When you've selected a builder, chosen a floor plan and have been approved for a mortgage, you'll visit your home builder's Design Center to choose appliances, fixtures, finishes, and fittings for your new home. This is an exciting time because you're selecting things which make your house your home.
You’re also deciding on items which might add additional expense to your home’s final cost to construct.
The most critical factor is to be organized and prepared. Your design center appointment will be limited in time and may be very structured to help you make decisions. Being prepared is crucial ensuring you get exactly what you want in your new home.
What should you do to get ready to go to the Design Center?
The first thing to do is have a vision. Decorators begin with a vision board onto which they affix samples of paints, fabrics or other items to help focus their thinking.
You can do the same, creating a vision board for each room in your house. Collect on each board finish colors (such as paint or siding), trim, and floors or floor coverings for each room.
Many people create physical folders and fill them with images torn from the pages of home design and interior magazines. Folders of clippings may be difficult to organize. And if you want to share your inspirations with other family members, it’s hard to get that folder to Mimi in Miami. These days you have alternative ways to curate ideas for your new home.
Home design and construction social media sites for inspiration
The modern-day digital equivalent of a physical vision board or a folder of design ideas is an idea book on Houzz or a board on Pinterest. The great thing about both of these social media sites is the ability to find inspiring ideas for your home. Both sites have traditional web versions and apps for every mobile device to give you access to your curated content. Using either app or website, you can find, save or share inspiration in the grocery line or from work. Just don’t do this while commuting if you’re driving.
Using Houzz for new home design ideas
If you don’t have an account on Houzz, it’s easy to set one up. You can also tell Houzz what topics you’re interested in so the site can show you content based on your preferences. You can link your Houzz to your other social media accounts and share your inspirations.
After you create an account, you can begin creating idea boards. Houzz provides a number of tips on exactly how you create your idea board and begin saving and noting what you like. Houzz writes, “An "ideabook" is YOUR vision, thoughts, reflection and inspiring home designs that you would like to save and share for your next home project.” Not only can you create your own idea books, you are able to search other’s idea books too. Houzz allows you to search by any keywords you choose and easily add images or products to your idea books.
Using Pinterest for interior design inspiration
Pinterest, the world’s catalog of ideas, is similar to Houzz. It’s very popular as a place to see, save and share design inspiration. It has all the same types of functionality as Houzz.
On Pinterest, there are many very popular, shared boards where anyone may add or pin items. These are frequently great sources of concepts for your new home’s interior fixtures, fittings and finishes. If you see something on a group board you like, you can repin it to your boards just as you can pin things from around the web. You may find that your builder has their design center choices on Pinterest as Mungo Homes does. Builders like Dan Ryan actively curate pins to their boards, displaying looks and ideas from homes in locations where they build.
If you read online home decor and design magazines, you can add a Pinterest “Pin It” tool to your browser. Then when you’re on a page of a website or online magazine and see something you want to pin to your kitchen design board, you just click the “Pin It” tool in your browser, saving it to the board of your choice.
It’s really easy to go overboard on both Houzz and Pinterest, losing focus and meandering through a plethora of ideas...so keep focused on your house and your budget.
Tour your builder’s model homes for ideas and examples
Most new construction builders have model homes open for you to tour. When touring models prior to selecting your floorplan, you were probably focused on the arrangement of rooms and the flow of traffic from one space to another. There is another way to look at a model home: As an idea source!
Builders like to show capabilities, latest building techniques and trends in models. They frequently will use a mix of standard “per plan” options, middle of the road options and premium options. Ask your builder’s sales representative to help you discern which elements of the model homes are “builder grade” or standard per plan or premium. Do this before you get your heart set on that really large island only to discover that it is not according to your floor plan’s standard options.
That’s not to say that you should stick only to per plan options. Your builder wants to build the home of your dreams. So if the builder offers it and you want it, can afford it, then by all means, choose it. Just keep in mind that purple tile may not hold it's value when it comes time to resell your home.
Know your range of options and stick to your budget
Budgets are very important. Your design center appointment is the step before you head into the construction phase of your home. You can “option up” your house, selecting premium finishes and additions to your home or you can go with the “builder grade” appliances, fixtures, finishes and fittings. Depending on your builder’s method of operation, you may find that you simply have to select a package of options and then select from within that package’s choices. You may find that per your floorplan, only certain items will “fit” into your space and pricing model.
Make notes and ask questions
Before you go to your appointment, be aware of the fixtures, finishes, fittings and appliances you’re selecting that day. Make a list of your requirements and set out notes of what you like and don’t like. Many builders staff their design centers with interior designers to consult with you for no additional cost. If you’re using a mobile app for Houzz or Pinterest, you may be able to show your designer exactly what you like so she can help you achieve that look.
If you’re not sure about any aspect of your design center visit, ask your Realtor® or builder’s sales representative or design center representative. For most new construction builders, when you leave your design center appointment, your selections are final — written into your contract — and your home proceeds to construction.
Have confidence in your builder’s design center staff
While there are millions of options, you can be assured that your builder’s staff have guided many others through design center visits. It’s both their desire and job to help you create the home of your dreams.
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