Two weeks after we signed a contract on our new home, Amy returned to Houston for our design center visits. Perry Homes allows you two 2-hour visits to make all your selections, which sounded like a
lot of time, but it really wasn’t. Couples who have had a lot of time to check things out in model homes before their design center appointments may be able to rush through, but if you’re starting from scratch, it’s tough to fit it all in – especially since so many of the builder standards are quite ugly, so upgrades are warranted in a large number of areas.
We were lucky that our design center consultant was willing to work with us, giving us more time than our official four hours. But we still just barely got done before the time ran out on us. During that time, we selected everything from the granite for kitchen countertops to cabinetry colors and style, from appliance upgrades to faucets that don’t look like bottom-shelf Home Depot specials, and from carpet and hardwood to tile. Oh, that tile… It was going to bite us in the rear end big time. But more about that later.
What we didn’t realize until much later is that it is far better to stay with the bare minimum in upgrades, and plan to upgrade on your own later. This is for two reasons – one, it means that the upgrades don’t count in your home value, so that your property taxes will be lower. But more importantly, it means that you won’t have to put down much extra earnest money at the front end. As soon as you’ve put down a substantial amount of non-refundable money, you’re pretty much locked in to the home. And that means that the builder has you right where they want you. There have been times during the construction of our home where we would have walked away if we could – but we had already invested too deeply. So take my advice – go light on the upgrades, to keep your options open until far into the construction process.