Real Estate

Upgrades through builder vs after closing

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[OP]
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Sep 21, 2008
460 posts
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YYZ/YUL

Upgrades through builder vs after closing

For those that bought new builds, did you choose to do certain upgrades through the builder or wait until you got the keys?

I paid to have the master bathroom tiles upgraded (doing this after would be a pain in the back), and have an extra switch and electrical box put into a couple rooms, as well as adding a gas and water line in the kitchen.

The base finishes for the kitchen and washrooms is a hot pile of shit, but I figured I can upgrade all of that afterwards.

Curious what others have done?
8 replies
Member
Mar 7, 2011
375 posts
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Toronto
I wish I did it back when we bought but I was stupid... we had a chance to elevate the basement from 8ft to 9ft. don't remember the price. But anything structural, I would definitely go back and do it if I were to do it again.
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Dec 4, 2009
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Anything structural, enlarging windows, taller doors and maybe tiling. Pretty much everything else is doable afterward for less money.
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Lucky
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Nov 2, 2008
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Depends on what, I upgraded shit I didn't want to do.
Unfortunately in my home they used non-standard sizing on cabinetry - so I upgraded that via the builder.
I got granite in my kitchen, so I upgraded that one level, as it was a mere 1k, but for MUCH nicer stone, and not an extra 4.5k for quartz (I have a guy for this...)
Kept generic counters in all washrooms, as I can get granite for cheap for those!
I upgraded my hardwood floors one level, since they sell "maple color" as base - YUCK. This isn't 1991...

I kept most basic stuff "generic", and it looked good enough. You need to do a cost/benefit (time) with what they're offer vs. "their" cost.
In my case, I upgraded all my doors, at 20$/ piece to a smooth style, because - you cannot buy a smooth door for 20$
I got lucky with tile, they didn't stagger it for me as requested, but I paid for nicer tile in shower/tub surrounds instead; upgrading to much nicer tile cost me 600$ to redo all my washrooms. A lot of the base tile was nice, and I kept that for my main floors.

I did the AC myself, Garage door opener myself and a vanity myself (+plumbing) in a powder room from a pedestal sink.

My one regret was the granite sink - now pricing them out, they're like 450-600$, where the builder would've charged me 700$ installed...

At the end of the day, I played with the numbers vs effort involved.
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May 27, 2007
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Anything structural (ceiling height / walls / plumbing / electrical) you should do with the builder.

Major items to consider upgrading: flooring (especially tiles), cabinets, smooth ceiling, extra plugs/switches/light (not talking potlights, but additional fixtures or 3-way switches throughout the home).

You will pay more, but you wont have to deal with any mess and it will be original.
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Jun 18, 2020
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Obi Wan wrote: For those that bought new builds, did you choose to do certain upgrades through the builder or wait until you got the keys?

I paid to have the master bathroom tiles upgraded (doing this after would be a pain in the back), and have an extra switch and electrical box put into a couple rooms, as well as adding a gas and water line in the kitchen.

The base finishes for the kitchen and washrooms is a hot pile of shit, but I figured I can upgrade all of that afterwards.

Curious what others have done?
Few threads recently on this if you search. Check out warrenty implications. If you do it after, you're on your own.
Member
Apr 7, 2012
412 posts
265 upvotes
Brampton
basement height, extra/bigger windows down there plus any other structural stuff, get done with builder.

tiles i agree with

gas line/water line could have been done very cheap after wards if the basement is unfinished.

i would have upgraded the cabinets from builder, hopefully you researched how much the cabinets you want will cost afterwards vs upgrading the base cabinets from builder. Because as-is the base cabinets already cost you a pretty penny as part of purchase price, it might have ended up cheaper to pay for the upgrades from builder vs doing another kitchen from scratch.

countertops/backsplashes afterwards.

but all this being said, cant say one way or another without knowing how much you builder was charging for upgrades vs market price of the things you want, sometimes the few extra dollars from builder is worth it for less headache, warranty purposes, enjoyment from day 1.
[OP]
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Sep 21, 2008
460 posts
19 upvotes
YYZ/YUL
navyblue wrote: basement height, extra/bigger windows down there plus any other structural stuff, get done with builder.

tiles i agree with

gas line/water line could have been done very cheap after wards if the basement is unfinished.

i would have upgraded the cabinets from builder, hopefully you researched how much the cabinets you want will cost afterwards vs upgrading the base cabinets from builder. Because as-is the base cabinets already cost you a pretty penny as part of purchase price, it might have ended up cheaper to pay for the upgrades from builder vs doing another kitchen from scratch.

countertops/backsplashes afterwards.

but all this being said, cant say one way or another without knowing how much you builder was charging for upgrades vs market price of the things you want, sometimes the few extra dollars from builder is worth it for less headache, warranty purposes, enjoyment from day 1.
The structure is already built so structural changes are out.

I upgraded the master bathroom shower and tub tiles to something nicer. The standard floor tiles aren't bad for the washroom. The shower tiles for the secondary and basement washroom suck but I also can't justify $2000+ for something I'll barely use.

I was hesitant about the gas and water line, but the basement is already finished so it'll be a headache to do afterwards. And at $650 for the gas line and $400 for the water line, it's not a HUGE ripoff like some of the other stuff.

I was thinking about upgrading the cabinets from the builder, problem is it would have been a couple thousand just to change the cabinet doors and handles. Then another couple thousand to extend the kitchen and island, then the added countertop costs. Probably close to $10k from the builder to get what I want (the base kitchen is small and the materials are shit). The cabinets and doors will cost me approx $6k from Ikea to get what I want, and we're willing to wait a couple years for their supply issues to settle down. We'd also be a le to do a much better countertop for less (builders standard is shitty granite, they want an extra $3-4k just to upgrade to base quartz, then more on top of that for a modern design).

I elected for no backsplash as I can do something better myself.
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Jan 22, 2003
4771 posts
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Austin/Markham
AcidBomber wrote: Anything structural (ceiling height / walls / plumbing / electrical) you should do with the builder.

Major items to consider upgrading: flooring (especially tiles), cabinets, smooth ceiling, extra plugs/switches/light (not talking potlights, but additional fixtures or 3-way switches throughout the home).

You will pay more, but you wont have to deal with any mess and it will be original.
+1, anything structural or electrical or putting cata5/6 wiring around interior/exterior house do with builder. EVERYTHING else do afterwards. The quality is soooooo much better and much cheaper from HD or Lowes or other vendors than builders. Even with labour the cost at worst case will be same as builder but you get so much better quality and often better warranty than the 1-2 yrs through builder.

Tiles, cabinets, etc. is also so much better after market than through builder. I'd ask builder to carpet as much as possible so it can be done more easily aftermarket to rip stuff out. I was sad doing upgrades to cabinets and counters and floors because the quality was still worse than the stuff I had done aftermarket. Best is to spend time finding a quality carpenter to fix everything up. Swapping faucets and light fixtures is so easy now because being up to code requires everything to have standard interfaces.
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