ADDING value to your home can be an expensive task, so you need to make sure it’s not also a rip-off.
Homeowners regularly add improvements to their places, either for themselves or for potential resell value.
Some popular upgrades include things like wood flooring, tile flooring, quartz countertops, or even taller cabinets in the kitchen.
While those additions may actually raise the price of your home, not all upgrades are worth it.
In the second installment of our new series, Let’s Get Real, The US Sun spoke with Natalie Way, senior editor at Realtor.com to understand new construction and which additions are worth investing in.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
While new construction has its perks, it’s important to pay attention to what you’re buying.
In fact, new homebuyers may not realize that what could come standard in existing homes could be an added expense.
For example, things like landscaping, window treatments, fences, cabinetry, and more may not be included with the purchase of your home.
Builders will have their own set of standard amenities – which is why buyers should always do their homework.
This includes vetting the builder to make sure they are legitimate.
“Check their reviews on the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Angie’s List. Search the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website for any complaints that have been filed against the builder,” Natalie said.
“If you find anything that gives you pause, speak to your real estate agent or the builder directly before signing a contract,” she added.
DON’T GET DUPED
Realtor.com put together some add-ons homeowners didn’t realize they would end up having to pay for.
“We spent $4,000 on a fridge, range, dishwasher, over-the-range microwave, chest freezer, and washer-dryer,” one Reddit user said.
Another Reddit user said they had to have their house repainted which set them back over $3,000.
“Also ended up having new sod and sprinklers installed. $11,000 for that. Vinyl fence for the backyard so the dog can enjoy himself, $4,000,” the user added.
However, the biggest ripoff Realtor.com noticed homeowners were complaining about while sorting through the thread was window treatments.
“Window treatments are the biggest rip-off. Margins must be crazy,” one user wrote.
Since builders may only follow what’s required by their specific code, not all homes may come with window treatments.
This means another expense for the buyer, and another chance for companies to overcharge.
One user wrote: “Some were quoting me a ridiculous $300 to $400 per window if not more. I went to Ikea and got a bunch of their ‘Tretur’ line which were like $50-$70.”
CONSERVE YOUR CASH
Bartering with your builder may result in some serious savings.
This includes asking about any incentives the builder is offering.
For example, some builders must meet a quota at the end of each month which can give you leverage when trying to close a deal.
“Often builders will offer incentives for spec homes or if they’re trying to meet a sales quota for the month,” Julie Moore, a real estate agent with Greener Grass Real Estate, told Realtor.com.
If you’re unsure how to go about asking for deals, check with your real estate agent to see if they can negotiate add-ons into your deal.
Another tip to save is to buy new construction during the builder’s off-season.
This can typically be in the fall and winter.
Many times the builder will give more attention to your home since they’re a bit slower which gives you the upper hand when talking price.
While it could get you nowhere, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
It’s important to note that while you should be aware of any unnecessary upgrades, many improvements are worth the price.
Changes worth the extra expense are typically ones that will save homeowners money.
This includes energy-efficient home features that reduce your monthly utility bill.
“Energy-efficient windows aren’t cheap to install, but they do have a high return on investment,” Natalie said.
“Plus, they can save you 10 to 12 percent on your energy bill,” she added.
Other add-ons worth the buy are things that provide protection.
This includes items like storm doors, which is a second, outer door used for protection against bad weather, and allows for ventilation in fair weather.
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