Working with a Builder - What I Wish I Knew Then

When I graduated from University and moved home, my world was turned upside down. I was living in the USA for four years, in a cute little apartment just off of campus. Between travelling for softball, studying for classes and balancing a social life I had it all figured out and I was on my own. So, you can only imagine my surprise when I moved home and my dads famous words were “my house my rules.” Anyone else been there?

So, needless to say I continued working and stashing away money so that I could buy my first home. A short 9 months later I was the proud owner of a 1400 square foot, three bedroom two and a half bathroom townhome. It took about a month of show home tours and sorting through the opinions of my family before I made a decision and purchased. Fast forward to today and that home is still with me, but I have moved on. Looking back, buying from a builder was seamless but here are some things that I wish I would have asked about or thought twice about before the final sign off.

#1. The “builder deck”. The cute little deck off of the breakfast nook or dining room thats big enough for a chair and a table awkwardly squished in the corner. Take some time and ask what their plans are for a deck. Is it included in the price? What is the shape? What are the dimensions? Where is the railing and where are the stairs located?

As a realtor in Spruce Grove, I see so often in our growing communities people that end up tearing out the builder deck not even a year later and putting in something that actually works for them. Something that is fit for entertaining or functional and safe for children. This is something you should definitely talk about when buying a new build. Every dollar matters and if there is an opportunity to customize to suit your needs now it could save you money in the future.

#2. Bathroom mirrors! - OK this definitely seems like an odd one to say I wish I would have asked the question but its something I just didn’t think about. One way to differentiate your home and make it yours is by decor. You’d be surprised how many frameless mirrors there are in your new build home. And therefore, every home home on the street can feel the same for resale. Take a minute to think about your style and decor. If I could redo it, I would ask the builder to not put in the frameless mirrors, credit my purchase and spend the money on unique mirrors that reflect me. (see what I did there?)

#3. Think, I mean really think of where you spend your time. This is a HUGE opportunity to truly create functional space for yourself and your family. When building a custom house, the opportunity is always there to make every room perfect size for you. But many times when you are building a home that is already planned by the developer and builder, the size and dimensions are set; and they will be unless you ask. 

I spend a lot of time chatting with buyers in homes and we end up in the same location each time. Can you guess? Kitchen and dining room. If you see that the plan for the home has a dining “nook” and a larger living room (but you don’t intend to have a TV on the main floor), take a closer look and investigate if there are options to give more square footage to the dining room and less to the living/seating area. Or, like I said think really hard about where you spend your time and do your best to get some extra square footage there!

#4. Have you ever woke up in the middle of the night and blindly walk your way to the bathroom only to know exactly where the light switch is as you turn it on? Well, the light switch was thoughtfully located to be at the right height and distance in from the doorway to ensure it is a natural movement to use it. 

Walking through the homes built by builders (without client input), I have to say that the location of switches, fan controls, thermostats and electrical plugs is sometimes mind boggling. I find they are either in inconvenient locations, or spread out all over a wall making it impossible to use it for anything else but an eyesore of electrical plates and covers. Call it a first world problem, but hear me when I say if you have the opportunity to make your home more functional and seamless for everyday living/use then take advantage of it! Your half asleep self looking for the light switch in the middle of the night will thank you.

If you have questions about purchasing a home from a builder in Spruce Grove or Stony Plain, give me a call at 780-962-8580 and I would be happy to represent you in the purchase of your new home and give you some tips and tricks to make any spec house feel like home!

Spruce Grove Stony Plain Realtor Local Realtor Parkland County Real Estate For Sale First Time Home Buyer  New Home New Build spec home