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Disclaimer
Hello everyone, I am building a new home through a national home builder and need to cost my design center costs down to 15k out of pocket. Currently, I am at 30k out of pocket. I'd like to maintain the upgrades to the parts of the home which will generate the highest resale value, so namely the kitchen I think. I'd love your help though with some other items that can be cut or perhaps negotiated. 

So far here is what I've cut:
Hardwood Floors Basement: 2860
Hardwood Floors basement bonus room: 1230
Add microwave to island: 890
Floating shelf: 1440
Family room mantel: 900
LED puck light: 740
Led puck light transformer: 815
Frameless shower door: 2130

Note: the low-voltage hasn't been calculated yet, that's the next and final appointment. 
 

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The range is slide-in with a hood.

jerosen (Apr. 19, 2017 @ 12:34p) |

It's common to have a drawer-type microwave these days that is neither of the above.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/sharp-1-... (more)

BostonOne (Apr. 19, 2017 @ 1:08p) |

Selling upgrades at inflated prices is a common practice of tract home builders -- it is a profit center for all builder... (more)

bighitter (May. 16, 2017 @ 11:26p) |

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rated:
why do you need to cut 15k?
hard to say what to cut without prices of what's going in....

rated:
solarUS said:   why do you need to cut 15k?
hard to say what to cut without prices of what's going in....

  I'm over my budget in design expenses. And I've attached the spreadsheet with costs and powerpoint with pictures of what's being installed. 

rated:
I didn't read through your lengthy PDF but I would upgrade the stuff that would cost a lot more to upgrade after the house is built. For instance, it it would cost $1,000 to upgrade the shower now but $4,000 later (due to demolition costs etc.) I would do that (300% increase). If you are upgrading a $50 fan to a $200 fan for a cost of $150, I would cut that out for now as you can upgrade it later for $200 (33% increase).

rated:
Rcracer2017 said:   
solarUS said:   why do you need to cut 15k?
hard to say what to cut without prices of what's going in....

  I'm over my budget in design expenses. And I've attached the spreadsheet with costs and powerpoint with pictures of what's being installed. 

  ah i see it now.

first glance:
> $3400 for the island countertop seems high. how big is it?
> you could switch the fancy tiled shower pans out for simple molded ones and probably save a bunch
> "cushion close" doors for $1170? you know you can buy those for like $2 apiece and put them on later
> i think $1660 for a cooktop is a LOT
> skip the $1400 floating shelf in the basement
> $1490 for a kitchen sink is a lot

rated:
solarUS said:   
Rcracer2017 said:   
solarUS said:   why do you need to cut 15k?
hard to say what to cut without prices of what's going in....

  I'm over my budget in design expenses. And I've attached the spreadsheet with costs and powerpoint with pictures of what's being installed. 

  ah i see it now.

first glance:
> $3400 for the island countertop seems high. how big is it?
> you could switch the fancy tiled shower pans out for simple molded ones and probably save a bunch
> "cushion close" doors for $1170? you know you can buy those for like $2 apiece and put them on later
> i think $1660 for a cooktop is a LOT
> skip the $1400 floating shelf in the basement
> $1490 for a kitchen sink is a lot

  Its a big island. 18ft.
I'll check the design center for cheaper options for the shower pans, good catch.
I didn't know that about the cushion close. Any idea on cost to install?
Yeah, it is. I wanted to do a 36'' so that I wouldn't have to cut the granite or rearrange cabinets after closing. Std is 30''
Floating shelves are removed.
Yeah, I hate the freaking price. Its a Farmhouse style stainless steel. Could something like that be installed after the fact for less while keeping the countertop intact?

rated:
Side note: Is the wood (barnwood) for roof deck flooring going to be a durable/low maintenance material?

Our roof terrace (city home, which it looks like yours is too) has fiberglass flooring as does every other new construction home with a roof terrace here. We then have interlocking wood deck tiles on top of the fiberglass as they look better, and those are easily replaceable.

rated:
ArmchairArchitect said:   Side note: Is wood (barnwood) for roof deck flooring going to be a durable/low maintenance material? Our roof terrace (city home, which it looks like yours is too) has fiberglass flooring as does every other new construction home with a roof terrace here. We then have interlocking wood deck tiles on top of the fiberglass, and those are easily replaceable.
  You're correct it's a townhouse. And I have no idea regarding the actual material for the deck. It isn't an option I get to select. The wood deck tiles though are a good idea and I think I've even seen them at Ikea. 

rated:
Just curious, what is the total cost (land excluded) for that house (and what square footage)?

rated:
How about polished cement for basement floors instead of hardwood?

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ArmchairArchitect said:   Just curious, what is the total cost (land excluded) for that house (and what square footage)?
  Not including structural or design options, just base price: 630k. 3100 sqft. Part of the structural upgrade is finishing the basement to make the house 4k sqft.

https://www.ashtonwoods.com/atlanta/aria-opera-series/falstaff
 Select Nabucco for the top floor and add shower in terrace bedroom. Prices have gone up since my contract was signed. My unit is the first to be built. 

rated:
Yeah, I was thinking epoxy maybe. That isn't something they will do though. I'll just take the included carpet and do that after. 

