Buying a new build can be exciting. Depending on when you put your deposit down you usually see it go from the foundations, up a couple of floors, to a roof and go on a site visit. For a lot of people, it’s their first home and one of the best bits is going to your options meeting.
For this blog post I wanted to create a guide to your options meeting. Things you need to consider; it’s important before you go to make sure you’ve done your research. Usually these meetings last a few hours and you should be given a booklet beforehand that allows you to take a look/has the names and prices of all elements (google them!). Quite often ‘extras’ can be expensive, but remember your builder is unlikely to leave certain parts of the house unfinished (e.g. lights, kitchen appliances (like your cooker), bathroom suites) and it’s unlikely they will install pieces you’ve sourced yourself.
Most people usually set a budget for their extras before they go which is advisable!
Things you need to think about for the entire house
1. Internet: Ask where the main internet socket will be in your house, usually builders put a main one (that gives the best signal) into a hallway, then a second in a living room/office. What they don’t usually do is put an electrical socket next to the connection in the hallway, make sure you get this fitted and it’ll improve your internet.
2. Electrical Sockets: Take time to look at the layout for your room, think about where you might want sockets (where will your microwave/kettle go, do you want sockets either side of your bed, are your TVs going to go on the wall?). You can ask your builder to move socket placement which you pay a small fee for but saves the mess and getting an electrician to do it. If your TVs are being wall mounted ask for them in the middle of the wall instead of the bottom to hide the wires.
Think about your flooring options carefully. I hated the quality of the carpets the builder put down (they’re thin and ugly) and really wish I’d left carpets to get them fitted after I’d moved in. I did make the following upgrades though: Hallway I went with tiles (I selected wood effect tiles that were my most expensive upgrade) they are easy to clean for an area that has high traffic. I got tiles put into all the bathrooms, kitchen and utility (this was a personal preference, I don’t like lino) and left carpets in all other rooms. I’m wanting to replace all the carpets I have in my house but also fitting a carpet yourself is easy. If you plan to get fitted wardrobes too then you should get them installed before the carpet goes down.
En-Suites & Bathrooms
If you’ve got an en-suite bathroom think about the lack of natural ventilation, most of them don’t have bathroom windows so tiling the full room will help stop damp and make it easier to clean and keep fresh. If you’re only going to tile and upgrade one room I’d recommend that one! If you have a bathroom, with just a bath think about adding a shower above it that can be useful for guests, so they don’t have to use a shower in your en-suite. Ask about the power of the shower in your en-suite too, as most tend to be electric showers which in my opinion aren’t the best.
Fitted wardrobes from your builder can be expensive. Make sure you’ve got the measurements for the space you want and contact local joiners to get rough quotes for how much it would cost to make bespoke wardrobes for your property. I saved around £3000 through doing this and got exactly what I wanted. This does mean that when you move in you won’t have anywhere to hang clothes, but you can get clothing rails cheaply on amazon and eBay to tide you over.
This is one of my biggest regrets, I was buying my first home and I didn’t really think too hard about the kitchen and how much time I would spend there. A stainless-steel sink and splash back (behind the hob) get oily and don’t fare well without a lot of maintenance. I changed my sink and tap after about two years and wish that I’d had tiling done in the kitchen too. Likewise, with the worktops you see a tiny sample. Use Instagram to research people who have already bought with your builder. For example, if you are buying with miller homes search #millerhomes. Think about the oven and hob, most start with small ovens and a 4-hob gas cooker. Think about your family size and what you’ll be able to cook here.
Integrated appliances (like fridges) can be very costly, I went with this option but could have got a free standing far better fridge for the money I spent.
This was my favourite upgrade, not because there has been a spate of burglaries nearby but because it gives me so much piece of minding having it, it also means that alarms go off every time the front of the back of the property is opened (just a quick beep) so we can hear it anywhere in the house. But again, do your research and make sure you understand the cost of getting this installed privately after you move in.
If there’s something you’ve seen that you’re passionate about getting in your home, don’t be afraid to ask your builder. I wanted the end wall in the hallway to be completely mirrored, they ordered the mirrors and fitted them so that it was all done and how I wanted it when I moved in. It opens what would otherwise be such a dark space. See image above for the mirrors.
Don’t forget to understand how long you have to change your mind (it’s usually up until the roof goes on!) but make sure you ask your builder about dates before you leave. If you’ve bought a new build and have any advice please put it in the comments below!