What To Upgrade In Your New Builder Home And What NOT To! — DESIGNED (2022)

What To Upgrade In Your New Builder Home And What NOT To! — DESIGNED (1)

February 13, 2019 in Kitchen, Bath, Designing, FAQ, Products, Reader Advice,

Are you buying a new home and feel like the builder is asking a lot for the upgrades you want to do?

Maybe you need to cut back on the upgrades, but want to make some wise choices about where to invest now and what you can hold off on, to do yourself later.

I’ve got some tips today to help you do just that.

I just had a recent Designed in a Click consultation with someone who was wanting to know where would be the best place to put in builder upgrades in her new home.

I thought my response to her would maybe help other new home buyers in her same situation.

Consider This With Each Upgrade

I’ve seen enough remodeling mess over the years to know that this type of question should be answered with a real look at what it takes to replace or redo something later on down the road.

Here’s my basic rule of thumb…..if it would require a big tear out, expense and mess to replace, spend the money there and get a product you will be happy with for a long time.

What To Upgrade In Your New Builder Home And What NOT To! — DESIGNED (2)

1. Flooring

Installing a quality flooring product will not only hold up better over time, but it adds value to your property.

If you have an open plan house, don’t chop up the flooring materials. People are running quality wood floors into their kitchens these days or are going for wood-look tile if they need even more durability.

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The look of wood on the floor is king and wider planks with a neutral, medium tone can be a style that lasts a long time.

My floors are a high quality oak, have a wide plank and a grayed down neutral look. They were a big investment when I remodeled but I am so happy with them even now, some 5 years after they were installed. They literally look as good today as the day I installed them.

If doing real wood and you have pets or constant high traffic, make sure you could go in and refinish it later to touch up the finish if you need to. Make sure you have a wear layer that is significant.

Be sure to check your windows will have some UV protection on them too, or wood floors will discolor and fade over time.

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(Video) Why This Poorly-Designed House is Driving Everyone Crazy

2. Tile


Here’s another product that is a big expense and a pain to change out later on down the road.

The hard surfaces in bathrooms are smart to get right the first time.

Go for that free standing tub in the master and tile all around it with a floor tile you love. That expense right there, in a bathroom remodel, can really set you back and take weeeeks to install.

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3. Paint

Paint is something that can get watered down in a builder house and that would benefit from an upgrade.

I had my mother-in-law’s house repainted before she sold it and they found an old can of original paint from 20 years ago when the house was built.

It was still liquid! My painter opened it up and there were no solids in it, it was mostly all water!

Builders typically use flat paint on the walls, in a lower quality, and it will show fingerprints and mark up fast. If you can upgrade here and make sure they are painting with the quality you intend, then that is a good investment just in the maintenance of your home.

When I do remodels, we typically spec Sherwin Williams Emerald paint, a washable matte type paint. It's more expensive, but lasts years and has a beautiful finish.

I typically just use an oil based enamel in a satin finish for the trim and doors.

I don't like glossy paint on trim as it tends to look cheap and show every imperfection. Unless it is intentionally done as a high gloss specialty finish and the material has been carefully prepared underneath, I steer toward a more satin finish look.

4. Texture

You should also look at the texture of the walls and ceiling in the model.

Everyone is going with less texture these days. It is something we smooth out a lot in remodels. Builders often do a lot of heavy texturing to hide imperfections and make for an easier and faster job for the painters.

Redoing that texture is expensive and a dirty job. No one enjoys living through that in a remodel. It’s the equivalent of a popcorn ceiling, but on the walls.

Can you see the rough texture on these surfaces in the image below?

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(Video) 2 STORY MODULAR model house with unending square footage! Prefab House Tour

5. Cabinetry

If you know what to expect with regard to upgrading your cabinets, then I would invest in higher quality cabinetry.

I say that, because I’ve seen people have “upgraded” cabinets that really didn’t have the kind of features I would have liked to have seen.

Here are the features that I like to see in cabinetry:

  • Upper cabinets that are tall in the space, like cabinets that run to the ceiling in a kitchen. It just gives a feeling of height and a more custom or “upgraded” look, in addition to adding more storage.