What get's me are things like the sink they are charging 1490 for and on Amazon its half that. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00575719G/ref=asc_df_B00575719G493880...

To me installation is a fixed cost ( they have to install something there anyway) so its just a product up-charge at a ridiculous rates. Same thing applies to the free standing tub and other items. Anyway to be better negotiate this?

rated:
ArmchairArchitect said:   Just curious, what is the total cost (land excluded) for that house (and what square footage)?
  It's on his form, $700,288 with upgrades.  If you're dropping $700k on a *townhouse* I'm not sure that trying to save a few thousand on the upgrades really matters. 

That said, just on your shortlist, I just put in a lovely frameless sliding shower door (myself) and it cost about $700.  Heavy as hell and hard to do.  Their prices are all over the place, however, based on just looking at a few of them, they aren't really jacking you too bad.  Finally, just as somebody who's basically rebuilt our house from bottom to top myself...I don't buy low voltage lights anymore.  Transformers go out pretty regularly, and they cost more to replace than the entire light, often.  I just make everything line voltage and find LED bulbs that are good - or buy led fixtures themselves. 

rated:
Resale value? On a townhouse?

Don't build your house for the next buyer. You'll never get 100% of the upcharge back for anything, even on an SFH, and that goes about quadruple for a townhouse. If "resale value" is the only reason for getting something, cut it.

rated:
IMBoring25 said:   Resale value? On a townhouse?

Don't build your house for the next buyer. You'll never get 100% of the upcharge back for anything, even on an SFH, and that goes about quadruple for a townhouse. If "resale value" is the only reason for getting something, cut it.

  This market is a little different. My condo that I currently own and bought for 415k 3 years ago just received an offer at 625k. Conventional wisdom says condos aren't great buys but, being in a metro area changes that. 

rated:
Rcracer2017 said:   
IMBoring25 said:   Resale value? On a townhouse?

Don't build your house for the next buyer. You'll never get 100% of the upcharge back for anything, even on an SFH, and that goes about quadruple for a townhouse. If "resale value" is the only reason for getting something, cut it.

  This market is a little different. My condo that I currently own and bought for 415k 3 years ago just received an offer at 625k. Conventional wisdom says condos aren't great buys but, being in a metro area changes that. 

  
Thats market appreciation and not the same as the return on value for upgrades.

The dumpy old 40's bungalow we own in Portland is up 50% in the past 3 years too and we haven't upgraded a thing.
If I'd pumped 100k into remodeling the house I wouldn't be getting 100k back in increased value on it.
 

rated:
Rcracer2017 said:   
solarUS said:   
Rcracer2017 said:   
solarUS said:   why do you need to cut 15k?
hard to say what to cut without prices of what's going in....

  I'm over my budget in design expenses. And I've attached the spreadsheet with costs and powerpoint with pictures of what's being installed. 

  ah i see it now.

first glance:
> $3400 for the island countertop seems high. how big is it?
> you could switch the fancy tiled shower pans out for simple molded ones and probably save a bunch
> "cushion close" doors for $1170? you know you can buy those for like $2 apiece and put them on later
> i think $1660 for a cooktop is a LOT
> skip the $1400 floating shelf in the basement
> $1490 for a kitchen sink is a lot

  Its a big island. 18ft.
I'll check the design center for cheaper options for the shower pans, good catch.
I didn't know that about the cushion close. Any idea on cost to install?
Yeah, it is. I wanted to do a 36'' so that I wouldn't have to cut the granite or rearrange cabinets after closing. Std is 30''
Floating shelves are removed.
Yeah, I hate the freaking price. Its a Farmhouse style stainless steel. Could something like that be installed after the fact for less while keeping the countertop intact?

  https://www.amazon.com/Kraus-KHF200-36-Farmhouse-16-gauge-Stainl...
36 inch farmhouse apron front for 399..
Once Granite counter top is cut for the sink, I am assuming it would cost to refit to the new sink?
Builder may be charging you $1400 but ask how much is the normal sink and the builder credit and let him know if you can supply your own sink?

rated:
Condos can be hot right now, because single family homes are even more ridiculous in their prices lately. Starter Homes are getting out of reach for a new family in a lot of areas.  Wages have been stagnate for to long.

rated:
I didn't look through your whole list but can you buy some stuff on your own? I had a friend do a custom home and she bought her own appliances, light fixtures, a few vanities, the bathroom granite for the countertops, the front door, and a few other random items. It saved her a ton and before the house was built she could pick up some custom sized items (like her front door) that were clearanced returns because they didn't fit for the original owner but she could have the door frame built to fit the door.

rated:
Just take everything out of the basement and finish it later to get your sq footage.

rated:
Most of your cabinet upgrade items... crown / handles / etc. could be done after closing for 25% or less of that cost... soft close drawers $ 990 wow... I think these are like $3 a piece @ HD.

