August 12, 2018
Tips for Upgrading Your New Construction Home
You’re ready to buy a new home, and by that we mean a NEW home…one constructed just for you! You’ve chosen your lot and your plan, and now you’re ready to decide on the upgrades. It’s rare for a buyer to move forward with a completely as-is home when it comes to new construction. Everyone wants some of those “special touches” that identify the house as uniquely theirs. At Ernest Signature Custom Homes, we walk our clients through these decisions every day. There’s a certain science to it – one that we’ve mastered during our years of success as one of the area’s leading homebuilders. We’ve put together some of our best tips to help you make the personalization process a little easier. Set Your Budget Have a firm number in mind when you’re shopping for upgrades, and don’t let yourself be swayed by the “kid in a candy store” mindset when you’re looking at the astonishing number of options open to you. A good rule of thumb is to expect to pay 12% to 15% of the base price of your home on interior upgrades. You’ll need to stay within the boundaries set by your mortgage lender, so it’s essential to know how much is in your wallet before you begin shopping. Any Structural Changes Must Be Addressed First Changes to the floor plan, whether they be adding rooms, fireplaces or garages, revising walls, electrical or plumbing modifications, changing the size and location of windows, moving doors or similar activities, must be discussed as soon as the floor plan has been chosen. Not only do the builder and the client need to agree upon what can be changed, the cost of doing so has to be determined at the outset. Follow the Builder’s Timeline for Upgrades Your builder will usually suggest certain windows of time to select various upgrades. Usually you will have a meeting with your design center team two to three weeks after your contract is finalized. Before that meeting, make sure to have a list put together of things you’d like to add, including pictures if you can get them. This will give your team lead a strong vision for directing your appointment, and he or she can help keep you to your pre-set budget. Cover Your Needs, Be Prepared to Pass on Some Wants Some upgrades are a necessity for happy living in your home, while some are “really cool”, but the world will go on spinning without them. Make sure you know which are which, and take care of the things that will truly matter in your day to day life. Remember – Your Home Won’t Look Exactly Like the Model If you fell in love with the model home you toured, keep in mind that model homes are constructed with a wide variety of different options. If there was something (or a few somethings!) that you particularly loved about the home, make sure to ask if these things were standard to the plan, or if they are add-ons. Make sure your budget will accommodate the features that you fell in love with if they are upgrades. Some Upgrades Can Be Done Later Certain upgrades can be done after the closing and your move, allowing you to spread your expenditures over time. You may not need to add extras such as custom paint colors, landscaping, lighting and plumbing fixtures, crown molding, chair rails, window treatments and even certain appliance upgrades when you’re first starting out. Some of these upgrades can follow when you may have some extra cash flow later, after the dust settles a bit. Avoid Over-customization Somewhere down the line, it’s likely you will sell your new home to someone else. You may need more rooms as the size of your family changes, or you may need to downsize. You may relocate or find yourself ready for a new life experience in a different lodging. Keep in mind that some upgrades, especially ones that are unusual, can make your home harder to sell later. You may want to avoid exterior treatments, bath fixtures or countertops in specialty colors, oddly shaped or sized windows that require specialty window treatments, or built-in organization systems that may make sense to you but not to others. You want to appeal to the largest number of potential buyers down the road. Instead, focus your creativity on things that can be changed easily when you’re ready to sell, such as wall paint, décor and minor fixtures such as replaceable lighting and sink or cabinet hardware. Put Your Trust in Your Builder If you are having trouble making final decisions during the upgrade selection process, make sure to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your builder and/or their design team. Here at Ernest Signature Custom Homes, we consider our clients to be members of our extended family, and we’re always there to answer questions, give advice and make recommendations when needed. We can help you weigh pros and cons, share our experiences and make it easy for you to create the home of your dreams!