This post is sponsored by AV Homes, our builder. I approached them about partnering on a few posts, but all the excitement, experiences and just plain love are all my own and I couldn’t wait to share them with you!
As you know we are building a new home! You can read all about that here. With that there are SO many decisions to be made! I wish I had some one to prep me and tell me about all the builder upgrades WORTH getting so here I am today giving you a little guidance! Pin this for later and or save it to your desktop for future reference!
To start, when you purchase a new home you start with base price which comes with all the bones to have a great house. Our AV Home came with some great standard options, Whirlpool appliances, water heater, energy saving features, 5 inch baseboards, 10ft ceilings, and more. Even with those features, we decided to personalize our house even more with some upgrades! Below you will find some options that I think home builders need to think about as they are building. Now listen. Are you listening? Good……
This list is just my opinion. I honestly think EVERY family has different needs, different resources and skills. So these all may not apply to you! If you would like to add to the conversation I would love that! Just leave a comment and we can start chatting!
Location! Location! Location. This was NUMBER ONE for us even more than the house. We wanted to be in a certain neighborhood and in a great school district and that’s what we sought after first! But lucky for us we landed a great location AND a great house, something that our builder prides themselves on!
Some say spend the money on the BEST lot you can and get a smaller house. Even though I agree, in our case all the lots were pretty amazing. Backing up to the golf course in our hood would have cost us an extra 30k-60k. Of course I wanted to be on the golf course but Reggie didn’t feel it necessary and felt uncomfortable with golf balls flying into the yard. So we built our house right across the street on the best lot for us!
Think about the neighborhood you’re building in and also the lot you are getting. How long will you be there? Is there a park close by? Where is the grocery store? How is the noise? Do I want a culdesac? Is there a lot of traffic on your street? Are schools walking distance? Ask yourself the hard questions. It’s easy to get distracted with all the excitment.
When building with a builder like AV Homes, you will get the choice to add rooms, bathrooms and extra garages depending on the floor plan. Take the time to really figure out what your family needs. We had the choice to add an extra garage to our floor plan which would’ve given our home a 4th garage. It sounded great, but we just didn’t see us needing it. Years from now we will have multiple drivers, but we didn’t think an extra garage would do us any good. The extra garage also cut into our backyard space and to be honest and extra garage means extra stuff! ha! So needless to say we skipped that. BUT if your family loves to go out to the lake, or you have 4 wheelers I think this would be an excellent choice! Plus it doesn’t hurt your resale.
We also added bathrooms. Our plan came with 2.5 bathroom so we added 2 more which made our home a 4.5 bath home. We made that choice because we knew as the kids got older, privacy would be a big issue. Especially having a little girl. I can see her being very frustrated sharing a bathroom with her two older brothers!
Structural Upgrades to consider:
Extra Garage or storage areas
Extra Doors- French or Sliding
Balcony if you have a killer view
Trim and Molding- AV Homes comes with 5 1/4 in baseboards….it’s so dreamy!!!
Our next priority (and really our number one priority) was to upgrade the kitchen. We all know the kitchen is the heart of the home, so we decided to spend most of our budget in this area. AV Homes has a great basic package that includes 42in upper cabinets, undermount sink, Delta faucets and more,to start , but we wanted to really make it our own. The options at the design center were endless which I really appreciated because I have very specific taste!
We started by upgrading the cabinets to a shaker style with a full overlay! What you see above are finished side panels, trash bins, and apron front sink. All upgrades! We then upgrade our already standard granite to a easy to clean marble look quartz. We also configured the kitchen to have a full set of Jenn-Air professional appliances. This was something that I had always dreamed of having so I’m happy that AV had the choice from 3 kitchen packages, Whirlpool , Kitchen-Aid , and Jenn-Air. I also added multiple water sources that include an extra prep sink for cutting veggies and a pot-filler over the stove. My thought was to make my workspace flow.