Puck lights why do low voltage... use line voltage... is it cheaper for them to provide a switched outlet ? and buy a $ 20 plug in puck on Amazon ?

rated:
Thank you all for the suggestions. here is what I have cut so far:
Hardwood Floors Basement: 2860
Hardwood Floors basement bonus room: 1230
Add microwave to island: 890
Floating shelf: 1440
Family room mantel: 900
LED puck light: 740
Led puck light transformer: 815
Frameless shower door: 2130
Cushion Close for portfolio: 1170
Basement wet bar countertop: 1820
basement wet bar faucet 250
basement cabinet: 920
kitchen sink 1490
total: 15,485

rated:
Rcracer2017 said:   What get's me are things like the sink they are charging 1490 for and on Amazon its half that. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00575719G/ref=asc_df_B00575719G4938802/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=395033&creativeASIN=B00575719G&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167134152438&hvpos=1o4&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11939107532443075191&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9010931&hvtargid=pla-274130390563

To me installation is a fixed cost ( they have to install something there anyway) so its just a product up-charge at a ridiculous rates. Same thing applies to the free standing tub and other items. Anyway to be better negotiate this?
 

yeah they are gouging pretty hard on that.  i'm quite sure there's a significant material upcharge on everything.

you could just ask for an installation price on this stuff, and provide your own materials. dunno how they'll feel about it.

for the record - i hate new homes. what a waste. so many fine houses that just need some work.

rated:
I know the builder, the area and the subdivision where you are buying. I get the attraction of buying brand new, but you are paying an absolutely enormous premium for a townhouse there (especially since this is not a high end builder and the appliances and the finishes are not high end). You can easily get a SFH there for about the same price, with more square footage and similar if not higher end finishes.

This is also not a great area for high end townhouses, which tend to do a lot better if you are in-town. In this area, townhouse owners are looked down upon and their resale trajectories reflect this.

rated:
LawDawgAtl said:   I know the builder, the area and the subdivision where you are buying. I get the attraction of buying brand new, but you are paying an absolutely enormous premium for a townhouse there (especially since this is not a high end builder and the appliances and the finishes are not high end). You can easily get a SFH there for about the same price, with more square footage and similar if not higher end finishes.

This is also not a great area for high end townhouses, which tend to do a lot better if you are in-town. In this area, townhouse owners are looked down upon and their resale trajectories reflect this.

  
I agree that it's a lot of money for Atlanta period. However, SFH homes in this subdivision are starting at 790k base and my home is 630k base. That is not an insignificant difference and way above my ability being that I'd probably have at least another 40-50k in design and structural changes. I have a position at the MB HQ across the street so for me it's a perfect live/work location. There's also about 10 acres of retail planned for the site to give it that downtown feel where I currently live. 

In any case, I'm obligated to purchase at this point since I signed the contract.

rated:
Rcracer2017 said:   
LawDawgAtl said:   I know the builder, the area and the subdivision where you are buying. I get the attraction of buying brand new, but you are paying an absolutely enormous premium for a townhouse there (especially since this is not a high end builder and the appliances and the finishes are not high end). You can easily get a SFH there for about the same price, with more square footage and similar if not higher end finishes.

This is also not a great area for high end townhouses, which tend to do a lot better if you are in-town. In this area, townhouse owners are looked down upon and their resale trajectories reflect this.

  
I agree that it's a lot of money for Atlanta period. However, SFH homes in this subdivision are starting at 790k base and my home is 630k base. That is not an insignificant difference and way above my ability being that I'd probably have at least another 40-50k in design and structural changes. I have a position at the MB HQ across the street so for me it's a perfect live/work location. There's also about 10 acres of retail planned for the site to give it that downtown feel where I currently live. 

In any case, I'm obligated to purchase at this point since I signed the contract.

  Yep, I figured that you're with MB.

The purchase price is actually not that much money for Atlanta or for the area. It is just expensive for a townhouse, particularly from a non-luxury builder, outside the perimeter, which is an area that attracts families looking for SFH. You can buy SFH's in this area for the amount that this townhouse is selling for, but they won't be brand new. Like I said, I get the thinking in your situation, as you are going from a condo to a brand new townhouse across the street from the office without a huge out of pocket cost. It's just that you could get a far better value in the same area and much better resale prospects. I get that you're under contract now though, so it sounds like a moot point. 

rated:
Ditch their under cabinet lighting. Bring your kitchen plans to a lighting shop and get a quote. Make sure there's a prewired 120 in one of the end cabinets.
Also, have them put a ceiling fan box in each bedroom fixture. will make it easier when you swap lights for fans later.
Shop around for your own appliances. Our builder had a package with some Meh -Whirlpool stuff. I ended up with all Samsung (better IMO) for less.
Get one of these and a drill. put in your own cabinet pulls.  http://www.homedepot.com/p/Liberty-Align-Right-Cabinet-Door-Hardware-Installation-Template-AN0200C-G-Q/100159230

rated:
Rcracer2017 said:   Thank you all for the suggestions. here is what I have cut so far:
Hardwood Floors Basement: 2860
Hardwood Floors basement bonus room: 1230
Add microwave to island: 890
Floating shelf: 1440
Family room mantel: 900
LED puck light: 740
Led puck light transformer: 815
Frameless shower door: 2130
Cushion Close for portfolio: 1170
Basement wet bar countertop: 1820
basement wet bar faucet 250
basement cabinet: 920
kitchen sink 1490
total: 15,485

  Probably not what you want to hear, but IMHO, as someone who renovated/rebuilt my house top to bottom... you're being pennywise and pound foolish.  You're already in for apparently $700K and pulling out niceties to get to $685K.  