  • A door style that is simple and not too traditional.

  • Full overlay doors so that there is not a big gap between the doors where you see the face frame of the cabinet or the center stile doesn’t block the cabinet box when you open the doors. (See pics below.)

  • Full extension or soft close glides so that you can get into the back of the drawers.

  • Refrigerators that are built-in to cabinetry with vertical storage above. It makes for much more useful storage.

  • Built-in trash drawers, no exposed cans hanging around!

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What not to upgrade with your builder

If you are building a custom home, ignore this part. You are getting what you want - full stop.

However, if you are buying a product like a production home and your builder is giving you the option to upgrade some items, then these are the ones that are less of a pain and expense to upgrade yourself, on down the road.

I would suggest to let the builder install their standards and then you come in and change them out, after you own the place and have maybe had some time to save up for these extras.

1. Decorative Lighting

Of course, I’m all about beautiful, decorative lighting. But…….

…..unless that chandelier is 25’ up in the air, you might get better value on your light fixtures if you buy them yourself and have them installed by an electrician on your own, after you own the house.

Go ahead and plan what you will buy and make sure the j-boxes are in the right place for those new fixtures. Let the builder install their standard fixtures.

Decorative lighting is one of the most tempting of all upgrades as builder offerings are usually so typical and unattractive.

This is often the first place homeowners will go to upgrade.

Changing out the lighting is a relatively easy fix! It can be done in a day with little or no mess. (With a master electrician, of course!)

(Video) I Opened a 5 Star Lego Restaurant!

What To Upgrade In Your New Builder Home And What NOT To! — DESIGNED (15)

2. Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

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Same thing holds true for cabinet knobs and pulls.

As long the holes are in the location you want with your new hardware, then letting them install their 75 cent cabinet pull is just fine. (The hard part is drilling the holes properly!)

You can come in with your own selection of cabinet pull, after you own the house, and install that upgrade! No mess! Just a little elbow grease.

3. plumbing fixtures

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While it is nice to have everything done, complete and ready for move in, most plumbing fixtures can be changed out without too much fuss, if you choose to upgrade.

I’m talking about faucets that are not wall mounted here. Upgrading a powder room faucet or a kitchen faucet is not that big of a deal with a plumber and generally affects nothing else surrounding the area when changing out.

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4. mirrors

This is one place where I would just say “Hold the door!”

(Video) *New Construction Updates + Vlog (We Have Cabinets & Exterior!) + New Home Design Mistakes

Just don’t have mirrors installed. No mirrors are better than basic builder mirrors, typically.

Oftentimes, they will just adhere plain, unfinished-edge plate glass mirrors to the walls and then it ruins the sheetrock behind when they are pulled off.

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Now, if they are framing in a mirror into some moulding, that’s a different scenario…..OR if a mirror fits snugly between two walls without a gap.

It’s those plain big, wide, monsters you see glued to the walls of bathrooms that I would reject and install my own later.

I’m on the fence about this next one. It could go either way….


Countertops

Most builders are still using spotty granite as their go-to material to offer and most homeowners want a durable form of a marble look counter.

Most homeowners don’t want spotty granite.

I do know that countertop selections make a huge difference in a kitchen or bathroom. They can also be an expensive part of the overall cost.

The main thing I would do here is NOT go for a spotty granite.

This might be the case where you just go with a honed black granite (less expensive option and still very on trend now), and do your expensive quartzite or quartz counters some years down the road.

If you are looking to save on upgrades, if I had to pick which to upgrade, I’d spend more on my flooring, texture, paint, cabinets, etc. It is less invasive to change out countertops on down the road than it is to redo floors, texture, and cabinets.

I did that with my kitchen remodel. I used an “almost black” leather finish granite, Marron Cohiba. It was not on the high end side of countertop choices. But of course, I love it, and it was the best choice design-wise for my kitchen. :-)

If you can find a countertop you can live with just fine for awhile without upgrading too much, then this might be a wise choice for you.

