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August 26, 2019

8 tips to select options and improvements offered by your builder

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One of the advantages of buying a new home is the opportunity to select features and finishes that reflect your personal taste and lifestyle. But for many homebuyers, particularly those who buy homes for the first time, the range of options can be dizzying.

Cabinets, bumpers or countertops, floors, fixtures, appliances, and even structural changes, such as additional bathrooms or garages, are just the beginning of an almost infinite number of options or improvements that your builder can allow you to select.

So what should a buyer do?

  1. Structural changes

Select additional elements or structural changes when you sign the contract, or immediately afterwards. “Buyers feel a bit overwhelmed when they sign the contract for all the legal documents,” says Sue Goodrich, vice president of sales and marketing for Cachet Homes in Scottsdale, Arizona. “The only thing we talk about then is the structural options.”

Buyers who want to add rooms or garages, move doors or add a chimney or recessed lights, for example, should make structural changes at the beginning of the process because those changes can have an impact on the construction permit that the builder must obtain. This type of change, as well as any change in the electrical or plumbing part that requires walls to be broken, will also be expensive if done after construction has been completed.

2. Post-purchase improvements

Remember that it may make sense to make certain changes after you buy your house. Particular aesthetic characteristics, such as paint, gardening, lighting and plumbing fixtures, epoxy resin floors for the garage, crown molding, guard rails, curtains and even certain appliance upgrades can be done after closing, especially if the owners They have a budget available.

Grenadier Homes in Dallas, for example, does not include refrigerators in the base price of their homes, according to Kathy Costa, a design consultant at Grenadier Homes. In this way, buyers could get a good price on their own. Even so, by purchasing these improvements through the builder, you could get the cost included in your mortgage, instead of paying it out of pocket.

In addition, the improvements made after the closing will not be covered by the constructor’s warranty, and could be canceled, as Costa warns us.

And, of course, there is also another factor: are you willing to spend time after closing doing work at your home, or would you prefer to move knowing that your house is exactly how you wanted it?

3. Constructor’s schedule

Follow your builder’s timeline to select other options or improvements. About two or three weeks after signing and approving the contract, the builder will organize a meeting at your design center. Depending on the builder, you can make changes after this meeting or not, so be prepared with a list of the things you want. You could take pictures of kitchens and bathrooms that you like to guide the designer.

4. The appearance of the model house

Remember that the model house you fell in love with can have thousands of dollars of optional items and that the basic house can look very different. Although many builders include a number of standard features in the base price of their homes, others do not. So maybe that carpet or that granite cap costs something extra.

5. Prepare a budget

Prepare a budget and stick to it. Entering the design center of a builder is like being a child in a toy store. You’ll see cabinets and granite and high-end floors. To avoid spending too much, and to spread too much, prepare a budget before your design meeting.

Goodrich, of Cachet Home says that a good general rule is to expect to pay approximately 12% of the base price of a house in interior improvements. Make sure that the price of your home, including any improvement, falls within the pre-qualification guidelines of your mortgage.

6. Needs vs. wishes

Be flexible. Remember that you have a budget and that you may not be able to pay for all the extras you want, so make a list of the things you should have and the things you want to have. For example, Joel Whitley and his wife Taylor bought a three bedroom, two bathroom Cachet Homes home in the Santa Rita community of Phoenix, for $ 346,900.

The couple had budgeted an additional $ 30,000 for optional items, of which they spent $ 26,000 to improve the cabinets and floors, and to add additional plugs for ceiling fans and a soft water circuit for a water softening system.

“We would have loved to make a splash guard throughout the kitchen, but we knew we did not have the budget for that,” Whitley tells us. “So we came up with the solution of placing the splash guard just behind the oven in an elegant stone design.”

7. Resale value

Do not overdo the customization. Of course, buyers of a new home want their home to reflect their style and personal taste. However, it is important to also consider the resale value. “Those lavender granite countertops for the kitchen you’re thinking about can make it difficult to resell your home in a few years,” says Andy Weiser, a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“A better option could be to paint the walls with a nice lavender color, but opt for more neutral countertops or countertops. In this way, when you decide to move, you can attract as many buyers as possible. ”

8. Confidence in the Constructor

Negotiate with a builder you trust. Your design team will guide you through the process and offer expert advice, not only on design options, but also on how to best use your budget.

“It’s your job to make your home everything you want it to be,” says buyer Whitley. “Trust in the experience of your home builder. After all, that’s what they do every day. “

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