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New home builder upgrades + bonus question

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  • Jan 13th, 2021 1:21 pm
[OP]
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May 22, 2005
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New home builder upgrades + bonus question

Hello everyone!

I've enjoyed reading some of the previous RFD threads that have come up whilst googling, but was hoping to get some recent experience and insight into some builder upgrades we're contemplating for a place in Oakville, Ontario.

We've purchased a few pre-construction homes before, but every builder has a different set of feature inclusions, and we haven't come across needing to pay for these items before. I am aware most builder upgrade pricing are huge ripoffs, but in some cases, you're paying for convenience and/or builder warranty. We've opted for a few of these painful options already. Is it worthwhile to let the builder do these, or can this be done neatly post-closing for less?


* Capped ceiling electrical boxes with separate switches, scattered throughout the home @ $440 each

* Separate electrical circuit (not tapping an existing outlet) for a microwave shelf @ $522

* Home comes standard with 40" kitchen cabinetry with a 3ft gap from the top of the cabinet to the ceiling. They are suggesting a coffered ceiling (~125sqft) @ $2800, 48" cabinets @ $4000, and moulding to attach it all to the coffered ceiling for $2100: Total of ~$8880. Was thinking of just ponying up for the 48" cabinets and maybe doing the rest later.

* Standard baseboard trim is some hideous 2.5-3" left over from the 90's. One step up to a nicer/modern baseboard trim is $2300 (whole house), but it's $3800 if we want the slightly nicer baseboards and non 90's window trim.

* Natural gas connection for stove/oven @ $1900. Thinking about opting for just the 220v and getting this done after, but am not sure if this can be done, or done cheaper post-closing.

* 8" vent for hood range @ $700. Painful considering the little incremental cost to the builder to do this, but all of our previous homes came with 8", this one comes standard with 6". Wife cooks a lot, so I always change the hood range out to a higher-cfm unit than the builder-grade stuff.


Oh, bonus question: Anyone here own/owned a Fernbrook SevenOaks home are willing to share some experiences?
Last edited by Jayhoo on Jul 5th, 2020 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
46 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 17, 2007
2623 posts
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Alliston, ON
8" vent you can also do after fairly easily, so I'd pass at that price.
The baseboard at $3800 I'd consider getting it done. If they are installing a style you like or have a choice and are using Poplar and not mdf. I'm in the process of changing all my trim and casing in my house and after paint, I'd be just slightly better than that price DIYing it.
The natural gas connection for a stove you can probably have done for $4-500 so it's definitely a rip off.
For the cabinets, I don't see much use in 48" tall cabinets other than filling the space. You can never reach anything at the upper shelves at that height without a step ladder so it's kind of wasted space
[OP]
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May 22, 2005
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I sort of agree, but the 48" cabinets are sort of for aesthetics. Imagine a 40" cabinet floating in the middle of an 11ft tall wall
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Mar 28, 2011
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i dont know about the rest but the 8" vent is easy to do after from installers of your hood range.
also $1900 for a gas line is a rip as i did it for ~$500 from this guy called George (no affiliation, just sharing who i used off homestars which is not always 100% great but is a starting point to contact trades)

http://www.gasguys.ca/

he taps off the main branch (my stove is above my furtherance) with CSST, then uses black iron pipe thorough the flooring, then CSST back to the stove
This allows you to pull out the stove for maintenance/cleaning without the CSST rubbing against the kitchen flooring/basement ceiling

if you want black iron pipe the whole way from basement up to the kitchen floor, you can pay extra but I didn't think it was needed since he did a clean job lining it up in the basement
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
22286 posts
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Eastern Ontario
Of your list ...
The only absolute for me would be the 48” cabinets.
Sure they are “way up there”
But they’’ll bring better balance to a kitchen with high ceilings (11 feet = wow )
And plus ...
There’s no such thing as too much storage
At 48” you are already way beyond my 30” cabinets in my 1970s 8’ ceiling house
And ohhh how I wish we had more space / storage in the kitchen

You can make it work
Get a step stool
And store your least used items on the upper shelves
[OP]
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May 22, 2005
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Good tips, thanks! Keep 'em coming!
[OP]
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May 22, 2005
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To note, I'm pretty dismayed with the builder's inability to give concrete answers for just about everything.

The electricals are an absolute mess, so this is probably one of the bigger sticking points - If we get one capped switch above our island, is an electrician able to put in another box or two tied to the original box to hang multiple pendants?
Jr. Member
Apr 25, 2017
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If you're planning on getting potlights after closing then I'll recommend getting some empty switches from the builder. They usually charge less than $100 per switch. Will make it easier for the electrician to put in the potlights after (also try to get at least one light fixture in every room/area which typically comes standard).

I think doing the gas line connections and increasing the vent size is pretty easy after I think. I'll consider doing the microwave shelf w/ outlet from the builder. Will ensure that you don't have to muck around with the cabinets later.
[OP]
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May 22, 2005
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I do plan on getting flatlights after closing, but this builder charges $220 for the rough-in electrical box, then another $220 to put it on its own switch.
Sr. Member
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Jul 18, 2012
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I am a Fernbrook 7 Oaks owner :)

Welcome to the neighborhood. I assume you are part of the Phase 3.

