Setting and maintaining realistic expectations when building a new home is one of the most important aspects when establishing a new relationship between the buyer and builder.
Many, if not all, new home buying transactions start at the door of a builder’s model home. The model home is an opportunity for the builder to put their best foot forward and demonstrate their brand, quality of construction, standard features included in that home as well as upgrades and options that complete the package. Many times, buyers purchase in a community because they were attracted to that Model home and many times will request, “I want my home to be just like the Model.” They fall in love with the newest cabinets, flooring, lighting enhancements and décor that showcase the hottest trends in home building. That initial tour and understanding what will and won’t be included as a standard feature is the first critical step in establishing proper expectations of what their new home will look like and cost when completed.
Standard vs. Model Home Demonstration
Every builder’s purchase contract should include a list of what the builder will include as “standard” in the buyer’s new home. These standard features are carefully considered to take in to account the style of the homes offered in the community along with an established starting “base price” that supports the overall price range structure of the home plans that are offered.
One of the best things that a potential buyer can do is request a standard feature versus model home demonstration with the onsite builder’s sales representative. This meeting is crucial, as the salesperson will point out what is standard and what is an upgrade as you walk room by room until the tour is completed. You can ask questions about upgraded features and their approximate costs as a gauge to measure your budget as you determine what features you will already have included and what options you will pay extra to include in your contract.
Keep in mind that a model home may have window treatments, specialty paint finishes, finished bonus and lower level spaces, enhanced landscaping and outdoor living areas, artwork and furniture that give them special “move in perfect” look. Understanding that these things will come over time in your newly built home and that it will take shape as you invest and complete your personal touches after moving in.
Understanding Your Price
Most importantly is understanding the price that you had determined on the purchase contract and staying aligned with the budget and allowances that were established in writing and staying within those amounts while making selection and upgrade choices in the early stages of the build. Many buyers can get caught up in seeing the latest decorating, appliance or specialty item and not realizing the cost that it will add or how much they may go over budget by choosing to add it to their new home.
The same demo that was helpful in the model home demonstration can be requested in the initial selection meeting. Buyers should ask to see the standard goods that are “included” in their purchase agreement and then explore the cost of an upgrade that may fit their style or budget. Keep in mind that there are unlimited choices when it comes to choosing goods and finishes for your new home and the associated prices for those upgrades can go from a few dollars to the sky’s the limit. Many times when a homebuyer builds their first new home, they get caught up in eye catching enhancements that they see in a magazine or on the internet and not realize just how expensive and uncommon that item may be in a newly built home.
Document Your Upgrades
Lastly, a good rule of thumb would be to document all of the upgrades and options that go beyond what was included in the “standard” feature portion of your purchase agreement in writing on a change order and pay for those extras at the time of selecting them. This conveys a clear communication of what is standard and what is an upgrade and also allows the buyer to monitor their spending allowance throughout the build and stay on track with their established budget so that there are no hidden surprises as they approach completion and closing. Many builders now build an allowance amount into the contract that the buyer and sales representative determine will cover their desired upgrades that they expressed interest in at the initial sales demonstration. Again, this helps control over spending and keeps the build on track and budget.
Understanding and maintaining proper expectations from the start is the first step to a stress-free and enjoyable new home building experience and many years of happiness in your new home. At Petros Homes, we can help you build the home you’ve always wanted. Contact us today to get started!