Dionne Randle

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New Home Advice: Choosing the Best Upgrades

March 2nd, 2019

When I think of building a new home for myself and my family, the first thing that comes to mind is a big, honking, six-burner, stainless steel commercial-style range with dual ovens, a warming drawer, and more knobs and dials than the cockpit of a 747.

But thats me.

Youve got your own vision of Shangri-La: A totally kicking laundry room with plenty of storage and oh yes a skylight! Or a master bedroom blissfully isolated from the hubbub of everyday family life.

Thats whats great about buying a home before its actually built. You can dream big, and your options are almost limitless.

But your budget isnt.

So what to choose?

After years as a builder and cabinetmaker, Ive learned a thing or two about upgrades. So heres my advice on choosing upgrades:

Go for Higher-End Kitchen Cabinets

Put your upgrade money here and youll never regret it. After all, yourkitchenis where you and your family spend lots of time, and youll want it to be functional, durable, and a joy to be in.

Moving up from standard cabinets to semi-custom gives you way-better construction and longer-lasting finishes. Youll get a wide range of colors and styles to choose from, lots of storage options, and long-lasting details such as dovetailed drawer joinery andcool hardware.

For bells and whistles, you can get extra-tall upper cabinets that reach all the way to the ceiling. Youll nab extra storage space, plus you wont have to dust the tops.

Spring for premium hinges and drawer slides. Soft-close door and drawer hardware stands up to abuse for many years, and will help keep your upgraded cabinets in top shape.

Choose Wool Carpeting

The better the carpet, the better itll stand up to traffic and maintain its good looks. Youll also get a wider choice of styles and colors. Wool is my favorite; its a little less forgiving of red wine spills (been there), but its long-lasting and feels great.

While youre at it, youll want to upgrade your carpet pad, too. Standard pads have minimal cushioning; better pads increase the lifespan of your carpeting. Frothed polyurethane, slab rubber, and natural fiber pads are considerednon-toxic pads with low VOCs.

Add More Wood Flooring

You cant go wrong with wood flooring its one of the few materials that just refuse to go out of style. It has warmth, blends with any décor, and makes you feel like Lord (or Lady) Grantham just looking at it. Put it where everyone can appreciate it living room, great room, and your kitchen.

Oak is a failsafe option thatll always look good and tends to be lower cost than more exotic woods.

Dont Overlook Ceiling Fans

Sometimes overlooked amid all the new house options,ceiling fansare a smart, low-cost upgrade that add lots of energy-saving comfort. Theyll help keep you cool so you dont need to use your AC as much, saving you as much as 165 in energy costs over the life of the fan.

Ceiling fans come in lots of styles from sleek futuristic designs to Victorian reproductions so they even can be a room focal point. Theyre great in bedrooms and family rooms.

Install Skylights

Theskylightsin our house are family favorites. Theyre feel good features that work quietly in the background of daily life, bathing the interior with a soft, natural light.

A skylight adds about 30% more light than a window of comparable size.

No need to worry about too much sunlight you can get skylights that have built-in shades that you can operate manually or by remote control. Fancier skylights open up (great for air circulation) and have auto sensors that close the canopy if rain is detected.

And, Finally, Invest in the Upgrade That Makes You Happy

This is your chance to really make your house your home. So ask yourself: What upgrade would really make your new home yours?

That commercial range I want? Its on my upgrade list.

Whats on yours?

Learn more about the benefits of anewly built home.

And find out how toplan for future needsat the same time your planning your want-to-do list.

John Riha has written seven books on home improvement and hundreds of articles on home-related topics. He's been a residential builder, the editorial director of the Black & Decker Home Improvement Library, and the executive editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

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Disclaimer : The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Houston Association of REALTORS®

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