As we are starting to see builders go back to allowing buyers to pick a lot and build a home from scratch, I thought we should revisit this post describing the process of selecting finishes at the design center. When you buy a new home, there’s a lot of decisions to be made. While you negotiate structural changes in your contract, the finish out decisions will all take place at a Design Center appointment once the contract has been signed. This appointment is often a source of anxiety for buyers, but with just a few easy prep tips, you’ll find it can actually be a fun way to start forming a bond with your new home. Read below for What to Expect at the Design Center.
Prepare to Upgrade
With every house, there are a selection of standard selections that won’t cost additional and then there will be several levels of upgrades. The model homes are often highly upgraded, so if you want your home to look like the model, be prepared to pay extra. We recommend our clients set aside about 10% of their budget to spend at the Design Center. Prices aren’t available before the appointment, so they’ll often price 2-3 options for you during your first appointment. This way you can evaluate your total budget and not just on a per item basis.
Don’t Assume They Have The Best Price
We can’t stress enough to price out everything. Window coverings, appliances that are available, gutters – everything they’ll give you. Often times these items are way more expensive than what you can find after closing, BUT sometimes they are less. Builders have odd pricing when it comes to certain things, so get all of your options and then make a decision. You might just get to finance window coverings or a refrigerator and spend less than you would after closing.
Production Builders Are “Semi-Customizable”
While you are building a home, it is not a complete custom build. Many production builders limit their options and require choices be made in packages. For example, there might be four faucet choices with an additional four choices for faucet colors. When you select the “package” (combination of style and color), you might be locked into that choice for the entire home.
There Could Be Multiple Appointments
In the past, the Design Center was one appointment. Often times, buyers left with lots of questions still unanswered and lists of follow ups. Now, the appointment is typically split into two appointments. The first appointment is to pick out everything that you can select on the home. The second appointment is where you will make final selections.
If you really want to take your Design Center experience to the next level, these next 3 tips will make you a true pro.
Pro Tip: Pre-Shop the Design Center
Sometimes they’ll let you visit the design center before your first appointment. You won’t get assigned a consultant, but you’ll be able to look at counters, tile, faucets, flooring and get some ideas. Ask if the Design Center has hours when you can visit and check out your options before your first appointment. This will help take some of the mystery out of the available options.
Pro Tip: Make A Mood Board
Bring a style board with photos of the type of designs that appeal to you. (Pinterest is a great tool for this.) It’s far easier to try and match to a photo of a complete look vs. studying small samples and hoping they come together. Also, use the design consultants. They are there to offer opinions and assist.
Pro Tip: Take Photos of Your Selections
Take photos of options you select. With 50+ decisions to make, and especially if you price out a few options, you’ll often forget what things look like. What tile did you pick for your master bath? What cabinets did you select? Taking photos and notes will help you remember and allow you to do other shopping (like furniture) before you move-in.
Looking for New Construction in Austin?
Our team of Austin neighborhood specialists can help. With some info about what type of neighborhood you envision yourself in, we can send you a list of neighborhoods that are the best fit. Simply send us an email at info@11OaksRealty.com, call us at (512) 827-8323 or fill out our Austin Neighborhood Finder to get started.
Buying a Home in Austin?
Check out our Austin Home Buyers section to learn more about our Austin Home Buyer Representation Program. We know Austin well and specialize in representing buyers. With a combined 60+ years of experience in residential real estate, there is virtually nothing we haven’t seen. When you’re ready to speak to an Austin Realtor, call us at (512) 827-8323, email us at info@11OaksRealty.com or fill out our Buyer Survey.