When you are officially under contract, now you get to go to the ….dum dum dum…design center! This is a very exciting time as you have probably been pinning to your Pinterest board, overloading on HGTV, and grabbing the latest design magazine from the checkout line at the grocery store. You have a great idea of what you want to do to personalize your home…then you find out what it costs! Expect to spend 10%-15% of the purchase price on upgrades as a general rule of thumb.
Builders make money on upgrades—no matter what they tell you otherwise. That is why upgrades are a great negotiating tool for new construction because it costs the builder less than what they charge you. So $10,000 in “free” upgrades for you may only cost your builder $2,000 out of their pocket. With that being said it is still likely to be cheaper to do certain things through your builder than later on your own due to negotiated pricing the builder has with sub contractors and suppliers and some upgrades cost less in labor if you have them done while the home is under construction.
My first piece of advice is to make a priority list of what is most important to you as far as upgrades are concerned. Then go to the design center and HAVE FUN! Pick out everything your heart desires and tell them to write it all up. When you receive the estimated invoice, and pick your jaw up off the floor, you are now ready to start the process of elimination. Go back to that priority list and start making cuts on things you can “live without” or “do later”.
I recommend making a priority the things that cannot be changed later, would be difficult to change later or expensive to change later. Some examples of this are structural changes such as:
• vaulted ceilings
• taller ceiling heights/taller doors
• opening up a wall/adding windows
• pocket doors
• railings on the stairs instead of a half wall
• adult height vanities
• extended lanai
Another recommendation is flooring. Flooring is a major expense when building any home so you mind as well put down what you like now because it will costs you more to change it out later between the costs of removing the existing floor, buying new product and labor to install new flooring.
The upgrades I’ve found to give you the most return on your investment (remember kitchens & bathrooms sell homes!):
• Tile the shower walls instead of a pre-fab shower enclosure
• Frameless glass for shower enclosure
• Adult-height vanities and Double-Sinks in Master Bath
• Additional power outlets in bathroom, lanai or garage
• Crown moulding in kitchen to match cabinet dye lot
• Custom cabinet inserts of any kind (trash roll out bins, drawers with dividers for pans, etc) in kitchen
• Granite or Quartz Countertops
• Farmhouse Sink
• Simple backsplash in kitchen
• Recessed lighting in lieu of flushmounts
Remember during the design process to stick with classic and neutral options if you will be concerned with re-sale value. Anything too “trendy” may be out of style when you go to sell the property.
Never be shy to ask your Realtor to come with you on your design appointment. They will be professional enough to keep their opinions to themselves but there to help you decide which choices would be a better investment as well as have knowledge as to what options are over priced and which are a good deal through the builders design center.
The Housers Homes Team with EXIT Real Estate Gallery holds your hand from contract to closing and even after! It is how we have become the “experts”!