As you know we are building a new home! You can read all about that process on the blog with my first New Home Building post. With that there are SO many decisions to be made! I wish I had someone to prep me and tell me about all the best builder upgrades WORTH getting while I was going through the process.

So here I am today giving you a little guidance! Pin this for later and or save it to your desktop for future reference!

Builder Upgrades worth getting

To start, when you purchase a new home you always start with base price which comes with all the bones to have a great house. Our 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 new home builders like yourself 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! 

New Build Home: Location Upgrades

Builder Upgrades Ideas -Just Destiny Mag

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! 

A shot of our little town lined with palm trees. Wigwam
A shot of our little town lined with palm trees.

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! 

Wigwam Resort Homes
Builder Upgrades worth Getting

Location Upgrades

  • Think about the neighborhood you’re building in and also the lot you are getting. Ask yourself how long do you plan on staying there? Is there a grocery store and shopping near by? How is the noise? Is there a lot of traffic? ( Think of kids playing in the yard) Are schools in walking distance?
  • What will the commute look like to work and school or any other activities or clubs?
  • If you have a chance, meet some of your neighbors before you decide to move in. Just a friendly introduction will do!
  • If your home has killer views will those views be blocked 5 or 10 years from now because of development?

Building a New Home: Structural Upgrades

When building with a builder you will get the choice to add rooms, bathrooms, and extra garages depending on the floor plan. Take the time to 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 the 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 an 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. 

Update: We should have got that extra garage! haha!

New Home Build 
Builder Upgrades worth Getting

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! 

We also added a walk in shower to our master bathroom. Big beautiful bathrooms will never go out of style and will always be worth it.

Upgraded walk-in master shower.Builder Upgrades worth Getting
Upgraded walk-in master shower.

Structural Upgrades

  • Think wisely about upgrading storage options like garages or storage rooms. You may not need it now but you might need it in the future.
  • Adding extra baths and rooms is always a great idea and will help you home stand apart it you ever decide to sell it.
  • Window upgrades are also something to think about. I’m a lover of natural light so big windows are something I appreciate. Add extra window and door to the outside where ever you can.
  • Balconies and patios are also a wide structural upgrade. Adding to the usable space of the overall house makes for a great place to entertain and enjoy your home.

More home building upgrades worth getting:

  • Extra garage or storage areas including pantry
  • Fireplaces
  • Extra bathrooms
  • Vaulted ceilings 
  • Extra Doors- french or sliding
  • Interior doors style
  • Covered patios
  • Balcony if you have a killer view
  • Extra windows 
  • Trim and molding
  • Extra gas-line for future fireplace indoor and outdoor

New Home Build: Kitchen Upgrades Worth Considering

Our next priority (and 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. Our builder had a great basic package that includes 42in upper cabinets, an under-mount sink, Delta faucets, and more.

But we wanted to make it our own. The options at the design center were endless which I appreciated because I have a very specific taste.

Upgrades worth Getting 
Builder Upgrades worth Getting
Upgrades Worth Getting ( Shaker style cabinets shown in gray) Upstairs Laundry Room Choices
Marble Like Quartz New Carrara Builder Upgrades worth Getting
New Carrara Kitchen Countertops
White Shaker Style cabinets for new home build
Builder Upgrades worth Getting

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 upgrade our already standard granite to a easy to clean marble look quartz called New Carra which is now discontinued. 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 our builder had the choice from 3 kitchen packages, Whirlpool , Kitchenaid 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. 

Jenn Air Pro Range for your New Home
Our stove will be this 36in pro range from Jenn- Air.
New Home Build Fridge Builder Upgrades worth Getting

We included 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! 

All though I do wish we had the option to fill in the space above the cabinet with more cabinets I’m ok with this. In the future I plan to add a window and open shelves to this space!

I love a kitchen window. The original plan for this house had one but for some reason they removed it. But it should be easy to install.

If you do plan on adding things after you close, make sure you take pictures of the walls without drywall so you can take note of any pipes and wires! This has come in so much over the last 5 years.

New Home Build Kitchen Upgrades Builder Upgrades worth Getting

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

  • Upgrade to the best cabinets. If you have the option, bring the cabinets all the up to the ceiling.
  • Add trim and crown moulding for a luxe look.
  • Upgrade your appliance package. If you have the option opt for a hood over the stove instead of a microwave. This gives you a more professional looking kitchen.
  • Add functionality to your cabinets by adding trash bins, knife drawers, a lazy susan, spice pull outs and more.
  • Under-mount sinks are a must. Much easier for clean up.
  • Light up your kitchen with extra recessed lights, under cabinet lighting and 2-3 pendants over the island.

More Kitchen Builder Upgrades Worth Getting

  • 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
  • Quartz or natural stone countertops 
  • Trash pullouts
  • Extra sinks and water sources ( prep sink, pot-filler, etc) 
  • Beverage or Wine fridges or prewires for the future
  • Glass cabinets with finished insides
  • Undermount sink 
  • Corner cabinet lazy susan ( I totally forgot about this! )
  • Pre plumbed for reverse osmosis ( if drinking water is not great) 
  • Crown molding for extra cabinet details 
  • Knife Drawers

New Home Build: Flooring Upgrades

Our home builder 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!) 

