Consider the cost of upgrades

One of the great things about buying a newly constructed home is the ability to ‘make it your own.’ Sure, the builder has specific floorplans, but most builders are flexible when it comes to making changes to the interior of a home.

Changes can involve everything from moving walls and opening up spaces to adding storage, upgrading appliances, finishes, heating systems, adding smart-home features, finishing a basement and in some cases, adding an in-law or rental suite.

If we all had really deep pockets, choosing our upgrades to customize our ideal dream home would be a breeze. But most people have budgets to follow, although that doesn’t mean upgrades are off the agenda.

Greg Graham is the COO of Cardel Group of Companies and president of Cardel Homes. He says a few factors are critical when considering upgrades. First and foremost, buyers should pay special attention to what it will cost to have any upgrades installed during a new-home construction.

“Under mortgage qualification rules, buyers should find out if they have sufficient room within the approved financing to add upgrades,” advises Graham. “You don’t want to be disqualified under pre-approvals or alternatively, have to reach into your pocket to add more equity, unless of course you have planned for it.”

The key, he says, is to focus on the things that are really important to you, determine what needs to be done now or later, and constantly reassess your budget.

“Structural upgrades (if they are offered by the builder) should always be considered first,” says Graham. “For example, if you desire a kitchen nook extension or prefer developed basement stairs, these types of upgrades can’t be added later or are very expensive to add later. Consider all exterior structural items, too, such as adding windows or extending a garage, as critical in deciding on final selections and associated costs.”

Interior design selections can always be added at the time of purchase, if it is within your budget, to customize your home to your personal taste and lifestyle. Other elements, like paint, flooring and faucets can also be added afterward, and are less taxing on the bank account.

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