I don't know whether your townhome is worth it where you are and what price bracket you should be in.  However, I'm feeling that whether you spend the 685K or 700K if you're going to be there a while, it isn't going to impact your monthly payment in a meaningful way, but can impact how you feel about the space.  

Under cabinet lighting can be nice.  I wouldn't skip doing them and I don't know how integrated the solution you're being sold is, so I don't know how hard/easy it will be to retrofit.  Mine are pucks sunk into a false bottom of the cabinets.  They look nice and very finished.
A Frameless glass shower looks a LOT nicer than a framed one when there is a lot of glass, on a $700K townhouse, I'd want a frameless glass shower.  
Pulling the wet bar out of the basement I'd hesitate to do also as putting one in after with the sheetrock up if its not plumbed already is a PITA.  The mantle, it depends on how nice what they were doing was for 900.  It can be done later. 
I don't know how much the basement flooring is really costing you as far as a PSF basis.  If its high, i could see pulling it.  However, if its in line, I'd say just get it done now.  

What I'm getting out of your cuts are that your cutting one big focal point from your kitchen, really doing a dent to your basement and cutting part of the luxury.  If thats what you want to do... go for it.  Personally at that price point I'd splurge to get most of ithose items.

rated:
LawDawgAtl said:   
Rcracer2017 said:   
LawDawgAtl said:   I know the builder, the area and the subdivision where you are buying. I get the attraction of buying brand new, but you are paying an absolutely enormous premium for a townhouse there (especially since this is not a high end builder and the appliances and the finishes are not high end). You can easily get a SFH there for about the same price, with more square footage and similar if not higher end finishes.

This is also not a great area for high end townhouses, which tend to do a lot better if you are in-town. In this area, townhouse owners are looked down upon and their resale trajectories reflect this.

  
I agree that it's a lot of money for Atlanta period. However, SFH homes in this subdivision are starting at 790k base and my home is 630k base. That is not an insignificant difference and way above my ability being that I'd probably have at least another 40-50k in design and structural changes. I have a position at the MB HQ across the street so for me it's a perfect live/work location. There's also about 10 acres of retail planned for the site to give it that downtown feel where I currently live. 

In any case, I'm obligated to purchase at this point since I signed the contract.

  Yep, I figured that you're with MB.

The purchase price is actually not that much money for Atlanta or for the area. It is just expensive for a townhouse, particularly from a non-luxury builder, outside the perimeter, which is an area that attracts families looking for SFH. You can buy SFH's in this area for the amount that this townhouse is selling for, but they won't be brand new. Like I said, I get the thinking in your situation, as you are going from a condo to a brand new townhouse across the street from the office without a huge out of pocket cost. It's just that you could get a far better value in the same area and much better resale prospects. I get that you're under contract now though, so it sounds like a moot point. 

  DAYYYYM. Atlanta is more expensive than I thought. Good luck with the I-85 cluster, sounds like the price premium to walk to work is gonna be worth it!

rated:
rufflesinc said:   
LawDawgAtl said:   
Rcracer2017 said:   
LawDawgAtl said:   I know the builder, the area and the subdivision where you are buying. I get the attraction of buying brand new, but you are paying an absolutely enormous premium for a townhouse there (especially since this is not a high end builder and the appliances and the finishes are not high end). You can easily get a SFH there for about the same price, with more square footage and similar if not higher end finishes.

This is also not a great area for high end townhouses, which tend to do a lot better if you are in-town. In this area, townhouse owners are looked down upon and their resale trajectories reflect this.

  
I agree that it's a lot of money for Atlanta period. However, SFH homes in this subdivision are starting at 790k base and my home is 630k base. That is not an insignificant difference and way above my ability being that I'd probably have at least another 40-50k in design and structural changes. I have a position at the MB HQ across the street so for me it's a perfect live/work location. There's also about 10 acres of retail planned for the site to give it that downtown feel where I currently live. 

In any case, I'm obligated to purchase at this point since I signed the contract.

  Yep, I figured that you're with MB.

The purchase price is actually not that much money for Atlanta or for the area. It is just expensive for a townhouse, particularly from a non-luxury builder, outside the perimeter, which is an area that attracts families looking for SFH. You can buy SFH's in this area for the amount that this townhouse is selling for, but they won't be brand new. Like I said, I get the thinking in your situation, as you are going from a condo to a brand new townhouse across the street from the office without a huge out of pocket cost. It's just that you could get a far better value in the same area and much better resale prospects. I get that you're under contract now though, so it sounds like a moot point. 

  DAYYYYM. Atlanta is more expensive than I thought. Good luck with the I-85 cluster, sounds like the price premium to walk to work is gonna be worth it!

The I-85 bridge collapse is scheduled to be fixed between the middle of May and June 15th: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/atlanta/gdot-state-offering-31m-...

