Structural Builder Upgrades
Structural upgrades are the most costly to do after the fact but are usually the cheapest to get via your builder - since its less work generally while the house is building.
Examples of recommended structural upgrades are the following:
- Add Extra Rooms
- Upgrade Baseboards, Crown and Trim Moldings
- Add Ceiling Fan Mounts
- Add Flat Panel TV Mount and Conduits
- Upgrade Kitchen Countertops
- Upgrade Carpet Padding
Building Your Dream Home
When choosing which builder upgrades you should apply when building your dream home, the most important thing to consider is your budget. You will likely have limitations on what you can afford, and that should be the most important factor in choosing which upgrades to go for.
Once you know what your total budget is (price for the base model of home, plus upgrades = your total budget), the next step is to list out all the things you want. That list should be prioritized.
One mistake many new homeowners make is they get pulled in to all the flash in the model homes presented to them. Model homes are there to sell you the house, and as such, they will be equipped with many of the options possible. Many of those options are fairly expensive when done by the builder (in fact this is where most of their profit margins come in). What you should do as an owner, is take note of all the cool stuff you like, and then prioritize what needs to be done by the builder for Day 1, and what are things you can do yourself later.
For starters, you are reading my Home Decor DIY blog. So you can see many of the DIY projects that are possible after your home has been built.
Builders will often give an option for an extra room - whether its a bonus room, a loft, extra garage, or a sunroom. If any of these are a must-have for you, then I highly recommend getting this. It not only increases the square footage of your house, meaning it’s valuable when you sell in the future, it’s easier and cheaper to do it from the start.
Upgrade Baseboards, Crown and Trim Moldings
Each wall in your home will be surrounded by Base Moldings to help transition from the flooring to the wall. Your base model will come with a standard height. Likewise, your home may or may not have Crown Moldings to transition from the wall to the ceiling. Crowns are usually optional, and often the second floor won’t have them. If you have the budget, this is one of the best areas to upgrade. It will significantly elevate the look of your home, giving it that extra richness. It provides warmth and makes your home look structurally stronger (decorative only). Upgrade options range from adding a crown where they don’t exist, to increasing the size of the base and crown moldings. Depending on your budget, add these and go with the larger sizes available.
Add Ceiling Fan Mounts
Getting ceiling fans and light fixtures from the builder is often expensive. And I recommend you purchase the fixtures yourself from other retailers. However, a ceiling fan mount in each room is critical to get from the builder. When you have this installed by the builder, they will install extra studs in the ceiling where the fan will be mounted, and mount a ceiling fan box to that. Try to do this one after the fact is difficult, as it will require you to have ceiling/roof access, as well as running the risk of the studs not being where you want them to be which will impact fan stability.
Upgrade Kitchen Countertops
The kitchen is the highlight of any home. This is where you spend most of the time during the day and is alongside the living room in many open home plans. The countertops should be upgraded from the base. If the base is laminate, then upgrading to granite or quartz will add significant value to your home. Both Granite and Quartz are great options - Granite being a natural porous stone, while Quartz is manmade. Quartz is usually more expensive than granite, but since it is not porous, quartz will last longer than granite.
Upgrade Carpet Padding
Carpet Padding is what makes your carpet feel soft when walking on it. New buyers tend to look more at the carpet and end up upgrading that. But its really the padding that makes the carpet feel softer and last longer. Upgrade the padding first, and if you still have budget left, then you can look at different carpet options.