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Upgrading to a New Home on a Budget

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When you’re building a new home, adding upgrades to your home can be exciting and practical. Not only do they make your home look and feel nicer, but they can also increase the resale value. The only issue is the upgrades don’t come for free.

At Active Homes, we know trying to fit everything into your budget can be a struggle, so we’ve created a list of tips to help you keep costs under control without feeling like you’re settling.

Getting Pre-Approved For A Mortgage

Budgeting before you get pre-approved for a mortgage doesn’t make much sense. You won’t know how much money you have to spend on the house and upgrades. The amount of your down payment will also be up in the air. Once you speak to a lender and get a pre-approval done, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you can afford.

The upgrades you want in your home could come out of that mortgage. Some people choose to pay for the upgrades separately. However, if you don’t know what kind of mortgage you’re approved for, you might struggle to nail down exactly what’s affordable for you.

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Determine Your Needs And Wants

Just like choosing a floor plan for your home, you have to decide which upgrades are a priority for you. For example, if you have allergies to dust, you might decide that wood flooring is best.

However, things like marble countertops and tile flooring in the kitchen may not be something you need. Sure, they would be nice to have, but could you make do with the standard materials in the home?

When you’re looking at your budget for upgrades, you’ll want to make sure your money is getting spent on your priorities first. Then you can allot the remainder of your funds to whatever other upgrades you want the most.

Increasing Your Down Payment

The simplest way to reduce your monthly costs is to increase your down payment. Depending on the cost of the home and your interest rate, increasing your down payment amount by just $10,000 can result in monthly payments that are approximately $100 less.

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Choose A Smaller Home If You Want Big Upgrades

By getting pre-approved for a loan, you get an idea of the house you can afford to purchase in your budget. But what if you want a bunch of upgrades and can’t afford to put down an extra down payment?

One option is to choose a smaller home. Remember, the bank has already said it can lend you X amount, so if you choose a house that only costs that amount, you will have additional funds to spend on upgrades. Of course, you need to decide if purchasing a smaller home will work for you.

Choose The Right Upgrades

The type of upgrades you choose to get will also affect your budget and the overall value of your home. Certain upgrades will increase your resale value, like in-floor heating. Then there are some that may not work out for you.

For example, marble countertops look impressive, especially in the beginning. However, marble is not a hard stone. It's porous and soft and will easily stain or start chipping if not properly maintained.

Standard Kitchen Upgrade Image

Stick With Standard Options

If it’s not in your budget to get the upgrades, you can stick with the standard options offered by the builder. Just remember that other builders will offer different basic packages.

Some might start with carpeting, while others will begin with laminate floors. By shopping around for different builders, you might find that you can get many of the items you were hoping for.

In many cases, the standard options in a home are things that can be changed in the future if you still want them. For example, carpets can be removed and replaced, and light fixtures can be upgraded with little effort.

Get A Full Quote

To help you understand complete details for the costs of your home, ask your builder for a full quote. A full quote should consist of a detailed outline of the costs for every stage of the build.

Do not mistake an estimate for a quote. Estimates are rough guesses about the costs. For example, the standard home package might be about $400,000. They are basing this estimate on projects they have already completed and the prices of materials at that time. With a quote, they will look at current pricing and go over the details of what will all be involved.

Generally, if you have a full quote, you have a good idea of what your actual price will be. Sometimes the quotes will change if you request upgrades, but if there are no upgrades, there won’t be much fluctuation.

Look For Deals

While you’re shopping around for builders, you can also ask them where they source their upgrade materials from. It might be possible for you to request them to use hardwood that you’ve found on sale rather than having them source it themselves.

You can also check if the builders are offering any deals with the upgrades. By researching what the different builders are offering, you can save yourself a lot of money.

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