Rcracer2017's position is at the new Mercedes-Benz headquarters, which is nowhere near the bridge collapse and the townhouse wouldn't be completed prior to the bridge reopening anyway.

rated:
LawDawgAtl said:   
rufflesinc said:   
LawDawgAtl said:   
Rcracer2017 said:   
LawDawgAtl said:   I know the builder, the area and the subdivision where you are buying. I get the attraction of buying brand new, but you are paying an absolutely enormous premium for a townhouse there (especially since this is not a high end builder and the appliances and the finishes are not high end). You can easily get a SFH there for about the same price, with more square footage and similar if not higher end finishes.

This is also not a great area for high end townhouses, which tend to do a lot better if you are in-town. In this area, townhouse owners are looked down upon and their resale trajectories reflect this.

  
I agree that it's a lot of money for Atlanta period. However, SFH homes in this subdivision are starting at 790k base and my home is 630k base. That is not an insignificant difference and way above my ability being that I'd probably have at least another 40-50k in design and structural changes. I have a position at the MB HQ across the street so for me it's a perfect live/work location. There's also about 10 acres of retail planned for the site to give it that downtown feel where I currently live. 

In any case, I'm obligated to purchase at this point since I signed the contract.

  Yep, I figured that you're with MB.

The purchase price is actually not that much money for Atlanta or for the area. It is just expensive for a townhouse, particularly from a non-luxury builder, outside the perimeter, which is an area that attracts families looking for SFH. You can buy SFH's in this area for the amount that this townhouse is selling for, but they won't be brand new. Like I said, I get the thinking in your situation, as you are going from a condo to a brand new townhouse across the street from the office without a huge out of pocket cost. It's just that you could get a far better value in the same area and much better resale prospects. I get that you're under contract now though, so it sounds like a moot point. 

  DAYYYYM. Atlanta is more expensive than I thought. Good luck with the I-85 cluster, sounds like the price premium to walk to work is gonna be worth it!

The I-85 bridge collapse is scheduled to be fixed between the middle of May and June 15th: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/atlanta/gdot-state-offering-31m-... 

Rcracer2017's position is at the new Mercedes-Benz headquarters, which is nowhere near the bridge collapse and the townhouse wouldn't be completed prior to the bridge reopening anyway.

  ATL road network sucks, bridge or no bridge. $700k for a townhouse ... smh smh smh. I suspect the price premium is because lots of people at mbhq don't want to drive in the crap traffic

rated:
Chrisk327 said:   A Frameless glass shower looks a LOT nicer than a framed one when there is a lot of glass, on a $700K townhouse, I'd want a frameless glass shower. 
 

  +1

looks like OP originally splurged for it in the master but left the other bathrooms as framed...which makes sense to me. a $2100+ upcharge is of course obscene, but in OP's spot i'd probably spend it. (shudders at the thought)

rated:
Chrisk327 said:   
Rcracer2017 said:   Thank you all for the suggestions. here is what I have cut so far:
Hardwood Floors Basement: 2860
Hardwood Floors basement bonus room: 1230
Add microwave to island: 890
Floating shelf: 1440
Family room mantel: 900
LED puck light: 740
Led puck light transformer: 815
Frameless shower door: 2130
Cushion Close for portfolio: 1170
Basement wet bar countertop: 1820
basement wet bar faucet 250
basement cabinet: 920
kitchen sink 1490
total: 15,485

  Probably not what you want to hear, but IMHO, as someone who renovated/rebuilt my house top to bottom... you're being pennywise and pound foolish.  You're already in for apparently $700K and pulling out niceties to get to $685K.  

I don't know whether your townhome is worth it where you are and what price bracket you should be in.  However, I'm feeling that whether you spend the 685K or 700K if you're going to be there a while, it isn't going to impact your monthly payment in a meaningful way, but can impact how you feel about the space.  

Under cabinet lighting can be nice.  I wouldn't skip doing them and I don't know how integrated the solution you're being sold is, so I don't know how hard/easy it will be to retrofit.  Mine are pucks sunk into a false bottom of the cabinets.  They look nice and very finished.
A Frameless glass shower looks a LOT nicer than a framed one when there is a lot of glass, on a $700K townhouse, I'd want a frameless glass shower.  
Pulling the wet bar out of the basement I'd hesitate to do also as putting one in after with the sheetrock up if its not plumbed already is a PITA.  The mantle, it depends on how nice what they were doing was for 900.  It can be done later. 
I don't know how much the basement flooring is really costing you as far as a PSF basis.  If its high, i could see pulling it.  However, if its in line, I'd say just get it done now.  

What I'm getting out of your cuts are that your cutting one big focal point from your kitchen, really doing a dent to your basement and cutting part of the luxury.  If thats what you want to do... go for it.  Personally at that price point I'd splurge to get most of ithose items.

  Thank you for the suggestions. I agree, that considering the overall value of the home these little niceties will be necessary for resale value down the line. I plan on doing all of them later, within the next 2 years or so and paying cash vs mortgage interest and property tax for the next 30 years. 

The frameless shower door I got a quote for 1800
The wet bars will be plumbed but, not installed as that is a structural item and cannot be changed now 
The basement is approximately 800 sqft, laminate flooring charge was 4090. My current thoughts are to install the included carpet and then see about hiring some day laborers to install either epoxy or wood-look tile. I really don't want the laminate but, I do need a hard surface for pet reasons. 