For whatever reason the floors were marked up so much that it was easier for us to install them after we closed on the house! Remember this is not a custom home but a new build so everything must be done through the builder. Sometimes they have a great price and sometimes they do not. Make sure you check the price and even negotiate it if you can!

I did love the way they displayed the flooring samples in the design center though. 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! 

Builder Upgrades worth Getting
Design Center options for AV Homes

Flooring Upgrades

  • Upgrade to timeless floor finishes like oak. Use colors that are not too trendy.
  • Have the floor run different ways for a more custom look.
  • Use different flooring for different areas. For example a mud room or laundry room might need something more durable than the pantry.
  • Keep the flooring consistent by staying within a certain style or aesthetic. There should be a trained designer helping you if you get lost.
  • Price out flooring options to make sure your builder is giving you the best price.

Flooring Upgrades to consider:

  • Hardwood or Tile in the main areas
  • Upgrade carpet pads for extra comfort

New Home Build: Lighting Upgrades

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, (our builder gave us an option to add 16 ft 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.

Other lighting builder upgrades worth getting:

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. 

Lighting ideas for your new home Builder Upgrades worth Getting
Us testing out the sconces we added to our home. This would have been a blank wall but I thought sconces would be the perfect add-on.

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! 

Builder Upgrades worth Getting Lighting Ideas

Upgrades to consider:

  • Under cabinet lights with a switch
  • Extra recess in main areas
  • Extra outlets in pantry or move existing outlets to a more 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 pre wired  
  • Outlets in every closet ( It’s crazy how much they come in handy)

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 an 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 track all the way upstairs. Every. Morning. This girl! haha!

UPDATE: We now have the Echo system and it works AMAZING! Each room has one and we can talk to each other just like an intercom system. I highly recommend it.

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! 

UPDATE: We are really impressed with all the RING products!

More home upgrade ideas:

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 may be 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 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 our builder 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! 

Have Fun Building your New Home

At the end of the day have your builder do as MUCH as possible! Get all the builder upgrades that are worth getting BUT also 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 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 questions  you ever wanted to know! This will give you peace of mind! 

I know I’m missing something! What’s one personal builder upgrade you don’t think you could live without? 

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  1. We just built a home last year here in Michigan and 2 things that were a must were a fireplace and a nice sized tub in the master bathroom. Neither one was included in the base price.

    1. Love that Tiffany! I wish we would’ve added a fireplace too!!!! Oh and the tub size. I think we got the biggest we could, but I’m such a bath girl I wouldn’t mind something even bigger!

  2. I built a home a year ago, and I added a door from the laundry room into the master closet. Love it. Also added 42″ kitchen cabinets, crown molding, extra outlets, and wainscoting in hallways…

  3. Such a great detailed post that will be easy to reference later on. Can we please have a moment of silence for the central vacuum…. I am still so sad about it lol. I cannot wait to see you work your magic on this beauty. Love the style of this home, I will def keep them in mine when I build in the future. Thanks Destiny!!!!

    1. Reggie brought up that central vacuum too! Uhhhhhhh! I was like don’t you dare, don’t you dare! haha! Thanks for keeping a bookmark on this post friend!

  4. Love Love Love your detailed post and questions to consider. I hope to build a home in the near future so I am certainly book marking this. And I must have been living under a rock because this is the first time I’ve heard of “central vacuum”. I had to look it up! I am neat freak and constantly cleaning so finding this out now just changed my life lol. Thanks and all the blessings to you and your family 🙂

    1. Hi Anika! Thank you so much for bookmarking it! Central vac! It that not the neatest thing ever? I’m thinking it’s just gonna be a would’ve couldv’e should’ve idea! hahaha! If you ever do get it, I will be happy to come use it! haha!

  5. First off, let me say that I am so glad I e-found you! I’ve been gathering ideas for out new home, and you provide great inspiration.

    We close on our home Friday (woo hoo), so I anticipate this upgrade becoming an “I can’t live without” item. We added a couple USB outlets in the living areas. No more searching for a charging box thingy!

  6. Tell me more about the outside of the house. What color did you choose to paint it? I notice you have one set of shutters what color is that? Your house has a great flow, how many rooms? Great ideas for upgrades. Glad I’m reading about this now so I know what to expect later in purchasing property or building.

  7. Your post was so informative thank you so much! We are hopefully going to be moving in to an AV home soon! Now that your family has lived in the home awhile, do you have any thoughts or advice at the process?

  8. Destiny,
    Thank you for sharing. I’m currently looking at new construction homes in the Phoenix area. It’s overwhelming! Your insight and information has been a blessing
    to me. Thanks for the information on upgrading and budget control.

  9. Thank you so much for this post. I am having a townhouse built in Maryland (right outside Washington DC) and go to the design center tomorrow. Your blog has helped me so much because I had no idea what to expect at all. Now I am super excited. So happy I found your site.

    1. So happy to hear that! It can be so overwhelming so I’m happy that you are getting all the nerves out! I hope it goes great and you find some great options as you are building your dream home!!

  10. I know this post is pretty old, so you may have already solved this, but if you’re still wishing for a home intercom, Amazon Alexa things can function that way and they are not expensive! We have Echos in multiple rooms and use them this way!

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