There's no two ways about it - new homes are breathtakingly expensive and it's only natural to cut costs where you can. Even so, there are several paths leading to false economy and pressuring your builder to buy materials and components from "cheaper" sources is among the worst. You may be convinced that you'll save a bundle by buying your cabinets from Home Depot ("they're just as good") but you'd usually be wrong.
It's important to step back from the price tag for a bit and consider what you may lose by insisting the builder abandon his normal suppliers. (I use cabinets as an example only).
- Professional Design Work - Your builder's supplier will prepare extensive drawings and proposed layouts, visit the home, template the actual location of each box and help you visualize the final result in light of the other color and design choices you've made. Design performance of the "big box" suppliers can be spotty, at best.
- Warranty and Repair Work - Your builder is one of just several dozen customers served by the supplier. To keep that customer (and by extension - you) happy, warranty work will be done quickly and correctly. It's also important to realize that subcontractors will usually not warranty the installation of "foreign" parts. So, good luck if you hand the plumber a mixed box of Moen, Koehler and American Standard faucets.
- Delivery and Installation - The builder's supplier will accommodate delivery to reflect actual construction progress. Go to another supplier and if construction falls behind schedule, expect a large truck (and driver!) in driveway asking where you want the 75 boxes of cabinets because he "ain't taking ‘em back".
- Your Cash - Due to their relationship with the builder, most suppliers will wait for a construction draw or even loan closing to get paid. You, on the other hand, will be expected to leave a deposit when ordering and pay "cash on the nail" at delivery. And, by the way, were you really expecting a builder's discount on your purchase?
The old adage of being "penny wise and pound foolish" applies even if we're talking about a whole lot of pennies.