08:15PM | 04/08/01
Member Since: 04/08/01
1 lifetime posts
Any help on this would be appreciated.

We just purchased a new house. It begins consruction later this month/early May. This is our first house, and we want to get some upgrades, however, we don't have an endless budget. Wondering is anyone had thoughts on what to upgrade/What not to upgrade.

This is planning to be our home for at least 5-10 years, so I'm not that interested turning it around quickly.

Our bigger questions right now:
- Upgraded Solid oak doors throughout the house, I love the way they look, but they are quite expensive?
- Open air banister white, with oak wood, or just a solid "wall" in place?
- Granite counters in kitchen?
- Standard cabinets in kitchen look goof, however, upgraded oak ones look nicer?

Again, this is our first house, just wondering if anyone has advice on these, or any other must have upgrades?



03:47AM | 04/09/01
Member Since: 01/28/01
171 lifetime posts
I would go with upgraded insulation and maximum efficiency appliances (furnace, hot water, etc.). Upfront investment (or in mortgage) that saves money every month. Insulation also evens out house temperature for more comfort.

Crown molding looks good and will eventually help sell. One of those things that is easier for someone else to do in an empty house rather than you do in a full house.


10:04AM | 04/09/01
Member Since: 04/05/01
32 lifetime posts
It's always tough to decide what tradeoffs to make when building, but you should try to identify which upgrades can be done later, and which ones should be done now.

The doors could be done later, and you may be able to get some money back from the old ones. The doors that they put in new houses don't cost much, so the upgrades are likely quite expensive, as you say. Even if you don't get anything from the old doors you won't be out of pocket much, and you can save up until you have enough to change them.

I'm assuming you are talking about a half-wall instead of the banister. Again, if you have experience with basic construction or woodworking, this is something you could do yourself, but it might be a bit messy. If it is a half-wall and it isn't a safety concern, maybe it could be left out and you could install the railing when you can afford it.

Granite counters can be quite a bit more than your standard countertops, but can be very beautiful. As well, the kitchen can make or break the sale of a house, so you'd be spending money in the right room for re-sale. However, it might be possible to get rid of the exixting counter and replace it down the road, but you'd be wasting more money than on the doors, most likely.

I'll assume you meant "look good" and not "look goofy" here. Cabinets are a major expense and you should look to put in the ones you like here, because it would cost far too much to get rid of these. Again, it's the kitchen, so it's likely money well spent. My wife and I looked at over 200 houses before we bought the one we did and the biggest turn-off was the kitchen cabinets. This is where I'd likely spend the money now if I had to chose.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that you will have a lot on your hands with a house so you may not have as much free time to do your own upgrades as you would hope. It all depends on your schedule, energy level, and the number of kids that like to 'help' you with your work...

I do agree with the above suggestion about insulation, but I think that crown mouldings can easily be put on in a weekend with little more than a mitre box and saw. The mdf mouldings are the same density as pine, are pre-primed, and a lot less than solid wood mouldings. Best of all, nobody can tell the difference once they are installed and painted.


09:17PM | 04/09/01
Member Since: 01/31/00
76 lifetime posts
I think Mark is giving you some very sound advice. What I have learned from being a home owner is that remodeling kitchens and baths give you the most bang for your buck. I understand that this is a new construction and not a remodel. Kitchen cabinets can run well over $10,000. It is not likely to be an expense you would undertake easily. Look into the cost and ease of doing these updates yourself, then decide what you might want to wait on. You could easily get advice and prices at your local Home Depot or Lowes. Good Luck!


09:24PM | 04/09/01
Member Since: 01/31/00
76 lifetime posts
I forgot to add one regards to the granite counters...Have you thought of granite tiles instead of the one piece granite? It is a little less expensive and I think it looks just as lovely. There are other alternatives to plain, old formica without the expense of going with granite. Have you looked into how you care for granite vs. other alternatives? If you are set on eventually getting granite, look at what the expense would be to replace it a few years down the road...then decide if it is wiser to do now or later.


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