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New Construction - Phase 2 - Design and upgrades

January 28th, 2020



You've settled on a home, signed a contract, and are ready to head to the design center to pick out all of the touches that will make this house a home!  Here are the next steps, and some tips to help you along the way.

Before your design appointment, be sure and study the Sales and Design Studio options report from the builder.  Also, create a Pinterest board with all of your favorite "looks" and colors that you desire.  Bring magazine cut outs, your Pinterest board, and the design options report (and high-lite your wants on this report). If you are really organized you can even make an excel sheet of your budget and design options listed in order of most important to least important. 

Be sure you and your significant other discuss this before the appointment.  That way you both don't show up thinking granite is most important, meanwhile your spouse thinks that pre-wiring outdoor TVs is most important.  

Once you look over the design options report, you might see that the wood flooring is way more expensive than if you just purchased the home with standard carpet.  In this case, if you know you could get it much cheaper elsewhere (like flooring, special paint ect) just pick a product, and plan on ripping it out after you close.  

I spoke with some of my neighbors, and interviewed them to see what their biggest regret was during the design process.  

Here are the top complaints:

1. Choosing the wrong design ... for instance they wish they would have chosen the large walk in shower vs. small shower with soaking tub.  Or they wished they would have opted for the larger island vs high top bar.  If the model home does not have the options to look at, then ask if they can take you to an inventory home that does.  Then you can get an idea of all of your choices and what would fit your lifestyle more.

2.  Another complaint was not upgrading all the counter-tops or flooring during the initial build.  For instance, if you did granite in the kitchen and cultured marble in the bathrooms.  The cultured marble is CRAP!  You might as well splurge for granite everywhere.  The marble does not hold up at all.  Also, if you are going to splurge on a wood look tile ... go ahead and do it everywhere... not just in a couple areas.  You aren't going to be able to find the exact pallet match, and it's so much easier to just do it!  

3.  Another wish for some clients was that they wish they would have done an extended patio, or focused more on extending the covered porch.

These are just a couple things that people have placed more importance on after the fact.  Normally people don't complain about not purchasing the upgraded colors ect. (like oil rubbed bronze hardware) as much as focusing on the upgraded design options like flooring, counter-tops, and building options.

In a nut-shell put your money into the structural upgrade choices since that is the most expensive to change and fix later.  You can always change colors, add molding later, upgrade light fixtures ect.  

There are going to be a million options.  There are going to be levels of carpet that start from basic to level 5 which is like Egyptian cotton... but ignore the fluff!!  Fluff is pretty... and expensive.  It can be upgraded later.

Another thing to consider in the design process is looking at some of the structured cabling.  Look where all the drop ins will be and re-route to your preference.  Same goes for lighting.  I would focus more on where you want the installation, instead of upgrading the actual lighting fixtures themselves.  Same also goes for network jacks and media needs.  Look at surround sound options, ect.

Lastly, have fun.  Be creative.  Ask for help.  Focus on getting the building plan the way you want it, and everything else can be switched out in the long run. 


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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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