I confess. As a former educator, I’ve always tried to instil in my students the importance of being prepared. It’s in my nature, and I believe in it too. In this case, my advice applies to homebuyers as they are getting ready to pick the finishes for their new home or condo. Time and effort invested prior to the appointment will be rewarded with a satisfying end result — their beautiful, personalized place to call home.
Many builders have Decor Centres that are open for browsing in advance of your appointment. Check to see if this is an option for you. If it is, take advantage of this opportunity. Have a cappuccino while you walk around and admire the glamorous displays. Touch and feel the products. Ask questions. After all, trained staff is there especially for you. This is a great way to see all of the available options without the pressure of having to make any immediate decisions. Take your time and enjoy the experience. You may even want to visit more than once.
While all of those design ideas are simmering in your mind, you should also be thinking about appliances.
They may already be included, or you may be buying new. In any case, you are likely to have some options. Do you prefer to cook with gas or electric? Do you like the look of built-in appliances in the kitchen? Are there special electrical requirements or concerns about size? How about a space-saving front-loading laundry duo? Will you choose a fridge with an ice-maker? In other words, there is information pertaining to appliances that the builder will need to be aware of in order to accommodate your choices. Always bring the manufacturer’s specifications (available on their website) to your appointment and ask the Decor staff to include them with your paperwork.
Imagine buying a fancy side-by side fridge with all the latest gadgets that does not fit into the standard opening!
If anything, be early. Waiting until the last possible minute to schedule your appointment may result in disappointment. What happens if you want potlights after drywall has been installed? Or a jetted tub, where a plain tub has already been put in? Construction moves forward according to fairly sophisticated schedules.
Often, it seems like construction is moving slowly or perhaps it hasn’t even started. What you might not be aware of, though, is the amount of preparation that goes on.
Invest the time and effort into choosing the right finishes for your new home prior to the actual laying of bricks and pouring of concrete. For example, builders need to apply for permits months in advance of construction. Trades need time to order specialty products and materials. Production time for a gourmet kitchen with lots of accessories may be lengthy. Find out what the timelines are for completing your selections.
Lastly, make sure you are aware of payment options should you decide to purchase upgrades. Many builders will allow you to add the cost of upgrades to the balance of your purchase price on completion (that’s a complicated way of saying that you can add it to your mortgage). However, if you are planning to do this you need approval from your lender. You may have a specified limit — find out what it is before you commit to all the bells and whistles. The builder will either want a deposit, or payment in full at the time of your appointment. Do they accept credit cards? Cheques? Can large amounts be staggered? Ask!
We’ve all been guilty at some time or another of cramming for hours the night before an exam, or starting that big project the day before the deadline. But really, does that approach make sense when you’re making one of the biggest investments of your life? Save yourself the stress — you’ll receive top marks for a job well done.
Sue Ferrigamo is Manager
of The Design Studio