Buying a New Home? Save the Less “Invasive” Upgrades for Later

Date: September 16, 2019

Buying a New Home? Save the Less “Invasive” Upgrades for Later


So you’re purchasing a new home and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the long list of possible upgrades the builder offers. You know that you don’t have to make every conceivable upgrade on day 1. In fact, you like the idea of having some projects to look forward to in the next few months and years. And as we said in our last post on SMART Upgrades to Your New Construction or Spec Home, the cost of upgrading doesn’t always subtract much of the value of the builder’s standard option. Sometimes you get a better deal by upgrading down the road.


In general, the upgrade items to invest in immediately are those that would require gutting parts of the home, including floors and walls, to get at plumbing and wiring. These are “invasive” compared to some of the recommendations we made in the previous posts, including upgraded kitchen cabinetry, bathroom vanities, and luxury lighting. Here are a few more upgrades with great ease of replacement. We recommend getting these done on your own, rather than through your builder.


Countertops: Builders make big profits on countertop upgrades because everyone tends to splurge here. However, many builders offer fashionable countertops in desirable materials (like granite or silestone) as standard features, and charge steep upgrade fees for marble. Opt for the standard material, enjoy it for a few years, and when you come to fully envision what you want your kitchen finish-out to look like, complete with luxury lighting, you’ll know exactly what materials, colors, and styles you want in your countertops. You will also have countless choices (and some fun) exploring them, whereas you are extremely limited with most builders.


Appliances: Nothing is simpler to replace than appliances, so buying these through the builder is akin to finding the most expensive appliance store with the poorest selection. Some home buyers mistakenly opt for upgraded appliances because they believe there is better warranty coverage through the builder, but this isn’t the case. Your warranty coverage is through the manufacturer. If you can live with the standard appliances for a few years, opt for those. The difference between those and the upgrades is almost as much as the full value of the upgrades in most cases. Or take the standard appliances and sell them.


Plumbing Fixtures: Other than wall-mounted plumbing fixtures, upgrading kitchen and bathroom faucets and shower heads is a breeze. You can do it yourself or have us do it for you very inexpensively – and enjoy the process of choosing from a huge selection, with many brands and styles to choose from – and with our expertise to guide you.


Having many options in plumbing fixtures, appliances, countertops, luxury lighting, cabinetry, and bathroom vanities is what enables you to finish out a home in a way that truly distinguishes your personal style from your neighbors’. Exercise a little patience and enjoy the process of making your home a more unique reflection of your tastes over time.

We had a wonderful experience with Emily from Modern Kitchen and Baths and the contractors she set up to renovate our kitchen! We had a short amount of time to complete the project, and not only did Emily say it could be completed by the time we needed, but the whole team delivered on that promise. We love our new kitchen and are so thankful for the expertise that Modern Kitchen and Baths provided for us. I would definitely recommend them for anyone needing a kitchen renovation. Thank you!

Sara Schweain

From my kitchen to my master bath being completely redone, I am more than happy with the products,design & completed projects.

Bernie Williams