One of the unique aspects of buying a brand new home is that you get to decide on the features and finishing touches that you want. Canadian Home Builders Association shares some of the things you should be aware of about features, upgrades and options.
A new home comes complete with a range of standard features and finishes that are included in the basic price of the home. These vary from one builder to another, and often from one home design to another. Uniformly, though, the quality of today's standard products is excellent, offering home buyers great value for the money.
For a number of standard items, home buyers are offered choices that won't affect the purchase price, such as the style of kitchen cabinets and the colour and design of floor coverings.
Remember that many model homes will include a number of upgrades, so as you tour the model, ask to have these pointed out. Be sure to ask the sales representative what the standard items are in every case.
Upgrades and Options
Most builders offer a full range of upgrades – products of a higher quality such as thicker carpeting, premium countertops, or full exterior brick cladding. Upgrades will add to the price of the house, but typically the builder will credit you with the cost of the item you are replacing, so the extra expense is limited to the difference between the items. Finally, many builders will also encourage you to consider other features and finishing touches, large and small, that can add value, enjoyment and convenience to your home.
These options are considered extras, and the cost will be added to the price of the home.
Making the Right Choices
So how do you choose the features and finishes that are right for your home, budget and lifestyle? Begin by finding out exactly what standard features are included in the basic price of the home, and how many standard choices the builder offers. Similarly, find out about upgrades and extras: What is available and at what additional cost?
• Review your home buying budget so you know how much you are comfortable spending.
• Choose the upgrades and extras that matter the most to you, and that fit within your budget. Items that involve construction, such as larger windows and doors, are the least expensive and disruptive to do when the house is first being built. On the other hand, standard carpeting can easily be replaced in the future.
• Some builders have set up working relationships with manufacturers and suppliers (e.g. flooring, lighting, cabinets). Appointments are made for you to visit the showrooms of these businesses and work directly with their representatives to make your product selections.
• Consider your family's needs and match your selections with your lifestyle. For instance, white kitchen cupboards may not be ideal in a house full of children, while lever door handles are great for anyone with mobility impairment. Also, consider if your choices are compatible with your belongings—for instance, does the colour of the hardwood flooring work with your dining room set?
• Plan for long-term appeal. Designers suggest that you keep the "big ticket items" neutral, and add colour through items you can change easily later without significant expense.
• Ask about the builder's most popular features; it can be helpful to find out what other home buyers have selected. And take your time. You are going to live with your choices for a long time, so you want to do it right.