Builder Upgrades! The Ones You SHOULD and SHOULDN’T Do!

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Builder Upgrades! The Ones You SHOULD and SHOULDN’T Do!

Southern California  has a ton of new home builds going on right now and I feel it is important to talk about the Builder Upgrades the ones you should and shouldn’t do. I have seen first hand where builder upgrades were purchased and the minute the buyer closed on the home, they were underwater in regards to an appraised value. This blog and video will help you not make those same mistakes.

My name is Joel, I am broker at Greenleaf real estate in Temecula, California. My wife Christie, is a licensed certified appraiser. We make a great team and without a doubt, having a veteran appraiser in the office helps our buyers and sellers out tremendously. At the end of this blog post I will add a local home search for Southern California. You can customize it how you want and information is updated daily.

Builder Upgrades, The Ones You Should NOT Do


The markup for nice flooring is usually going to be pretty steep. The Builder might also limit you to what kind of flooring they have available or have access to. My suggestion? Get the most inexpensive flooring possible from the Builder and shop around after you close for the perfect floor that fits your home. Wait for a deal or sale from the many flooring stores around Southern California.

Kitchen Counters

Granite or quartz  is pretty much going to be standard now for most home builds. Make sure you plan ahead and pick colors that will eventually match flooring cabinets and paint.

Patio Cover

 In my experience this is a big No-No. Many times the Builder will add a stucco/cement patio but the price tag will be steep. Anywhere from 15,000 to $25,000. A great alternative is Alumawood patios which are very nice and will set you back anywhere from $2,500- $3,500 at the most, if you shop around. I actually like the Alumawood patios more than the stucco or concrete ones. You can customize the Alumawood patios in regards to  lights, fans Etc. 

Crown Molding

This is something you can price but make sure to call around before having the Builder install this. In my experience, the builders going to be more expensive for something that’s pretty simple and readily available. 

Blinds or Shutters

If the Builder is going to charge you for blinds or shutters definitely hold off on these. There are many opportunities on places like Facebook Marketplace to have shutters installed for around 11 to $12 a square foot. Much better than the cheap blinds the builders going to put in. 

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One of the best things you can do for appliances is go on Facebook Marketplace. We have  always had success and not too many problems with buying appliances second hand. One of the benefits? That $2,500 range is now $800  for pretty much the same thing without the warranty.  verify what appliances are being put in the home and verify what the Builder is charging you for these.


This is a tough one, personally I would do the upgraded cabinets with  40 inch cabinets that go directly to the ceiling. It might be a little cheaper to do it after the fact but the hassle just isn’t  worth it. Just have the Builder do it  while you’re designing the kitchen. 

Carpet Pad

The pad is what is going to make your carpet more comfortable. Definitely ask the Builder what the cost will be to upgrade the thickness of the carpet pad.  similar to the kitchen cabinets, unless the Builder has an outrageous price this might be better to do during the build phase and not have to worry about it after.

Builder Upgrades You SHOULD Do

There are definitely some things that you should upgrade during the build phase of your home. Here are  a few things you should have the Builder add.


Maybe not the actual lights but wiring for multiple lights in all rooms is something that I would spend the extra money on. Why? It’s a lot easier to run  extra wire when all the walls are open . 


Similar to lighting, it’s  obviously much easier to add upgraded insulation during the build. if you’re in a climate with extreme cold or Extreme  hot look into upgrading the installation during the build of your home.

Speakers or Sound System

We are having a common theme Here,  upgrade things when the walls are open. In regards to speakers and sound, many people want music for entertaining throughout the house. Have speaker wires ran during the build so you’re not opening up drywall after the fact. This will make your life much easier and you will have music for every occasion.

Larger Garage

This is obviously something that the Builder is going to do and something I would definitely price out. If you have an option to have a three car garage for a minimal cost I would take this option in a minute. Many buyers need storage space. We all seem to  how to or three cars now. We have Christmas, Easter, Halloween items to store. We have shelving with tools. These are just a few items that many of us keep in the garage and adding a third car garage would definitely make your home more desirable

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