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Ease of REplacement

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Remodeling can be a big deal! It is expensive and very invasive if you are living in during the process.

Always consider ease of replacement down the road, when considering upgrades for a production builder home.

Calling in one handyman or sub-contractor to do the job is a much smaller investment and a lot less trouble than having to have two or three involved or even a General Contractor to do the work.

Did you enjoy this article?

I’ve got lots of very helpful, affordable, guides on all things design and remodeling. You can check them out in my Outlet Shop.

This one, the BATHROOM DESIGN GUIDE - Project Check List For Remodel Or New Construction is proving to be super popular right now. If you are planning a new bathroom in the near future, I’d recommend you check it out.

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FAQs

Can you modify a new-build house? ›

This depends on whether or not structural or non-structural alternations are prohibited in the contract. You may be able to make these changes but will need permission from your freeholder (and they may be able to charge you for this permission). Subletting the property might be restricted, as well as having pets.

What are the problems with new-build houses? ›

Common new build faults and what to do about them
  • Poorly fitting windows and doors. Ill-fitting windows and doors may not be immediately obvious, until colder, windier weather arrives. ...
  • Pointing. ...
  • Insulation. ...
  • Guttering. ...
  • Vents. ...
  • Fixtures and fittings. ...
  • Plastering and decoration. ...
  • Resolving issues.

What extras can you get when buying a new-build? ›

Another common extra developers offer for buyers of new-builds is free furnishings, appliances and other fixtures and fittings. They can be tempting, not to mention ultra-convenient as someone else is doing the work for you.

What upgrades to skip on a new build? ›

New Construction Upgrades to Avoid
  • Appliances. If appliances aren't included with the house, you may be better off buying them yourself. ...
  • Lighting. Another new construction upgrade to avoid is lighting. ...
  • Cabinet hardware. ...
  • Kitchen backsplash. ...
  • Outdoor space. ...
  • Crown molding.
16 Mar 2022

What home upgrades are not worth it? ›

Expensive sound systems, high-end pool lights, or showy DIY home upgrades like LED shower heads and toilets aren't likely to add any real value to your home. “They are fun upgrades, but they are so costly to install and won't add a significant resale value,” says Krzyston.

Can you put a TV on the wall in a new build? ›

Mounting TV's Onto Walls In New Builds

For each type you require different types of fixings. I recommend Corefix fixings for drylined walls and fixing direct into a studs or using wall anchors for drylined walls. Consider installing plywood behind wall for heavy TV's on stud walls.

Can builder change the layout? ›

Developers are prohibited from making any changes to the project's sanctioned plan without the consent of the home buyers under Section 14 of the RERA. Section 14 states that any changes to an individual apartment's designs and specifications are only permissible with the prior written consent of the house buyer.

How do you customize a new build? ›

5 Ways to Personalize your New Construction Home
  1. Paint or Upgrade your Front Door. As guests walk up to your house your front door is the first impression they have of your home. ...
  2. Upgrade your Fixtures. ...
  3. Add Architectural Features. ...
  4. Paint your Walls. ...
  5. Add Wallpaper.
18 Oct 2018

How do you tell if a new house is well built? ›

Other signs of quality construction include concrete based siding (long-lasting and versatile), use of Joist Systems vs. trusses, and quality entry doors and fixtures.

What is the lifespan of a new build house? ›

This is largely debated within the construction industry as it is really dependant on the materials that are used, the quality of the workmanship and the maintenance that is required and followed through on. On average, the generally expected and acceptable lifespan of a home should last at least 60 years.

How do you know if a home builder is good? ›

10 Things to Look for in a Good Contractor or Custom Builder
  1. Integrity and honesty.
  2. A solid contract upfront.
  3. Good communication.
  4. Solid references and quality work that you can see for yourself.
  5. Fair pricing.
  6. Quality craftsmanship and products that last for many years.
10 Mar 2021

Which builder upgrades are worth it? ›

11 Upgrades You'll Want in Your New Home
  • Extra-height kitchen cabinets. We're all looking for extra space in the kitchen, and sometimes it's best to look up. ...
  • Pots and pans drawers. ...
  • Deep over-fridge cabinet. ...
  • Custom-painted cabinets. ...
  • High cabinets. ...
  • Designated microwave spot. ...
  • Glass cabinet inserts. ...
  • Upgraded tile.

