When purchasing a new home take into consideration following things before you decide to purchase the home:
My number one advise for a client is to preview some resale and/or under construction homes. Create a wish list of the home style or upgrades they like. Think about short term & long term living in the home. What works with your life style. Discuss with your Realtor.
Second and most important advise, make a trip to design center. Even before you write a contract or purchase that home. May builders have their own showrooms where lights shines on all the top of the line upgrades similar to one has seen on HGTV or Pottery Barn magazine. Schedule an appointment on how much estimated upgrades will cost you if you know a model you like.
Now you have created a wish list and know the options you like, sit down with the builder & Realtor. Depending on the time you are going to live in the home you can decide what is important to you.
Start with Structural options, they are most expensive options but it is even more expensive to get it done later plus you have to go through the permits & out of your pocket expense. For example a Solarium on a single family home cost average anywhere from $17000 to $25000 option it increase both your basement and upper level square feet on the home. Items like Deck or patio can be done lot more cheaper after you move in rather than purchasing from a builder.
Cosmetic upgrades: Every home owner wants to feel the pride of living in the most gorgeous home in the neighborhood.
Over upgrading can penalize the buyer. To avoid running into that situations ask the builder rep to walk you thru some under construction homes. Even if you they have a model home I ask the sales person to walk thru under construction home to get a feeling of the home. My own example is I bought a new construction and upgraded the carpets, raising two kids over the decade carpet has gone through a lot of sickness and play dough time. I have now replaced the carpets to hardwood but when purchasing the sales person told me it will last for 20 + years...wish I had a Realtor who would had asked me not to upgraded and wasted $10K on that carpet upgrade in the home. I could have used for the other options I had given up at that time.
Work with a Realtor:
Small details like this make very important to have a Realtor represent you during the new construction.
Another example : If you are working with an experience new construction Realtor, they will recommend you to include in your initial pricing of home a future forecast options for your cosmetic upgrades. So when you go to the candy store (builder's showroom) you know how much money you have to spend on your upgrades. Similar to your debit card if you run out you can sit down and revisit you choices.
If you are in the market to buy or sell you home in Northern Virginia team up with Ritu and Samson Properties