Building a New Home Through a Realtor’s Eyes

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In Front of Our New LotBuilding a new home is an exciting adventure in real estate. This summer my wife and I decided to build a new home. Castle Rock has many new home builders and communities to choose from, we knew we wanted to stay in the Meadows and decided to contract on a new Meritage Home. One of my clients was building a new home at the same time, so I was able to experience the process as a Realtor and a home buyer.

At the beginning of the process, which can be many months away from when you actually move into the home, you make 95% of the decisions regarding your new home — lot, elevation, structural upgrades, design upgrades, wiring … the list is pretty extensive! So here are a few things I learned in the process:

  • When selecting your elevation, consider what elevations are around you, even if it’s a different floor plan. We paid a little extra, but selected an elevation that no one else in the neighborhood had selected. This makes our home stand out a little more (in a good way) and we continue to get complements on the selection. It’s worth the extra money.
  • When selecting your structural upgrades, take some time to think about how you live in addition to what would be harder to add later on. For example, we added a second bathroom upstairs which was a great decision, but we didn’t add cabinets/counters in our laundry room. This is something we can add later and was more of a nice to have than must have.
  • Something I would recommend to everyone is to pay for the taller doors. In our home the standard was 7′ doors and we upgraded to 8′ doors. This upgrade also came with wider trim throughout the house. This subtle upgrade makes the house look bigger and you’ll notice the difference when you walk into a house with the standard door height.
  • Design upgrades really come down to personal preference. I’ve had clients who upgrade everything and I have others who don’t upgrade anything, but pay to have it upgraded afterwards. There is no right or wrong answer here, though think about your cash flow. Design upgrades such as flooring, counters and decorative tile done after you move in take cash out of your pocket, while if you roll it into your mortgage you add to your monthly payment and can keep your cash. It’s all a matter of preference.
  • Wiring your home for phone, internet, cable and extra electrical outlets was the hardest part of the process for me, because you’re planning it all out on a drawing of your floor plan. We added cable and phone outlets where we “thought” were the best places, but after moving in there were some things we would have done differently. If you have your internet, phone and cable through different providers make sure you account for that when selecting your outlets because two providers cannot work off the same wires. Some things we did right in this category – we had them move our phone outlet to a less distracting place in the kitchen and we added a cable outlet in the garage. Who doesn’t like to have the football game or NASCAR race on while working in the garage?!

Two Weeks Before ClosingThese are just a few of my lessons learned. There is a common misconception that one doesn’t need a Realtor when buying a new home, though my clients who have used me in their new home purchase would disagree. If you’ve been thinking of buying a new home I would love the opportunity to help you through the process.

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