How do you increase the value of a new build? ›

6 Tips to add value to a new build home
  1. Tip #1: The Front Door. ...
  2. Tip #2: Redecorate. ...
  3. Tip #3: Replace windows with double glazing. ...
  4. Tip #4: Kitchen makeover. ...
  5. Tip #5: Freshen up your bathroom. ...
  6. Tip #6: Create a gorgeous garden. ...
  7. Find a New Build home with Peabody.
25 Jun 2021

Can you negotiate builder upgrades? ›

Just Ask! Sometimes negotiating upgrades is as simple as asking for it! Many builders offer periodic incentives and special deals throughout the year to help lower your costs and put room in the budget for upgrades.

Why do new builds lose value? ›

There are a number of reasons why new builds lose value. These include: New builds are overpriced compared to similar second-hand homes in the area. Developers don't always build new homes to a good standard.

What is the first thing to do in a new build? ›

Things To Do After You Move
  1. Schedule A Deep Clean. Your first thought may be to deep clean your new home. ...
  2. Unpack Your Supplies. ...
  3. Set Up Safety Measures For Kids And Pets. ...
  4. Change House Locks. ...
  5. Get A Security System Installed. ...
  6. Test Your Smoke Detectors And HVAC System. ...
  7. Update Your Address. ...
  8. Transfer Utilities.
17 Aug 2022

How much should you spend on new home upgrades? ›

Custom home upgrades can cost anywhere from 10-20% of your total home cost. This includes upgrades like fixtures, flooring, countertops, electrical additions, etc. So if you are building a $250,000 home, you would spend anywhere from $25,000 - $50,000 on home upgrades.

What decreases the value of a home? ›

Changes in the real estate market can lower the value of your home. Natural disasters and climate change can lower your property value because the property is a greater risk to purchase. Foreclosures in your neighborhood can also drive down property value.

What adds the most value to a home? ›

Projects That Boost Your Home's Value
  • Remodel the kitchen. Updates to the kitchen pay off. ...
  • Upgrade the appliances. ...
  • Boost the bathrooms. ...
  • Remodel the attic or basement. ...
  • Get decked out. ...
  • Boost curb appeal. ...
  • Improve energy efficiency.

How can I increase my home value 2022? ›

Top Home Improvements That Add Value in 2022
  1. Garage Door Replacement. A new garage door updates the look of the home and adds to curb appeal. ...
  2. Manufactured Stone Veneer Installation. ...
  3. Minor Mid-Range Kitchen Remodel. ...
  4. Fiber-Cement Siding Installation. ...
  5. Vinyl Window Installation.

Where should you not put your TV? ›

Avoid placing the TV in the corner of the room or on a small furniture piece. Just like in your living room, you could mount the television on the wall, as long as the spot you choose will not interfere with your artwork or other décor. You could also hang it from the ceiling on mounted brackets.

Can you paint the walls in a new build house? ›

Painting and wallpapering

If you've just moved in and your house is brand new, your walls will probably be decorated with emulsion paint. You might be happy with the colour, but if not ideally you should wait until the drying out process is complete before repainting or wallpapering.

Can you put a Sky dish on a new build house? ›

These are quite common on new build properties or maybe as a result of a previous planning approval. In those cases full planning permission might be required relevant to that condition or restriction. So when Sky come and install a satellite dish on your house, they are using Class H in order to carry out the work.

How long should you leave a new build before decorating? ›

A new build home must be left to dry out. It is advisable to wait for the house to dry out and settle as small hairline cracks and nail pops will appear in the first 6-12 months. This is completely normal, after this, there should be no problem decorating your new house.