The under-cabinet lighting I am still looking into how to install. There are a ton of options on the market. I think I will have them place a 110 volt outlet undercounted in the cabinet and do plugins. That will cost about $240 vs 1500.

 

rated:
Easiest way to cut cost... don't go with the national builder. They will rip you off even if you think you're getting a good deal. We just moved into a new home a year and a half ago and my biggest concerns were certain materials and land.

They used almost all of the materials that I wanted (durability, warranty, asthetics,etc were primary concerns), but the skimped in many ways. For starters, we wanted pex tubing for the plumbing, but instead of installing with home runs from each fixture to a central manifold, they plumbed it like traditional materials are plumbed (sad thing is, it cost them more money in labor than they saved in materials even considering cheap labor... and it causes water pressure issues for us). We got into the first stage of the neighborhood, but the second stage they narrowed the side walks, went with smaller street signs, etc. Just a bunch of little ways for them to shave costs at a nearly insignificant level.

If you want to lower your cost, you will go with being your own general contractor and managing things youself (there are companies that help you to do this).

Short of that, ask them to give you a discount on the upgrades that you have. The way that they charge for some upgrades is ridiculous... like the price between brick and stone which are installed nearly the same (marginal difference in labor and material), but it is as if they charge you to install the brick, demolish it, then install the stone. This happens in many occasions, like flooring, for starters.

Fixtures, both plumbing and lighting, are an easy place to cut costs because they are super easy to install and the markup isn't so high in the stores. Plus, you can look for deals on the fixtures yourself. Something easily changed later.

The big places to not cut... things that are difficult to change later, like floor plan changes, windows, doors, siding, etc.

Also, another thing to consider spending money on that you might have overlooked... electrical and data drops. These are a pain in the butt to add later, and depending on the home nearly impossible without major work. I ran an extra gas line outside, some extra electrical in the garage, etc. I still think I would have preferred to do more, in retrospect.

Seriously... compromise on the easy stuff and ask them to give you a discount. They are already going to be making money from you buying the house... they don't really need to make X% profit on the sale price, they can be satisfied with making a nominal profit, easily... so negotiate.

