Builder Upgrades You Should Do

Builder Upgrades you should doSo you signed off on your new home purchase contract….now what? This is a stressful time for many home buyers, the models are so lavishly upgraded most of us can’t and don’t want to afford the cost involved in making a home beautiful and practical for our families.

When you purchase your new home with The Tim and Kym Team we offer a consultation session to plan your upgrade dollars wisely. Here we list a few of our tips and tricks.

For the average community and builder in the Phoenix area you should expect to add about 15-25% to the base price of the home to get most of the items on your list. This means budgeting carefully as the cost of upgrades adds up quickly.

Builder Upgrades You Should Do

1)KITCHEN…..the heart of the home and in most new modern floorplans it is a big part of the square footage.

Focus on cabinets. Most builders offer a yucky base cabinet, but for a relatively small increase you can get some nicer options that offer staggered set, or 42 in uppers, and a nice crown molding.  People with the mindset of  I can upgrade cabinets later, they cost will be prohibitive. It’s much better to get the nicer cabinets now, and perhaps add the granite counters later at a far more reasonable cost to add.

Upgrade your appliances. Again, taking the base model appliances thinking you will upgrade later, will be more than double what it costs for a mid range upgrade initially with most builders. Plus you will be much happier with your life if you enjoy the quality of your appliances.

After these two options, the rest can be done at a later date. Take builder grade lights, faucets, drawer knobs and pulls, then do these projects yourself over time.

2)STRUCTURAL…. Many of these options must be chosen at contract, but if you have time to think about how you want to use the home and see how the offered structural upgrades will impact your use. You can’t go wrong with a garage extension. This becomes a big deal killer in the resale market for buyers with a big truck or SUV that can’t park in the garage. Most builders offer a two and four foot extension, at a min. a 2 foot makes the garage usable.

Have an option to make a den a bedroom and a powder room a full bath? The costs to do this are very little in comparison to trying to convert later down the road, and the more bedrooms and baths can appeal to a bigger group of buyers.

If a patio cover is not included, this is a must upgrade. If the area is small and an extension is offered it could be a wise investment, everyone in Az wants liveable backyard entertaining space.

Want to save some money?? Forgo the cool new pocket doors that open up the entire back of your home. Yes they look amazing, but let’s get real people….how many of us are going to leave those doors open for bugs and critters to enter our home??

3) ELECTICAL…..this is something that most buyers spend very little time over and a regret in retrospect. Look at the electrical plan for each room and consider what you will be doing in it. For an example, our personal residence was a resale and the original owner did not add any electrical outlets in the laundry room outside of the washer/dryer outlets. Yet we have an expansive laundry room and could use at least one electric outlet. These things at build are a mere $150-250 per outlet, add one after for considerably more! Don’t forget a floor outlet in your greatroom either!

4) FLOORING….last but certainly not least, I have seen many folks decide to do flooring on their own after the fact. There is a common misconception that you can get a credit for the floor and have the builder not install it, but they have to turn over a move in ready home, so rather than take their base flooring and have to rip out and start over at the sake of ruining the baseboards, choose to upgrade flooring. There are so many choices and options, you will be amazed at how some of the level 2 floors look and save your self the headache and hassle before you move in.


Remember, always use a Realtor to provide guidance and support throughout the new home process. Builders love us as it makes their job so much easier and the clients are happier along the way.  Get your New Home Community List from The Tim and Kym Team today!


  1. Tim and Kym literally saved me from canceling a new build contract and forfeiting my earnest money. The model home I wanted to duplicate was perfect, except the upgrades were staggeringly priced. The practical advice they gave was spot on. I scrimped in some areas and went for it in others. I am very happy with my purchase and little by little upgrading some of the builder base items with unique choices I wouldn’t have had with the builder anyway. You need these two representing you in your new home purchase!

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