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Building a home is such an exciting moment in your life, especially when you get to the point of the building process when you get to choose everything you want in your new home. When we went through the process of picking out the building upgrades for our semi-custom home, I was so excited! The problem is – if you are not careful, things can get a bit expensive. So, today, I am going to share with you TEN upgrades that are absolutely worth getting, when you are building your new home. I’m hoping that with this list, I can help you with not being so stressed throughout the process.
Looking for ways to save money when building your new home, check out my blog post, 10 Guaranteed Ways To Save When Building A House.
What are upgrades?
So, when picking out a floor plan, you usually get a base plan with all the things that come standard with the home. Everything outside of the “standard” is considered an upgrade. Just to throw out an example, a 14-seer HVAC unit was standard for us, but we upgraded to a 16-seer HVAC unit which had an extra cost. Every builder is different when it comes to what is “standard” and what is considered an upgrade. It’s definitely important to know what is included before upgrading.
There were a lot of things that we did not upgrade because we knew we could upgrade them later down the road, and it’s different for everyone and their families. I believe that if you know that it’s going to be a hassle to upgrade later on, do it, if not, then don’t upgrade. Spend your money where you see that it needs to be spent.
The 10 Builder Upgrades Worth Getting
- High or Vaulted Ceilings
- Upgrades to interior doors
- Upgrades to baseboards, crown, and trim molding
- Electrical lighting & outlets
- Kitchen countertops & cabinets
- Master Bathroom
- Extra Rooms
This list is just my opinion on what upgrades I believe are totally worth getting. I think that every family is different in their needs, resources, and of course skills. If you would like to add to what you believe are great upgrades to get, please leave a comment below. I would love to chat with you.
1. High or Vaulted Ceilings
If you are looking for higher ceilings or adding in a vaulted one, it’s better to just get it done when building. Our home came standard with 8 foot ceilings, although we decided to do a vaulted ceiling in the living room, and everywhere else we kept standard. I personally believe its a good idea to just do the upgrade for ceilings because it would be a hassle to have someone come in and rip apart your home to add that in. Also, I hear that adding height to your home once it’s built can be pretty pricey.
2. Upgrades to Interior Doors
We were able to upgrade all of our interior doors to a farmhouse style door. The upgrade was not expensive at all, and it saved us from future trips to home depot. When we were fixing up our last home, the one thing I did not like was the standard door style look but it was going to be expensive to change out every single door. Being able to have one flat fee with the builder, that was reasonable, was perfect.
3. Upgrades to baseboards, crown, and trim molding
In your home, each of the walls, will have base moldings to help transition from the flooring to the wall. The base option will come with a standard height. If you have the budget to upgrade, this is definitely an area to upgrade. We upgraded our baseboard and trim molding to the craftsman’s look. It will give our home a more modern farmhouse look, which will tie into the interior doors. Crown molding is more of the ceiling to the wall transition, we didn’t upgrade to this but I know a lot of people do and love it.
Investing in good windows I believe is a smart choice, especially energy-efficient windows. Even though it cost more now, it will be a lot cheaper in the long run. Also, adding in more windows (if you want), is also great. Our last house that we bought barely had windows. It was dark and depressing, and because of this we always had to have the lights on. When talking with our builder, I was like give me all the windows you can. Just kidding! But, I did make sure there were a good amount of them.
Definitely look into what type of insulation comes standard with your builder. There are builders that just use batt insulation at the minimum code requirement to insulate a home. This was one of the first things I questioned, which we found out our builder uses spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation fills all spaces and prevents air from escaping, which I was happy about.
6. Electrical lighting & outlets
We currently have not made it to where we get to pick out where our outlets go, but, I will be putting them everywhere. We put in a lot of recessed lighting inside and outside our home to brighten it up. Yes, it was expensive to add this in to our build but worth it. It avoids having to have an electrician come in later on to cut through brand new drywall to add in lights, switches, and outlets. Just go for it!
7. Kitchen cabinets & countertops
The kitchen is the highlight of every home, so this is a great place to do upgrades. When it comes to countertops, if the standard is laminate, then upgrading will definitely increase the value of your home. I suggest upgrading to granite or quartz. Quartz will last longer than granite but is definitely more expensive. With signing a contract with our builder, at the time that we did, we got $3,000 in allowance for granite.
Cabinets were a definite upgrade for us. It’s probably different for every builder but the standard is usually very basic cabinets. The thought of having to rip out kitchen cabinets and having someone install different ones later on stressed me out, so we upgraded. I definitely think it will be worth it.
8. Flooring / Carpet Padding
If you have the budget, I believe flooring is a definite upgrade. Once again, I think it also depends on what your builder offers as standard. We wanted luxury vinyl flooring because its durable, which we have a toddler and two dogs. With LVP, you can choose from wood styled looks, and that’s what we did. Luckily, this is what our builder offered as standard, so we didn’t have to upgrade. It’s different for everyone, but I think flooring is definitely an upgrade that would be worth it so you don’t have to rip flooring out later.
Carpet padding is what makes your carpet feel soft when walking on it. This is an upgrade that we did instead of upgrading the actual carpet. I think a lot of people tend to look at the carpet when the padding is what makes it feel soft. I do though believe you should get a carpet that is stain-resistant and will last a long time.
9. Master Bathroom
This might be different for everyone, but I believe the Master bathroom is definitely worth the upgrade. We upgraded our master bathroom but left the 2nd bathroom alone because we were fine with it being standard. The upgrades we did were a custom shower with a nice tile & hinged glass door. We also added in a freestanding soaker tub. We honestly didn’t want to get all standard, and then a couple years down the road, go in and sledge hammer everything to add what we truly wanted in.
10. Extra Rooms
It’s easier from the start to add in extra rooms, instead of later on. If the builder gives you an option to add on a bonus room extra garage, etc., you should definitely go for it, if it works for you. It increases you Sq. ft. and the value of your home. We added a bonus room to our house, upstairs above the garage, and I’m excited, since that extra room will be used as our son’s playroom (yes, he get’s all 500 sq. ft. of this room just to play).
So there you have the 10 builder upgrades I believe are worth getting. Please if there is something I have missed that you think would be a great upgrade to get, list it below in the comments.