rated:
For ease of reading. Removed items that were $0 in price
Code Description Qty Unit Price Total
CA6BB Level 6 Cabinets - Basement Bath 1 $290 $290
CABHWBBL2 Cabinet Knobs Level 2 - Basement Bath 1 $30 $30
CT2SSBBL2 Level 2 Silestone (2cm edge) tops in Basement Bath 1 $290 $290
TLFLBB04 Tile Floor - Level 4 - Basement Bath 1 $125 $125
HF1BN Hardwood Floors - Basement Bonus Room - Level 1 1 $2860 $2860
HF1HB Hardwood Floors - Hallway Basement - Level 1 1 $1230 $1230
CABHWKTL2 Cabinet Knobs Level 2 - Kitchen 1 $460 $460
TLBSKT18 Tile Backsplash Kitchen - Level 18 1 $1180 $1180
CABKTIUP06 Upgrade Island Cabinets to Level 6 1 $1240 $1240
CTVIAKTI3 Viatera 3cm tops - Level 3 Kitchen Island ONLY  1 $3410 $3410
CABP42DO6 Kitchen Cabinets Perimeter Only 42" Uppers w/ Double Oven 1 $2450 $2450
CTVIAKTP3 Viatera 3cm tops - Level 3 Kitchen Perimeter ONLY 1 $1260 $1260
CA6MB Level 6 Cabinets - Master Bath 1 $160 $160
CABHWMBL2 Cabinet Knobs Level 2 - Master Bath 1 $60 $60
TLFLMB05 Tile Floor - Level 5 - Master Bath 1 $620 $620
TILEPANMBL18 Tile Shower Pan Master Bath - Level 18 1 $1090 $1090
CP2MBC 8 lbs pad - Master Bedroom Closet 1 $10 $10
CRP3MC Level 3 Carpet Upgrade - Master Bedroom Closet 1 $25 $25
CP2MBR 8 lbs pad - Master Bedroom 1 $40 $40
CRP3MR Level 3 Carpet Upgrade - Master Bedroom 1 $140 $140
TILESHMSHL04 Level 04 Shower Tile Upgrade Master Bathroom Shower 1 $370 $370
TLWLCEILMSHL4 Master Bath Shower Wall Tile to Ceiling - Level 4 1 $405 $405
CA6TBA Level 6 Cabinets - Terrace Bath 1 $260 $260
CABHWTBAL2 Cabinet Knobs Level 2 - Terrace Bathroom 1 $30 $30
CTSSTBAL2 Level 2 Silestone (2cm edge) tops in Terrace Bath (Eased Edge) 1 $270 $270
TLFLTBA04 Tile Floor - Level 4 - Terrace Bath 1 $130 $130
TILEPANTBAL08 Tile Shower Pan Terrace Level Bath - Level 08 1 $190 $190
CP2TBR 8 lbs pad - Terrace Bedroom 1 $30 $30
CRP3TBR Level 3 Carpet Upgrade - Terrace Bedroom 1 $100 $100
TLFLUT04 Tile Floor - Level 4 - Utility Room 1 $220 $220
APLJAGCT2 Jenn-Air 36" Gas Cooktop 6 Burner JGC7636BS 1 $1660 $1660
APLKAMWISLBCSS Add Microwave with trim kit to ISLAND base cabinets 1 $890 $890
APLVH2 Vent Hood 36" Under Cabinet UXT5536AAS 1 $900 $900
CABHWADDL2 Cabinet Hardware - Add Level 2 Knob 8 $15 $120
CABSOFFILL Cabinet Uppers - Add filler to top of cabinets to meet soffit. 1 $500 $500
CACCOVP Cushion Close (CCO) for Portfolio 13 $90 $1170
CACRN2 Cabinet Crown Level 2 - Kitchen Only 1 $300 $300
CAD34DWR 3 or 4 Drawer Base Cabinet in Lieu of Standard Base Cabinet 2 $320 $640
CADRC Deep Cabinet Over Refrigerator 1 $700 $700
CADRUCT Add drawers under cooktop ilo standard oven base cabinet 1 $500 $500
CAFLSH4810 Floating Shelf -48" x 10" x 2.5" rated for 60 lbs 3 $480 $1440
208233 DESIGN--Cabinet, Island 1 $1330 $1330
208615 DESIGN--Cabinet, Loft wet bar base cabinet 1 $1230 $1230
208624 DESIGN--Cabinet, Basement 9' wet bar base cabinet 1 $920 $920
209493 DESIGN--Kitchen Island 1 $-75 $-75
208208 DESIGN--Plumbing, inks (2) for Master Tuscan Marble vanities 1 $40 $40
208613 DESIGN--Countertop, Loft wet bar. 1 $1410 $1410
208625 DESIGN--Countertop,Basement wet bar 1 $1820 $1820
ELCAN6 Add 6" Recessed Can Light 16 $115 $1840
ELCAN6ILOBRFM Add 6" Recessed Can Light ILO Flush Mount Light 3 $55 $165
ELCAN6ILOFM Add 6" Recessed Can Light ILO Flush Mount Light 6 $65 $390
ELFANINTPRE Add an Interior prewire for ceiling fan/light. Fan not included 1 $55 $55
ELGDBELT Genie 1/2 HP Belt Drive GD Opener 1 $140 $140
ELOUT Add Receptacle Extra receptacle (interior) 3 $30 $90
ELOUTGFIINT Add an Interior GFI receptacle Extra GFI receptacle (interior) 1 $40 $40
ELPREBATH Add a Prewire for a Bath Vanity Light 4 $55 $220
ELPRELIGHT Add a Prewire for a Light Fixture 2 $40 $80
ELPUCKLED LED Puck Light. Includes Puck Light Only 4 $185 $740
ELPUCKLEDTRANKT LED puck light transformer w/ Kitchen Cabinet Valence 1 $815 $815
ELSW1 Add single switch (per specs) 10 $30 $300
ELSWUPROCK Upgrade a single toggle switch to rocker (decor) style 78 $5 $390
209932 DESIGN-- Electrical, Basement Hallway 1 $220 $220
ELFFANFRUG Family Room Ceiling Fan Upgrade 1 $-99 $-99
FPFRFMPG Family Room - Add Paint Grade Floating Mantel 1 $900 $900
FPTILECFRLVL04 FR Fireplace Tile - Add Tile to Fireplace to Ceiling - 1 $450 $450
TWBRICKFRFPCEIL Wall - Place Tile in a Brick Joint Pattern 1 $130 $130
209921 DESIGN--Fireplace, Raise the firebox to 8" 1 $175 $175
ITMID68SCUPTADD Upgrade Additional 6'8" Terrace Interior Door to Solid Core 2 $105 $210
PLK3943NAGT Kohler Undermount Kitchen Sink 1 $1490 $1490
PLKVERTICYLBBSS Kohler Verticyl K-2882-0 Undermount Vanity Sink 1 $150 $150
PLKVERTICYLTBAS Kohler Verticyl K-2882-0 Undermount Vanity Sink 1 $150 $150
PLMBR8BBC Moen Brantford 8" Spread Basement Bath Faucet 1 $100 $100
PLRAIN01 Moen ExactTemp 1-Function 7" Rain Shower Showerhead 1 $290 $290
208614 DESIGN--Plumbing, Loft Wet Bar Faucet 1 $250 $250
208695 DESIGN--Plumbing, Moen Brantford 8" Spread Bath Faucet 1 $110 $110
SDFRMLSMB Upgrade to Frameless Shower Door - 80" 1 $2130 $2130
STMPR12 Metal Pickets, Metal Pattern 12 1 $1370 $1370
TILEPATTFLOORMB Floor - Place Tile in a Brick Joint Pattern or Diagonal 1 $205 $205
209919 DESIGN--Tile Floor, Opt. Laundry on Terrace level. Level 4 tile 1 $280 $280
209922 DESIGN--Tile Floor, Master Bath. 1 $170 $170
209933 DESIGN--Wall Tile, Terrace Shower 1 $280 $280
209934 DESIGN--Wall Tile, Basement Tub Surround 1 $280 $280
TILEHBPATTNWSF Wall - Place Tile in a Herringbone Pattern 22 $15 $330
TILEHBPATTWMBSH Wall - Place Tile in a Herringbone Pattern 1 $1150 $1150
TLNICHEMB Tile Niche for Master Shower Wall 1 $275 $275
208599 DESIGN--Stair Railings 1 $460 $460
208626 DESIGN--Plumbing, Basement Wet Bar Faucet 1 $250 $250


rated:
Agree with others, you can afford to spend $685k on a condo, don't cheap out on the last few % for things you actually will use.

