Our final stop on our selections tour was in the exteriors section. We’d already decided on an elevation, so all we needed to do was choose the colors.
The standard color pallet was large, and we easily found what we wanted. Want to take a guess? It’s gray!
The stone near the foundation is also mostly grey tones. All of the trim will be white, along with the board and batten shutters. There will also be an additional gable above the garage.
We went with the standard front door (I have hopes of painting it myself after move-in) and garage door. We did add a “bump” to the garage for extra storage, as well as a garage door opener with an exterior keypad.
An additional egress window was added, in addition to the three daylight windows, so we can eventually put an extra bedroom down there when we finish the basement. Plumbing will also be roughed in for that purpose, and we upgraded the electrical grid so the home can handle the extra power when the time comes.
Other utility upgrades included: gas lines for the range and dryer, water line for the refrigerator, TV wall prep in the living room, a larger water heater, and a humidifier (required for the wood floors). The back of the house is also prepped for a deck, work which we’ll hire out to be done once we move in.
After lunch we returned to the showroom to hear the grand total and to make any changes if needed. All in all, we had seven pages of upgrades and went about $4,000 over our budget. We looked through the list, but there was nothing worth changing that would make much of an impact, so we decided that, since we would be getting a house with absolutely everything we wanted, we were ultimately ok with the slightly higher price tag (the difference in a mortgage payment would also have only been about $30 a month).
I was a little disappointed in the budget overage — not because I didn’t want to spend the money, but because I had spent so much time on my options spreadsheet, I really hoped I was going to be right on point, especially with all of the things that ended up coming in under budget. There was no one thing that really threw the budget off – as we were well aware before selections, those little upgrades have a way of adding up, but will ultimately save us the time and frustration of trying to do them ourselves after we move in.
Was this experience everything I thought it would be? Mostly. I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a fun process, but seeing our home coming together piece by piece was very rewarding.
Our selections consultant was amazing. She was so incredibly patient with us when a decision was taking longer than normal. She gave her opinion when we asked, but mostly let us run with our own ideas. She offered suggestions to help us stay within our budget while knowing, based on our “important” list, where we wanted to splurge.
Troy was also amazing through this process. For the most part he let me make the stylistic decisions, chiming in when I was on the fence. We’d discussed, at length, most of the important elements prior to our appointment, but if there were several options that I liked he would help to narrow them down until we had our final choice. I mostly referred to him when it came to the exterior, the utilities, and the fixtures – as I said, he was very particular about the powder room, but also chose the kitchen faucet and sink.
Some more tips for anyone about to embark on the selections process:
Determine an overall look for each room beforehand. We both spent quite a bit of time looking at Houzz and Pinterest to determine color schemes for each room. This saved us a lot of time during selections, and probably a lot of arguments since we were both on the same page prior to the appointment.
Do your research. Considering things like if we wanted a gas versus an electric dryer prior to our visit was important since we were going to be making and finalizing our selections on the same day – we didn’t have time to go home and consider the options. So we did this type of research prior to our appointment and had an immediate answer when the question was asked. Don’t forget to keep everything organized.
Plan for the future. Even though we wanted to stay within a budget, it was important to consider what upgrades would be cheaper to do during the building process instead of down the road. For example, we didn’t have to add the egress window, the bigger electrical grid, or the basement plumbing, but knowing we will want to eventually finish the basement made those items necessities.
Don’t plan to do all the upgrades yourself. Unless you are a skilled plumber/electrician/painter/whatever, don’t try to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to DIY upgrades. Yes, we could have planned to upgrade the faucets ourselves, but would the time and stress to DIY be worth it? Ultimately, spending the small amount to have the builder take care of these things was more valuable for us, so our house is that much closer to perfect when we move in.
Agree on an “important” list. I tell anyone who is recently engaged to sit down with their significant other and each write down the three most important elements of their upcoming wedding (food, music, photography, etc) – the same can be said about designing your own home. Once the important list is made, you can more easily determine where it’s ok to splurge. Which brings me to my final tip…
Budget, budget, budget! Spend as much time as possible with your pricing booklet (it might also give you ideas of upgrades you hadn’t even thought about) and create a list of all of the upgrades you want to make, including corresponding prices. Bring this sheet with you to give you an idea if you are frequently going over budget or if you are staying on the right track.