We also added under cabinet lighting, crown on the top and bottom of cabinets and glass inserts to some of the cabinets. All things we knew we wouldn’t do later!
One thing I wish we would’ve added was an ice maker. Can you imagine! No need to run to the store every time we have a party! We plan on putting one in the pantry later!
Kitchen Upgrades to consider:
Best quality cabinets
Best quality appliances ( think about the configuration of the kitchen if you plan on upgrading later, slide in range, wall oven and vent hood for a professional looking kitchen)
Taller cabinets for extra storage
Granite/ Quartz countertops
Extra sinks and water sources ( prep sink, pot-filler, etc)
Beverage or Wine fridges or prewires for the future
Glass cabinets with finished insides
Pre plumed for reverse osmosis ( if drinking water is not great)
Crown molding for extra cabinet details
AV Homes offered a ton of choices. While we ultimately decided to opt out of the builders flooring selections (budget constraints; did you SEE the upgrades in the kitchen? haha!) I loved the way they displayed them. All the samples are attached to the rolling displays with magnets. Genius! If your budget allows, just get your floors done. It’s just so much easier!
Upgrades to consider:
Hardwood or Tile in the main areas
Upgrade carpet pads for extra comfort
Most people don’t think about lighting when they’re building a home but I would challenge you to really dive in and think about how you want your home to feel! Not only should you add windows if you can, (AV Homes gave us an option to add 16ft sliding doors and we jumped on it because all of the light that would be coming into the family room) take the time to think about how your home is positioned as far as exposure and plan around that. If you get great light in the morning but not so much in the afternoon, for dinner and homework time, add recessed lights and task lighting to help.
Add extra outlets, usb outlets, prewired scones and recessed lights too! My favorite part was adding the pre-wired sconces on the walls next to the sliding doors. It’s going to be perfect for a gallery wall!
Upgrades to consider:
Under cabinet lights with a switch
Extra recess in main areas
Extra outlets in pantry or move existing outlets to a move convenient spot ( like if your hanging a TV)
Outlets outside for TV and Christmas lights
Prewire for sconces
Floor outlets for bigger rooms
Ceiling fan prewires
Fun Builder Upgrades to Consider if your Budget Allows
Central Vacuum– We were so close to installing this, but backed out last minute. If your builder provides it ask about it. I’ve always wanted that baseboard kicker! My girlfriends screamed NOOOOO when they found out that I picked and extra sink over the central vacuum hahaha!
Intercom System– Something else I wish I got. All the kid rooms are upstairs and our master is downstairs. Guess who’s in charge of waking the kids up in the morning? Guess who has to truck all the way upstairs. Every. Morning. This girl! haha!
Video Surveillance/ Security System– Also another luxury item. Just to keep an eye on things. Plus with all the apps these days you can control just about everything from your phone!
Outdoor Packages– If you can get your backyard done do it! We plan on doing this in a few stages but it never hurts to ask what your builder charges for backyard packages. Grass and cement maybe all you need or want!
Water bibs– our home came with two and we added one more on the garage side just in case we want to wash cars! So much better than dragging a hose from the back! Plus it was a cheap upgrade!
Surround Sound– LOVE this. It’s so nice to have music playing around the entire home when you are entertaining! We put prewire speakers in the family room and outdoor patio. If it was my way I would have put a put a speaker by the front door and one in each room!
Paint– If you have high ceilings or a two story foyer like me, have the builder paint your home! The price AV Homes gave us was comparable to any quotes we got so we decided to go with them! Plus they had my favorite color, accessible beige so I was already won over!
At the end of the day have your builder do as MUCH as possible! Be realistic with your budget, your time and skill! People will tell you it’s easier just to rollllllll it in your mortgage, which is true, but you need to stick to your budget because things add up! We personally aren’t interested in having a MEGA mortgage but for others that’s not a concern.
Ask questions. Ask so many questions. Ask all the question you every wanted to know! This will give you piece of mind!
I know I’m missing something! What’s one personal builder upgrade you don’t think you could live without?