If you have ever purchased a new home from a builder, you have gone through the option period of selecting your upgrades with a “design consultant”. The first thing you need to understand is that this individual’s job is to sell you on certain features/upgrades. They are not there to help your return on investment in the short term or long run. They are there for a reason, employed by the builder to help the builder’s bottom line.
As a buyer, be realistic in your purchase. This is the single best piece of advice for any new home buyer. A few examples: (For ease of discussion purposes – The example only considers entry level tract homes)
- Granite slab kitchen counters are not needed in a brand new $120,000 home in Queen Creek, Arizona. You will rarely if ever return dollar for dollar on this investment at this price point.
- Lot upgrades – All lots are not equal in value. However, lot premiums in the starter home price points rarely yield large returns for buyers. Watch our for large corner lot upgrades.
- Flooring – Tile over Vinyl is a matter of preference and I can understand the desire to upgrade to tile, regardless of the property. However, watch out for ultra carpet/pad upgrades on entry level properties.
Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage by not opting for certain necessities. For example, while every room may not need a ceiling fan, phone jack, etc.. pre-wiring the rooms for this is not a bad idea. Panel doors throughout the home can be beneficial, including a slightly upgraded front door. Simply use common sense and think things through before taking advice from the “design consultant”. Remember, there are certain things you can do yourself through local contractors for cheaper than the builder will offer. (auto garage opener installation and blinds, to name a few)