Some of the most popular new home upgrades are better floor coverings, a gourmet kitchen, granite countertops and a fireplace. Some of the smartest upgrades, which really add value to your home are energy star upgrades, and anything that results in a more durable home. As you can see, there is a huge difference between popular and smart.
Popular New Home Upgrades: Carpet Myths
Myth: Carpet increases the resale value of your home.
Fact: Unless you plan to move in two to four years it is doubtful that your carpet will still look nice enough to be a selling point. Unless you find a way to keep from walking on your floors, your carpet will be worn, and is likely to be the first thing new owners replace.
Myth: Carpet is difficult to install.
Fact: Most of the time installation comes free with the carpet, but for smaller rooms, anyone can lay carpet with remnants for a very low cost. Having your carpet replaced is simply a matter of ordering the carpet, moving your furniture and watching a guy come crawl around on your floor for a few hours. It’s really not a big deal, and he’ll be done within the day.
Myth: Carpet is expensive
Carpet costs between $16 and $36 per square yard at installed retail prices, but you can get bargains at carpet outlets, especially on large remnants for bedrooms. Home builders get their carpet much cheaper than that, but if they don’t pass savings on to you, just live with the cheep rugs till they wear out, and replace them with whatever you like and can afford.
Myth: Fireplaces save energy.
Fact: Unless you are talking about a buck stove, closed wood heater, or a specially engineered fireplace designed for heating, a fireplace wastes a lot more heat than it produces, in an otherwise energy efficient home. Firewood can also become an expensive alternative unless your fireplace is designed for maximum efficiency.
Myth: The fireplace will be installed for safety.
Fact: Fireplaces are a major fire hazard. 36% of all residential fires are caused by fireplaces, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
Myth: Fireplaces are easy to use and care for.
Fact: Fireplace flues must be professionally cleaned each year by a certified specialist.
Myth: A fireplace increases the value of a home.
Fact: The desire for a fireplace is far from universal. Some real estate agents have reported that buyers requested homes without fireplaces specifically.
Hardwood floors do increase the value of your home, especially if they are real hardwood, and not just veneer. Real hardwood floors would be difficult to install later, so if you want them, construction is the time to have them installed. As for ceramic tile, it is costly to have installed, and can be done later as a do it yourself project. Compare the cost of items like this against prices of materials you could obtain later.
An attractive kitchen is a huge selling point in a home. There is no denying that. Nice cabinets, expensive countertops and a broad expanse of counter space in the kitchen not only appeals to buyers, it makes living in the home much more pleasant. That said however, if you intend to live in your home rather than re-sell it, your own tastes are all that matters. If you are happy with laminate countertops and veneered cabinets, then there is nothing wrong with them at all. Make sure that they are durable enough to handle daily wear and that’s really all that matters.
The single most important feature of your home is durability, and the second is energy efficiency. An energy star upgrade pays for itself, and is a major selling point because of the savings on utilities. In fact your Energy Star Upgrade increases the value of your home by $10,000. Energy Star upgrades pay for themselves in less than 8 years, in utility savings. It is a proven fact so money spent on an energy star upgrade is really money in the bank, and not an expense at all. No other upgrade pays for itself as dependably as an Energy Star upgrade.
Some homebuilders choose standard materials that are truly ugly in order to get people to upgrade. This is a dishonest and disreputable practice. Most quality home builders, with a longstanding local reputation would never do this sort of thing. This trick is most commonly the trademark of mass produced homes built by huge corporations. If you don’t want to play this silly game, choose a local home builder, from the listings of your National Homebuilder Association.
Making selections and choosing upgrades should not be a confusing process. Research materials and learn what they are truly worth. Bring a notepad full of these prices and your calculator with you to make selections. This should be your guide to which upgrades are worth your money. Consider the durability of each material and how difficult and costly it would be to replace them in a few years. Realize which materials will wear out within 5 or 10 years no matter how much you pay for them and which ones will last for the life of your home. For more information on evaluating popular new home upgrades, download our 98 page free book on home building, and read the many articles on this site.