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Builder upgrades are expensive, so save now and splurge later.


Published: 05/10/2012

by Mark Noonan

 It amazes me just how fast our communities are expanding and how many new homes seem to appear on a daily basis.

Without question, new home construction is enjoying a boom like we have never seen before. And each one of these homes looks beautiful and complete, ready to live in and enjoy without a further care in the world. But are they really fulfilling their new families’ desires to the fullest?

Last month, we spent a few days visiting model homes and talking to eager sales associates. While so many builders offer great designs, flowing layouts, dedicated family space, entertaining ambiance, fabulous facades and appealing architecture, their hands are truly tied when it comes to providing any decent upgrades in the kitchens or bathrooms.

When you enquire about the cost to upgrade the featured cabinetry, alter the tile selections, modify the faucet finishes or add a whirlpool option to your sexy soaker, you need to have your banker handy with a second mortgage, or at least a resuscitator.

Quite frankly, the cost of these upgrades is ridiculous and you immediately wonder if the builder is trying to rip you off or take advantage. But they aren’t. They’re simply set up to build houses in a production fashion and any alteration to the plan causes them so much time and trouble that they have to charge accordingly. Even then, the upgrades they are capable of offering are moderate at best when compared to what is available in the market today.

So what does this mean to the new homebuyer? Save your money, keep your mortgage low and take your new house 'as is'. Wait a few years and stow the savings on your monthly payment in a renovation account. You’ll be surprised how quickly it will add up.

Then go out and pick the best renovator you can find and have it fixed up it the way you want, with all the bells and whistles that only a specialist can offer.

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