So you’ve decided to buy a new home. Congratulations! Next comes the moment you’ve been waiting for–the chance to personalize your new home during your design center visit. Here’s what you need to know so that you can make the most of this important opportunity and ensure that your new home accurately reflects your style and preferences.
What Happens at a New Home Design Center Visit?
A new home design center is the place where all of the design and decor options available from a builder are laid out for buyers to explore. Your new home design center appointment is your opportunity to view and select your options for the design of your new home, including flooring, cabinets, countertops, paint colors, bathroom fixtures, window treatments, appliances, and more.
A professional design consultant will be there to guide you through the entire design center appointment. They will begin by finding out about your personal preferences and will then help you find design collections to suit your style. Once you make your selections, they will calculate pricing, you will be asked to finalize all of your choices and, that’s it–you’ve personalized your new home!
What Is a Design Collection?
A design collection is a pre-set package that bring together colors, designs, and materials to create a specific look and style for a new home. These collections are sold as packages at the design center and are offered at a range of price points to suit varying budgets.
Choosing a design collection package is the best choice for most buyers as it saves them time and money and ensures they can easily achieve a consistent and attractive style throughout their new home. Some buyers have very specific preferences and choose to pick individual items from different packages instead. While this may be a good option for some, it does require extra time at the design center and usually works out to be more expensive.
How Many Times Will I Need to Visit the Design Center?
Typically you will need to visit the design center twice after purchasing your new home. The first visit is the one in which you will explore all the design options available and make your selections. This usually takes about three hours. A few days later, the design consultant will send you a price quote for all of your selected options. You will then need to schedule a second visit for about an hour to finalize all the details.
For homes with higher price points, builders may offer an additional design center visit to give buyers enough time to make all of their selections. Buyers who want additional design center appointments that are not included in their contract are typically charged between $200 and $300 per hour, so it’s best if you can get everything done within your allotted timeframe. Preparing for your design center visit is the best way to make the most of the limited time you have.
How Can I Prepare for My Design Center Visit?
1. Understand What’s Included in Your New Home
Understanding what comes standard in your new home will help you to prioritize what you want to upgrade and how much you want to spend. Before your design center visit, look at the builder’s website and tour the builder’s model homes. Take notice of the flooring, cabinetry, countertops, paint colors, and other features that are important to you. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, simply ask your agent or the builder’s representative to help you. You may realize that you like some of the builder’s standard features and you either don’t need to upgrade them or you can upgrade them yourself at a later date.
2. Create a Budget
When you visit the design center, chances are that you’re going to fall in love with everything. The best way to ensure that you don’t overspend is to look at the numbers beforehand so that you have an exact dollar amount in mind for what you can afford. In our experience, we see new homebuyers spend an average of 10% of their purchase price on upgrades. The more budget-conscious buyers typically spend 0-5%, while those buyers who have very specific design preferences tend to spend closer to 15%.
As tempting as it may be to wrap up all of your upgrades with the construction of your new home, it’s not necessary. You can always add or change design features in your home at a later date. Often, doing it yourself or finding a contractor to complete additional work after move-in can cost you a lot less.
Making a list of essential and non-essential items can help you prioritize upgrades so that you can stick to your budget. Our agents recommend prioritizing those features that are inconvenient and expensive to change after move-in. This may include:
- Structural changes, such as adding or expanding a room
- Major additions, such as an underground sprinkler system or a fireplace
- Upgrades to major design features like flooring, cabinetry, and countertops
Changing the lighting, installing smart thermostats, or adding sensor faucets are examples of upgrades that can easily and affordably be completed after move-in as a DIY project or with the help of a contractor.
4. Know Your Design Style and Preferences
At the design center, you will find a seemingly endless variety of color and design options to choose from. If you go into the appointment without a clear idea of what you like, you’re likely to become overwhelmed and confused by all of the choices you have.
There are many ways you can explore color collections and design styles to get a clear vision of what you would like your new home to look like, such as touring model homes, visiting home decor stores, and exploring Pinterest. Be sure to take photos, obtain samples, and save any colors or designs you like to a mood board so that you can show them to your design consultant at your appointment. This also saves time by giving them a clear idea of what you’re looking for so they can recommend design collections to match your preferences.
Your new home design center visit is an exciting opportunity to personalize your new home to suit your style. Given the endless options and the number of decisions you need to make in a limited timeframe, a design center visit can also be a stressful experience. Being prepared is the best way to reduce the stress involved and make your visit a success.
After you sign the contract for your new home purchase, there are several steps you need to take to complete the homebuying process, and the design center visit is one of them. With extensive experience in new construction home sales, your NewHomesMate agent can provide all the advice and guidance you need throughout the homebuying and after-sale process. So be sure to keep in touch! You may also want to check our new home design center checklist to help you prepare for your visit.