real estate agent in mississauga ontario

6 Upgrades to Skip When Building a New Home

Thursday Oct 11th, 2018


For buyers looking to purchase a new home direct from a builder, there are many key factors to consider. From floor plans, lots and exposures to structural changes, exterior elements and interior upgrades, buyers need to be strategic in their choices, especially when looking to enhance standard inclusions. 

It’s a fine balance between choosing what upgrades you want to make now to save hassle upfront, but then there are budgetary and priority considerations too. Sometimes it pays to wait, plus there is the added benefit of having more selection when choosing your final products and materials.
If you are contemplating new construction, here are some builder upgrades that you can consider skipping. 

It’s easy to fall in love with the glitz of sparkling quartz or granite countertops, but what you may find is that you can save money by having them installed by an outside company. Builders typically use a handful of suppliers for their natural stone and solid surface countertops, which often translates to limited choices for the homeowner. By sourcing the countertops on your own, you’ll have more selection to choose from and you’ll skip paying the builder premium. In the meantime, opt for a neutral standard countertop option (likely laminate) and upgrade when time and budget permits.

With new home construction, tile work is often one of the most selected upgrades, but it’s also less expensive to hire out on your own. If you plan to install your own countertops, wait on upgrading your backsplash as well. Premium builder backsplashes offer little in the way of tile choices. You’re better to source your own product, hunt down a deal and pay an outside installer once you move in. 

Cabinet hardware is the jewellery of your kitchen – it needs to reflect your personal style and aesthetic. However, builder knobs and pulls can be lacklustre, so it’s best to skip this upgrade and source your own. Some builders will even agree to install your cabinets without pre-drilled holes, allowing you to choose any size, material and style of hardware once construction is complete. This is an easy do-it-yourself project too and a great way to save money.

Most builders offer four-appliance basic packages, which include a fridge, stove, range hood and dishwasher. But, if higher-grade appliances are important to you, skip this upgrade and source your own. Some builders will give you a credit that can be put towards your fancier equipment, which is a nice bonus. Just be sure that whatever you select will fit the dimensions of your kitchen or work with your builder to adjust the cabinet dimensions. There will likely be a fee for this, but it will save you headaches. 

One of the easiest upgrades to source on your own is lighting. You’ll find that most builders’ standard lighting packages are basic, boring and bland – and oftentimes their premium selections are too. Instead, do your research to decide the type of lighting design that you want in your new home and look for interesting fixtures that appeal to your taste and budget. You’ll also need to know how many fixtures are required and their desired locations and purposes. If you need additional ceiling light boxes or switches, do this upgrade through the builder – it’s a smart expense. To pass the final inspection, have the builder install the standard lighting package (and cap any extra boxes), then swap them out with your new lights once you are settled in. 

Another upgrade that’s simple to manage on your own or hire out is interior paint. Many builders will include one or two standard colour selections from their list of limited options and charge a premium for any additional paint. It may be tempting to opt for the upgrade before moving in; however, it’s less expensive to paint yourself. Plus, it gives you more time to live in the home to see what hues will complement your lighting choices and select the paint colours, brands and finishes that you prefer. 

Unsure of what upgrades will give you the most bang for your buck come resale time? An experienced realtor can provide you with valuable market insights to help you determine what renovations or modifications will resonate with buyers. Even if you plan to live in your new build for years to come, it’s great to know what enhancements will boost your home’s value today and into the future.

For more information, please contact Deborah Clerk, Sales Representative at Keller Williams Realty, Brokerage in Mississauga, Ontario, to discuss your project.

Post a comment