What can I do if I am not happy with my builder? ›

How to deal with poor workmanship
  1. Gather evidence. Take photos of the problems. ...
  2. Speak to your trader. Call the builder to let them know you're unhappy with the work and how you want them to put it right. ...
  3. Start a formal complaint. ...
  4. Use an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme. ...
  5. Contact trading standards. ...
  6. By builders. ...
  7. DIY.
6 Jan 2022

What is a normal builder's margin? ›

From experience, some residential construction projects can have a builder's margin between 15% to 30%. If a builder charges a small margin, it doesn't mean this is a good thing.

How do you make a new build look unique? ›

Lighting is another place to add character to a new build. With the wide variety of lighting available, it is easy to choose a unique fixture with lots of character. This is always such a focal point and an asset to any home. Light fixtures allow a home to have a cozy feel with adding the charm it needs.

What should you decorate first in a new house? ›

Start with the bedroom.

If you're on a tight budget, opt for new bedding first, but don't skimp on thread count! Buy as well as you can afford to spend in this area — it makes a huge difference. If you have a little more money, paint the bedroom walls to complement your new bedding.

How do you tell if a house is poorly built? ›

Check for flooring issues such as: tile cracks; uneven wood floor boards or widening cracks between boards; water stains in carpeting or other flooring at the base of windows, doors, or showers; and discolored or curling linoleum.

Is a house worth more after its built? ›

Quality of build and appearance

A well built and maintained home is going to be worth much more than a poorly built and maintained home, all things being equal. If you are building or renovating a home, there are a number of assets that might help.

What house building materials last the longest? ›

Stone lasts a very long time and is one of the most durable materials to use in building and construction. It can be more difficult to move and transport around due to its weight, but it is naturally resistant to the elements and is also aesthetically appealing.

Is it better to buy new build or old house? ›

More Expensive – Although new builds are usually more energy-efficient than older builds, they often sell at a higher premium so can cost more than comparable older houses. Delays – If you're waiting for your new house to be built, then you might experience delays which could affect the completion date.

How do you know if your house is outdated? ›

12 Signs Your House is Officially Outdated
  1. Popcorn Ceilings. We had to start here. ...
  2. Wood Paneling. ...
  3. Bathroom Carpets. ...
  4. Laminate and Tile Countertops. ...
  5. Linoleum / Vinyl Flooring. ...
  6. Shag Carpeting. ...
  7. Vertical Blinds & Big Drapes. ...
  8. Floral-patterned Furniture.
6 Mar 2019

Which builder has best construction quality? ›

Over the past 25 years, it has consistently followed its vision and brand philosophy to establish itself as a market leader and pioneer.
  • Brigade Group.
  • Embassy Group.
  • Godrej Properties.
  • Hiranandani Group.
  • Mahindra Lifespace Developers.
  • Prestige Estates Projects.
  • Salarpuria Sattva.
  • Sobha.
5 Mar 2021

Who is the best quality home builder? ›

Top 20 Home Builders Ranked – 2022 America's Most Trusted Study
  • Taylor Morrison.
  • Ashton Woods.
  • Stanley Martin.
  • TriPointe Homes.
  • LGI Homes.
  • K. Hovnanian.
  • Mattamy Homes.
  • Century Communities.

How do you spot if your builder is struggling? ›

IT'S YOUR CALL. alwayscheckyourbuilder.com.au

Our searches identify Australian builders with a pattern of unhappy customers or business failures or who are in, or are associated with someone in, a dangerous financial state.

Where do you splurge when building a house? ›

6 Areas to Splurge When Building Your Custom Home
  1. The Kitchen. For many people, the kitchen is the heart of the home—the place where they cook and dine with their family, entertain loved ones and friends, and spend holidays and special occasions. ...
  2. Flooring. ...
  3. Storage Space. ...
  4. Electric Outlet Placement. ...
  5. Outdoor Space. ...
  6. The Mud Room.
8 Sept 2016

Is buying new build worth it? ›

Are new build homes worth it? New build homes may have a higher price tag than older houses, but with cheaper energy bills and lower maintenance, they may be cheaper in the long run. If you want the ease of purchase and freedom to personalise your home as you please, new build homes are more than worthwhile.