Feel free to DM me and I’ll be happy to help.

For the questions above - don’t do electrical through FB - they charge an arm and a leg. The cost to put in potlights and separate routed chandelier was about $80-$90 dollars. We used Mr Potlight, and he did a reasonable job at a reasonable rate. But if your basement is unfinished, a good electrician can do pretty much anything you need.

Just know - big, big caveat here is that the electrician contractor for FB (Campoli Electric) will void your warranty outright. Didn’t matter much for us, but this is something for you to consider

Also, DO THE 8” for the vent. Absolutely. Spend the money and get this done. And yes this is a money grab. But very hard to get this done post. And this is something you need for stronger CFM fans. We did this as well.

Gas connection - do it after. While we had an appliance package with our purchase, we didn’t get the gas line to our backyard - as that was ridiculously priced. We paid 1/3 of the price, and again if your basement is not done this is easily done after.

The uppers in the kitchen. Man we had the SAME conundrum, and ultimately we just did the whole thing through FB. We paid a bomb for this - but in the end we got a nicely done kitchen at the end of the house. And Aya does a good job on these things.

Baseboards - that’s completely your pref. Again, we as standard got 3”, so didn’t really think of spending money on this. I’d imagine if you are planing on doing crown moulding you might want to just have FB delete these outright, and then do baseboards, crowns and wainscotting after the fact. That way you save some money on removing these baseboards by the contractor.

Once again, congrats on your purchase. It’s an awesome area. Close enough to Go, but far enough to not hear those trains. So, so close to the countryside up north. There are many amenities and grocery chains around. But if you like, there are so many farmer markets and farms close by to get direct from source. We love it, and I am sure you will too!
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Apr 18, 2005
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I'll throw one more item in here .. which is something I will absolutely do if I buy a new build.. 10ft basement. Now I know may not be doable with FB as their cookie cutter but I saw it once in a model home at another competing builder and it was a 60K option.

I know this can easily be 60K-100K more depending on size. But this is the only item that cannot be done after.. and if you ever think of having a nicely finished basement after... the low height with all the bulkheads really makes it hard.

On a more palatable pricetag .. are you getting a 200amp panel.. if not ask for it as it should not be that pricy.
[OP]
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May 22, 2005
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Thanks @robbiemurray! I've just sent you a PM.

Trying to strike a good balance between being smart with money, but also not trying to sweat too many of the "almost-market-price" upgrades.

Fernbrook really gouges harder than any other builder we've worked with till now and offers really poor standard finishes for homes of this price.
[OP]
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May 22, 2005
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TLSRULZ wrote: I'll throw one more item in here .. which is something I will absolutely do if I buy a new build.. 10ft basement. Now I know may not be doable with FB as their cookie cutter but I saw it once in a model home at another competing builder and it was a 60K option.

I know this can easily be 60K-100K more depending on size. But this is the only item that cannot be done after.. and if you ever think of having a nicely finished basement after... the low height with all the bulkheads really makes it hard.

On a more palatable pricetag .. are you getting a 200amp panel.. if not ask for it as it should not be that pricy.
Cheers for the tips :) The basement comes with 9ft minimum (which is pretty good as a standard), and we paid (out the eyes) for 11ft first floor and 10ft second floor. Thankfully, one of the few decent standards is the 200amp panel :)
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Apr 18, 2005
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Jayhoo wrote: Cheers for the tips :) The basement comes with 9ft minimum (which is pretty good as a standard), and we paid (out the eyes) for 11ft first floor and 10ft second floor. Thankfully, one of the few decent standards is the 200amp panel :)
Then your golden... altho wow 11ft main floor .. wow.. that's why you gotta a ante up now for the bigger cabinets :)...
[OP]
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May 22, 2005
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Haha Yeah, thats the eternal debate. We scratched and clawed to get the house, now to see what needs to be done so that we're not the sole poorly-finished "ghetto" house when it comes time to resell down the road
[OP]
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May 22, 2005
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Gee wrote: Ask for a conduit pipe from the attic to the basement.
I've always wondered about this. As mentioned, we've owned several pre-construction homes, but have never opted for this.

Despite that, we've had exterior potlights, security cameras, and network cables (though admittedly the last item was done via builders) - am I missing out on a function a conduit would provide?
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Dec 17, 2007
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Alliston, ON
Jayhoo wrote: I've always wondered about this. As mentioned, we've owned several pre-construction homes, but have never opted for this.

Despite that, we've had exterior potlights, security cameras, and network cables (though admittedly the last item was done via builders) - am I missing out on a function a conduit would provide?
Solar panels is why my builder did it. They ran 2 conduits from the electrical panel in basement to attic. Future Ethernet cable runs,
[OP]
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May 22, 2005
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Hmm... I might ask, but its probably going to be something stupid like "$1800"
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Aug 29, 2011
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$1900 for a gas line to the stove? Are these guys on crack?!

I agree there are certain things that make sense to get done during the construction stage. But man, at those prices I'd be holding my nose while signing the change orders.

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