These are the items I would remove since they are basement related and you can finish later. Only have the underlying items (plumbing, electrical) installed.
Code Description Total
CA6BB Level 6 Cabinets - Basement Bath 290
CABHWBBL2 Cabinet Knobs Level 2 - Basement Bath 30
CT2SSBBL2 Level 2 Silestone (2cm edge) tops in Basement Bath (Eased Edge) 290
TLFLBB04 Tile Floor - Level 4 - Basement Bath 125
HF1BN Hardwood Floors - Basement Bonus Room - Level 1 2860
HF1HB Hardwood Floors - Hallway Basement - Level 1 1230
208624 DESIGN--Cabinet, Basement 9' wet bar base cabinet 920
208625 DESIGN--Countertop,Basement wet bar 1820
209932 DESIGN-- Electrical, Basement Hallway 220
PLMBR8BBC Moen Brantford 8" Spread Basement Bath Faucet 100
209934 DESIGN--Wall Tile, Basement Tub Surround 280
208626 DESIGN--Plumbing, Basement Wet Bar Faucet 250

These are items that you could likely DIY for 1/2 the price or less
Code Description Total
CABHWKTL2 Cabinet Knobs Level 2 - Kitchen 460
CABHWMBL2 Cabinet Knobs Level 2 - Master Bath 60
CABHWTBAL2 Cabinet Knobs Level 2 - Terrace Bathroom 30
APLKAMWISLBCSS Add Microwave with trim kit to ISLAND base cabinets 890
CABHWADDL2 Cabinet Hardware - Add Level 2 Knob 120
CABSOFFILL Cabinet Uppers - Add solid flat filler to top of cabinets to meet soffit. 500
CACCOVP Cushion Close (CCO) for Portfolio 1170
CACRN2 Cabinet Crown Level 2 - Kitchen Only 300
CAFLSH4810 Floating Shelf -48" x 10" x 2.5" rated for 60 lbs 1440
ELPUCKLEDTRANKT LED puck light transformer w/ Kitchen Cabinet Valence 815
PLK3943NAGT Kohler Vault K-3943-NA 35-1/2" SGL Bowl Undermount Kitchen Sink 1490

Lastly, you are paying a lot of money to get tile put in patterns. Is it really worth it to you?
Code Description Total
TWBRICKFRFPCEIL Wall - Place Tile in a Brick Joint Pattern 130
STMPR12 Metal Pickets, Metal Pattern 12 1370
TILEPATTFLOORMB Floor - Place Tile in a Brick Joint Pattern or Diagonal 205
TILEHBPATTNWSF Wall - Place Tile in a Herringbone Pattern 330
TILEHBPATTWMBSH Wall - Place Tile in a Herringbone Pattern 1150


rated:
Penny wise and pound foolish.. You're spending $700k What's $15k? about 2% and if 2% is gonna break you then you, have spent more than you can afford.

rated:
As a builder/contractor from the Northeast, all I can say is WOW! There must be some HUGE demand in the Atlanta area for people to pay those prices.

rated:
letsspendlotsofmoney said:   Penny wise and pound foolish.. You're spending $700k What's $15k? about 2% and if 2% is gonna break you then you, have spent more than you can afford.
  
If there is an avenue I can squeeze a cent out of I'd like to pursue it. I've gotten the best deal I can on a home for myself now I am looking at the options for it. 

Skipping 10 Messages...
rated:
Selling upgrades at inflated prices is a common practice of tract home builders -- it is a profit center for all builders.  Get quotes for the upgrades you are looking at from other companies as a point of comparison.

 As another poster pointed out, have your builder do only those upgrades that would be expensive to tear out and re-do later.

If there are upgrades that you can get a better price on your own (such as fixtures, flooring, etc), and provided you aren't trying to include the costs of those upgrades in your sales price (and thus finance the upgrade cost as part of your mortgage), ask your mortage lender if you they will allow you to close escrow without those items installed.  It used to be that some mortgage companies would allow you to do so provided you  deposited the money for the upgrades into escrow together with a written contract from your installer.  The lender would typically have their appraiser re-inspect (take photos)  after close to ensure the items had been installed and then authorize release of the escrowed amount  -- the cost for the lender's re-inspection used to be about $75 so probably would be around $100 or so today.  If your lender will agree to allow you to install certain items after closing, ask the builder if they will give you a credit for their cost of the base (non-upgraded) components that you intend to install yourself after closing.  
 

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