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Inclusions and upgrades

January 12, 2020

Standard inclusions

A new home comes complete with a range of standard features and finishes that are included in the basic price of the home. These inclusions vary from one builder to another, and from one home design to another. Uniformly, though, the quality of today’s building products is excellent, offering home buyers great value for the money, quality and efficiency.

For a number of standard items, home buyers are offered choices that won’t affect the purchase price, such as the style of kitchen cabinets and the colour and design of floor coverings.

Upgrades and options

Most builders also offer a full range of upgrades – products of a higher quality such as carpet, kitchen benchtops, tiles, tapware or face-brick. Upgrades will add to the price of the house, but typically the builder will credit you with the cost of the item you are replacing, so the extra expense is limited to the difference between the items.

Finally, many builders will also encourage you to consider other features and finishing touches, large and small, that can add value, enjoyment and convenience to your home, from outdoor living rooms to built-in wine racks. These options are considered extras, and the cost will be added to the price of the home.

Making the right choices

So how do you choose the features and finishes that are right for your home, budget and lifestyle?

  • Begin by finding out exactly what standard features are included in the basic price of the home, and how many standard choices the builder offers. Similarly, find out about upgrades and extras: what is available and at what additional cost?
  • Few people can afford it all, so choosing upgrades and extras is usually a matter of trade-offs. Items that involve construction, such as larger windows and doors, are the least expensive and disruptive to do when the house is first being built. On the other hand, standard carpeting can easily be replaced in the future.
  • Large building companies may have a separate design centre with product samples and trained specialists to assist you. Smaller companies may dedicate part of their sales office or display home to product selections.
  • Some builders have set up working relationships with manufacturers and suppliers (e.g. flooring, lighting, cabinets). Appointments can be made for you to visit the showrooms of these businesses and work directly with their representatives to make your product selections.
  • Consider your family’s needs and match your selections with your lifestyle. For instance, white kitchen cupboards may not be ideal in a house full of children, while lever door handles are great for anyone. Also, are your choices compatible with your furniture. For example, does the colour of the hardwood flooring work with your dining room set?
  • You might have to live with your choices for a long time, so plan for long-term appeal. Designers suggest that you keep the ‘big ticket items’ neutral, and add colour through items you can change easily later without significant expense.
  • Ask about the builder’s most popular features; it can be helpful to find out what other home buyers have selected. And take your time. You are going to live with your choices for a long time, so you want to do it right.
  • Make sure that every product you choose is backed by a reputable manufacturer with a solid warranty and after-sales service. Many builders work closely with leading national manufacturers of brand name products in order to provide their clients with the quality and service they can depend on. 

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