Now that you know about what all the option families are, we will deep dive into them. Today’s post is on the first part of options you can get for your production build house. Structural options. These include, but are not limited to:
- Kitchen layout upgrades
- Bathroom layout upgrades
- Room extensions
- Extra rooms
- Finished basements
- Elevations (outside look and feel)
This is where you should be spending the majority of your upgrade money.
These are the things that are difficult to do once the house is already built. If there is something on this menu that you absolutely want to have that is not included, bite the bullet and spend the money now. You will not regret it.
As for John and I, the base price of our model was $311,000. We spent approximately $39,000 on options in this phase. Here’s what we got:
- Gourmet kitchen
- Pantry in kitchen
- Owners luxury bath (with jets)
- Wet bar rough-in in the basement
- Extended living room (4 ft)
- Add partial stone to the front
- Walkout in the unfinished basement
You’ll notice that a finished basement wasn’t on our list of upgrades. The builder was offering incentives to finish the basement, or the equivalent in cash. Since we didn’t like the layout they finished the basement with (closing off that back room) we took the cash. We did use part of that cash to put in the wet bar rough in. This brought our options for this phase down to $27K instead of $39K.
(For your education, after the fact: Basement remodels typically cost around $30 – $75 a square foot.)
Use Builder Incentives To Your Advantage!
The finished basement was basically a 1:1 swap with our “add partial stone” which was about 1/3 of our upgrade cost. This is one of those things that half of you are going to roll your eyes at, and half of you are going to appreciate. There is no in-between.
This is the model house with partial stone. Without partial stone, it would be siding. For John and I, this was a must have. I wanted it for curb appeal which is critical to resale of the house. According to recent studies, stone veneer is one of the rare things that can recoup 90% of the cost when you goto resell because curb appeal can add 15% – 20% to the resale value of your home.
For John, who works day in and out with various materials, it was critically important to have the outside of the house that he pulled up to have that beautiful stone front. We were actually prepared to cut out other things in our list of things we wanted to get the stone veneer and in fact, the jets for my tub didn’t make the first cut for that reason.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind
The jets in the tub is a great story, because they weren’t on the original version of the contract for our house. Since we had spent so much on upgrades, and we weren’t sure what the design center was going to cost, we decided that I could forgo the jets and live without them – a soaking tub was enough.
Once we went to the design center and discussed our plan of action there (which you’ll read about in the next post) we re-evaluated the jet situation. Going with the original directive that we should be spending money on things that are hard for us to do after the fact, they were an absolutely must have in our contract. We texted in an amendment, and signed all the new documentation.
After the builder upgrades, our $311,000 house was approximately $338,000 – leaving us $12K for the design center and all of the electrical upgrades. This is about the time we started thinking maybe we needed to readjust the budget – which you’ll read about in the next post.