As you read in the last post in the series, by the time John and I got to the electrical options, we had already blown our budget. It was unfortunate, and we had to decide if we were going to go over budget or we were going to pull back some of the upgraded carpet.
Luckily, our budget was really conservative to begin with, so we decided to just a lot ourselves a little more money for the electrical options, because the truth is:
Spending money here will save you money in the long term and make your quality of life better.
Electrical and cabling options cover the following things:
- Additional electrical outlets
- Ceiling fan prewire
- Internet cables
- Speakers in the wall
- Home security systems
- Under-mount lighting
- Additional switches
- Recessed / overhead lighting
The average cost to install an electrical outlet once your house is built and finished is around $200. If you have to do a ceiling fan installation that cost can go up to even higher, around the $500 range. This is the one area where you are actually saving money by having the builders put it in for you, because it’s much easier to do before the house is built and they charge significantly less because of it!
What Should You Spend Your Money On?
Extra outlets, extra outlets, extra outlets! By today’s standards most builders should have one outlet for each 12 feet of wall and at least one outlet on each wall. Spend some time asking the builder where the outlets are and planning out your outlets carefully. Places to look include:
- Garage outlets
- Outside outlets for decorations
- Foyers outlets for vacuums if you have carpet
- Extra outlets in heavily used rooms
- Additional outlets in kitchens and bathrooms
John and I were very lucky and the design and layout of the house already had outlets in wonderful places. The only one we had to add was in the garage.
Ceiling fan prewires are another big one to spend your money on. John and I ended up pre-wiring 6 rooms for ceiling fans because we are big fans of fans.
Lastly, cable drops are incredibly important too. Think about where you want be able to put wireless routers, or where you want to be able to put a TV. Having a cable drop in those rooms is much easier to do now than to pay the cable company at a later date!
What You Shouldn’t Spend Money On
When working with the electrical and wiring of your house, think about the speed of technology today. Any kind of technology you have them build into your house you will definitely have to replace in the years to come. Not to mention, you can probably find something similar and cheaper on Amazon.
That home intrusion system they want to sell you on? Get LifeShield. Those speakers they want to sell you on? Just get some awesome bluetooth ones and mount them with sticky tape.
Ehhhhhh, Maybe… It Depends…
The one thing that you will want to go for and may be able to save on if you’re close to budget is the wall mounting package for your TV. Yes. It’s easy to have them do it, but you can buy this kit at Home Depot for $40 and it only takes about 30 minutes of your time. The big caveat to this is if you want to mount above a fireplace – then definitely have them do it.
The other thing you may want to spend money on, or maybe not (we did) was recessed or pendent lighting and under cabinet lighting. You can be smart about this though, for instance for our under cabinet lighting we actually only got one light – on purpose – because all we wanted was the hook up in the wall to control the lighting. We plan on replacing it immediately with Hue light strips.
All and all, John and I spent an additional $2000 on our lighting and cable options and ended up with the following items:
- 6 ceiling fans
- additional outlet in the garage
- two pendant lights over the kitchen
- 1 under cabinet light in the kitchen
- 6 cable hook ups
- fancy electrical box in the basement for us to manage everything
Doing a budget check, our $350,000 budget ended up being over budget by $2000 – at $352,000.