our home. Overall, we are happy with the upgrades we chose and we were able to stick to our budget. Something that is easier said than done.