Thursday, March 14, 2013

The difference is in the options

Whats the difference between your house and the same one down the street?
The answer is ...... OPTIONS.

Options are what distinguish the same model from another.  Building a new house is all about the OPTIONS you picked to make it your own. The trouble is options are not cheap!!!

If you see an advertisement "blah blah blah starting low 300s" but after adding a few options, you're going to be in the high 300s or low 400s.  We ended up adding close to 100k more (even after discounts and promotions) to even get close to what we want in our new house.  $$$ will add up quickly.

Most options are very simple and easy to do but it's hard to do once the dry-walls are up so you ended up paying the premium to avoid destroying the walls later.

Here what we have experienced so far.........

- Elevation is consider an OPTION!!!! Yes and  you'll have to pay for it and it's not cheap. It's like buying a car without doors, a hotdog without the buns, ... well you get the idea.  It's tricky because without an elevation, your house is not a house.  It's probably the most expensive option that's REQUIRED.  Vinyl siding elevations are cheaper,  ours were over $12000 for veneer (hollow inside) brick front.  If you see new homes advertisement starting in the low $350ks but it does not include an elevation.  yes it's misleading IMHO. 

- Options will add up quickly and you'll wonder where all your money have disappeared to because you still have so much more you want to add.
tip!  best to do structural upgrades (extensions, rough-ins, wiring, et...) first before material upgrades (carpets, door knobs, facets, crown molding etc...).
On tight budget?  If it's inside the walls,  try to do it now.  If it's outside of the walls, you can do it later.

- You WILL have 5 or more CHANGE-ORDERs to your selection.  We had 9 but not really our fault.  Most of the appointments were cut short  because our SR was too busy with new potential buyers.  Once you signed the purchase agreement, you are no longer the priority because you are locked in or lose your deposit money.

- Before you sign anything, make sure whatever the SR tells you is in writing.  The SR is there to sell, sell, sell, that's their goal.  Sometimes they will tell you what you want to hear and they WILL make mistakes (like ours did).  Verify everything before signing,  e.g.We were told we have a wall-up basement (I wanted) and a month after we signed the contract, our SR told us we do not.  Verify everything on the blueprint.

- Don't expect your house will look like the model home.  Model homes have every OPTIONS/UPGRADE built-in and plus other things they don't even offer to make the house look like a celebrity home.   They are professionally decorated, painted, expensive furniture, and all kinds of other techniques used.

- Overall I think our SR was nice and friendly but she still is just a sales person who is looking after the interests of her employer.  Mistakes were made but everything turned out just OK.  She wasn't pushy to up-sell anything but wished we were told about all the options available.  It would've cut down the number of order changes.  Many of the upgrades I found out by reading blogs here and that is why I'm writing this blog to share our experience.

If you are unsure of something, you need to ask.  Ask even the smallest of details.
If you don't know if something is included, ASK and ASK again and again. 


  1. "- You will have 5 or more CHANGE ORDERs to your selection. We had 9 but not really our fault. Most of the appointments were cut short because the SR was too busy trying to get other buyers to sign "purchase contracts". Once you signed, you are no longer the priority because you are locked in or lose your deposit money."

    UGH I know this one too well.

  2. Yes, everything you said is so, so true. While I'm beyond excited about my new house, the experience so far has not been all I thought it would be, in part due to some of the reasons you pointed out. In the end though, I'm sure it will turn out great...

  3. Everything you said is SO SO true ! I couldn't believe it when they said our elevation AND brick is an option too ! We have already gone through 6 change orders. And each time we made a change with the SR we had to wait 2 hours for him because, like you said, he was busy getting other buyers !

  4. Hey Cloud!!

    Just found you blog. Congrats for your new home. It's gonna be great!!!
    We are building with RH TN. The plan we chose is Lincolnshire. I know...u never heard of it... right? Check it out:

    Looks like your schedules are going to be pretty close!!! :-)