That New Home Smell
You know what I mean? You walk into that dreamy model home. Loaded with incredible features. For me, I start thinking, “I can live like this.” Then the local onsite sales person sets me straight. The model home is loaded with literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in pre-move upgrades.
Don’t despair. As a Realtor that has actually purchased several new construction homes, I’m here to attest you can have your dream home provided you are willing to follow a few steps and stay on budget.
Stay On Target
You remember that scene in Star Wars? Luke and the Rebels are attacking the Death Star and the Rebel leader says, “Stay on target.” Right before he is blown away by Darth Vader! Yeah – I’m a sci fi geak.
As you select your upgrades for your Beautiful New Construction home, remember to stay on target. Here’s what I mean!
What Are Your Priorities?
When purchasing a dirt start home, you have time to consider your priorities. Maybe purchase some glossy magazines and peruse the photos. Check out Houzz, Pinterest and Instagram. Save your favorite home interior pictures. Contemplate your budget. Did you know he average consumer will spend 12% in additional pre-move upgrades above and beyond list price?
Seller Mandated Expenses
Your future home may also require some builder required add-ons. If the lot backs to open space. Cha-ching. Or the builder may have decided your house requires a full basemen versus the partial shown in the plans. Or even more simply, your future neighbors have selected the less expensive elevation leaving you the more pricey option. So set a budget.
Less Is More
I heard this one in high school. When my dad gave me the keys to the K-Car he had patriotically purchased to support Chrysler. Which is ironic, because we lived in a Ford town and I kept wishing, “Dad, please bring a Mustang home.”
So anyhow, Dad told me less was more. The K-Car would never be very fast, nor really cool. It certainly would not slay the girls. But, it did have more space and my buddies and I still managed to cruise between McDonalds and Lake View Park. That was what everyone else seemed to be doing. And we got great gas mileage. That K-car embodied Less Is More!
What’s that got to do with your new house? If its a starter home, don’t go overboard on upgrades.
You might only be in the house a few years. Spending less on extras gives you a good opportunity to see your value really shoot up in a short period of time. Use your equity to buy a better home when you trade up.
If you might be in the house a long time, or even consider it your forever home, still exercise caution.
Which pre-move upgrades are must haves and which can be done after moving in? New paint might be better left for when the home is yours. Paint is relatively inexpensive and the learning curve isn’t that bad.
Electrical upgrades on the other hand, best to hire the builder to make these improvements. You certainly don’t want to punch holes in your new home to add wiring or lighting or an outlet.
Wendy Weir out of Birmingham, Michigan wrote a great article about new trends to expect in new construction. Outdoor spaces are becoming more and more important to home buyers, and she explains that in some cases, custom homebuilders will be happy to create your outdoor space, and some developers are even beginning to, “add electric, gas and plumbing connections to outdoor space that they consider will be likely sites for outdoor living spaces.” Read her article here on this years trends in new construction.
Pre-Move Upgrades Will Not Define Your Home
Though it can feel like every upgrade the builder is offering is special, rarely do these improvements define the best homes. Your artistic choices, the landscaping you install, your window coverings, even the hardware you can select later for cabinets, these features can really set your home apart from the neighbors.
Case in point. Where I live now – a new construction community built by Meritage Homes (similar to this) offered plenty of sharp pre-move upgrades, but what really catches my eye are the elaborate patios neighbors are installing. One family leveled their lot, added a retaining wall and poured a patio that is practically their entire backyard. They have no kids, makes sense. Another neighbor installed a massive patio complete with a firepit. That looks fun.
In both cases, those exterior features were not even offered by the builder. And they are at the moment really defining the houses.
Have Fun Be Prepared Enjoy New Construction
Final thoughts – come prepared when you meet with Design Center team. Know your priorities and budget. Even bring along a tablet loaded with your dream feature pictures. And, if we are fortunate enough to be working together, I’ll be there, to help guide you and keep you on budget.
Realtor Bob Gordon Recommends…
Bill Gassett out of Hopkinton, MA write a great article about the importance of having a buyer’s agent when purchasing new construction as well. Bill stresses that, “there are too many potential pitfalls, hidden risks, and complications involved in the process to guarantee a good result unless you have experienced help.” Another one of his articles provides buyers with some essential questions to ask when buying new construction, read it here.
Kevan Pewitt out of Houston also makes a point of informing readers that the new home builder sales agent only represents the builder, not the new home buyer. This makes having an agent when looking for a new home incredibly useful as you want to make sure that someone is representing your wants and needs. Check out Kevan’s blog post here.
Jeff Nelson out of Alabama wrote an article that outlines the different questions you should be asking when purchasing new construction. He provides some great information on the critical things to ask before signing a contract. Read his article here.
Maria Mastrolonardo writes about 6 different tips to save money when purchasing new construction. She makes a great point in one of her tips to avoid falling in love with the model home. I’ve seen plenty of buyers do this, then nothing seems to match up to their expectations!