What does upgrading your builders do? ›

As a Defensive Building

Once the Town Hall is upgraded to level 14, the Builder's Hut can be upgraded to add a short-range turret that fires at enemies.

Which renovations add the most value? ›

Consider these renovations as ways to increase your home's value:
  1. Boost your curb appeal. ...
  2. Add livable square footage. ...
  3. Add a double-sink bathroom vanity. ...
  4. Install a kitchen island or walk-in pantry. ...
  5. Build or convert a home office. ...
  6. Expand your outdoor space. ...
  7. Build a backyard ADU or in-law suite.
4 Feb 2022

How much less should you offer on a new build? ›

Latest analysis shows that buyers of new build homes are currently negotiating a typical discount of around 14% from the asking price.

How much should you give a builder up front? ›

If they ask for a deposit to pay for materials, offer to buy them yourself instead of paying a deposit - that way, at least you own the materials if something goes wrong. If the work will take a long time, you may not be able to avoid a deposit. Aim to push it down as much as possible, and don't agree to more than 25%.

What upgrades add the most value to a home? ›

Projects That Boost Your Home's Value
  • Remodel the kitchen. Updates to the kitchen pay off. ...
  • Upgrade the appliances. ...
  • Boost the bathrooms. ...
  • Remodel the attic or basement. ...
  • Get decked out. ...
  • Boost curb appeal. ...
  • Improve energy efficiency.

How do I modernize my home in 2022? ›

Easy Ways to Update Your House in 2022
  1. Upgrade Fixtures and Appliances. Many older homes still have brass or gold hardware. ...
  2. Refresh Walls, Flooring, and Countertops. Wallpaper is making a comeback. ...
  3. Design a consistent color scheme and flowy layout. ...
  4. Improve Interior Lighting.

What home improvements should be done first? ›

The kitchen should always be one of the first projects to tackle because homeowners want to make a good first impression, and it is one of the rooms where guests spend the most time. “This renovation includes new cabinets, flooring, appliances, countertops and often, the layout, to open up more space,” Muller says.

What brings down property value? ›

Closure of facilities – public services, employment, amenities; if any of these services close, it could impact the value of your house as they're often appealing to buyers. Low school ratings – buyers pay to live in areas with good schools because they want their children to have access to the best education.

What brings most value to a house? ›

The top five projects that add the most dollar value to a sale in 2022 are refinishing hardwood floors, installing new wood floors, upgrading insulation, converting a basement to a living area and renovating closets, according to a joint report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the National Association ...

What home trends are out for 2022? ›

In 2022, designers are ditching faux-distressed furniture, redoing kitchens to erase the all-white mode, and tossing boho chic throw pillows and wall hangings that are ubiquitous in the farmhouse trend.

What is the next home decor trend 2022? ›

You'll see lots of curved chairs, sofas with gently sloping arms, and round poufs in velvet, linen, and nubby boucle fabrics. In addition to natural wood tones and vintage pieces, we'll also see a return of black accent pieces. Marble furniture and accents will also be popular in 2022.

What style of house is in for 2022? ›

Expect to see more arched openings, barrel-vault ceilings, and curvy furniture, The Plan Collection team predicts. Also, you may spot more arched windows and doors as well as curved ceilings for porches or decks and curved walkways.

What are the five most important things to look for in a new home? ›

Here're 10 important features to consider when buying a house.
  • Location of the house.
  • The size of the lot.
  • Number of bedrooms.
  • Number of bathrooms.
  • The Kitchen layout.
  • The age, style and condition of home appliances.
  • Age of the house.
  • The price.
30 May 2021

Will there be a drop in house prices in 2022? ›

Interest rate predictions

Based on this data, Capital Economics has forecast house prices to rise throughout 2022, before falling by 5% in 2023.

Is it a good time to remodel your home 2022? ›

Homeowner demand could taper

Last year, remodeling spending rose 9% year over year, and it's projected to rise 17% this year, according to Will. Historical average annual growth is about 5%.

Does a fence increase property value? ›

A fence itself does not add as much value to the home when compared to material and construction costs. It will enhance the value of the home only if there is a true need for such an outdoor structure.

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