Okay so the truth is I wouldn’t build another tract home (or cookie cutter home) again. That’s just me being real about the whole deal. Very little about the process was enjoyable and the stress didn’t end once our house was done. But I also understand that sometimes this is your only or your best option. That’s the boat we were in when we built our house. I could go on and on about our situation, but it’s not important and I can ramble with the best of them so let’s just skip over that and move on to what you came here for.
Disclaimer: This is all based on the experience we had with our builder. Upgrades, options, and standard inclusions vary depending on builder and I can only speak of our experience and hope it helps.
What I would do
Add can lights wherever possible. We did can lights in our bedroom because I didn’t want a light kit on the fan and we added them in our living room for the same reason. It just cleaned everything up and I’d defintley do it again.
Upgrade to taller doors. I never thought of this, but the model home had it done and it’s amazing how taller doors throughout your home can make it feel bigger and just overall give it a more open and grand appearance and for not a lot more money.
Add electrical outlets outside. We added one at the front corner of our house for Christmas lights and blow ups. Thank goodness for that plug. We also added one to the porch ceiling and it’s perfect for our string lights.
Add a gas stub out to your back porch (if you have gas in your home). Nobody wants to change out propane tanks for the grill. Now we don’t have to. We also added an electrical outlet and water to the back porch because we’re building an outdoor kitchen. Paying the builder to put in an outdoor kitchen was hefty so we decided we’d just have them add these things and then we’d do it ourselves.
Add the third car garage and extend the length. Okay so this may not be as big of a deal for everyone as it was for us, but we don’t regret it and our garage is the envy of our neighbors. The garages in these track homes are so short and we’re the only one who can actually get a mid size SUV in their garage. We also added the third car garage so my handy husband could have a dedicated workshop area.
Pay extra for white ceilings. Or better yet, just paint the whole house white. The builder paint is so terrible and we ended up repainting the entire thing anyway and I was glad the ceilings were already white. We actually argued about this one so don’t tell Tyler I actually agree with him now.
Get another Blanco sink. Y’all I love these things. It’s a granite composite sink that is not only beautiful, but also so easy to clean and maintain.
Upgrade the baseboards and cabinets. We didn’t do this and I wish we would have. We were pinching pennies and to go with what was included and I really wish we had shaker cabinets and the big squared off baseboard.
Upgrade shower and bath fixtures. I mean the ones that aren’t going to be easy to switch out yourself. We would literally have to bust out walls to change some things out and I regret not getting what I wanted from the builder.
Add irrigation. Our builder charged extra to put it in the back, but it was something we wanted and the upgrade amount seemed totally worth it.
What I Wouldn’t Do
Upgrade light fixtures. This is something else they builder tried to charge us a small forture for and what they had to offer wasn’t even in style (hadn’t been for years) and the quality wasn’t great. Let them put the basic light fixtures in and then come in and change them out afterwards.
Upgrade areas that can be carpeted. There are two reasons for this. One is that they charge you too much for just okay material. You can get something nicer for way cheaper from a reputable flooring company than you’ll get it from the builder. Carpet is easy to rip up. The other reason is the sub contractors the builder hires are not great. If they mess something up (and they will) it’s not an easy fix. If it’s an area that has to be tiled, go ahead and have the builder do the tile and get one you actually want.
I hope this helped in some way or at least got you thinking about what makes sense for your family in your new home build. Really decide what’s important and what you don’t want to have to deal with later. Ask yourself when you’re in design if these are the things you really actually want and bring you joy or if it even matters to you. We make some really great decisions and ones I regret. Good luck and feel free to share your woulds and would nots in the comments.