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Colors and Choices

As you begin the exciting process of making selections for your new home, consider the needs and preferences of your household—including work, school, hobbies, entertaining and holidays. What lifestyle changes do you expect over the next 5 to 10 years? Have fun compiling notes and collecting ideas for each area of the home. As you finalize your choices, find the right balance of aesthetics, function, and maintenance for your household. While your builder’s specific procedures may vary from this information, in general you should find the following guidelines helpful.


Every home buyer has a budget, even someone building a million dollar home. Use your budget as a guide to prioritize the details on your wish list. The cost of your home is determined when your selections are complete. Statistics show most home buyers spend 10 to 15 percent more than they originally intended. By setting priorities at the start, you can build the home you want and enjoy peace of mind on movein day; a mortgage payment you can live with is an important feature.

Custom Changes

Many builders today will consider changes you might want to make in your floor plan, especially if they are nonstructural—that is they do no affect the load-bearing portions of the home. Be prepared to describe the result you want to achieve to your builder. Alternative methods for achieving the same effect may be available at less cost.

In order to deliver your home as close as possible to the targeted date, your builder orders many items well in advance of installation. Once a particular item is ordered, changes may involve an adjustment in the delivery date of your home and additional costs. Work within the changeorder boundaries set by your builder to avoid this situation.

Remember that your new neighbors have the same opportunity and may request features you did not consider. The possibilities are nearly infinite and builders make no claim to have mentioned or offered every possible idea.

Many companies today use computeraided design (CAD). The CAD operator can usually make changes to plans more quickly than a draftsperson working manually. However changes are made, existing plans that you might modify are considered to be intellectual property and as such are often copyrighted. Unless you purchase rights to them, the design company retains control of them and only the design company can change them.

Selection Forms

Your builder will provide you with selection sheets that list the choices you need to make for your floor plan. Plan to finalize your selections within the time frame provided by the builder. Prompt completion of these selections helps prevent delays caused by back orders. Take note of these reminders as you go through the process

  • Make informed decisions. Learn about the materials and items you are considering. Understand the maintenance you will provide and the limited warranty commitment your builder makes on each choice you make.
  • Be thorough. Complete all blanks on your selection forms. Costly errors can occur because of assumptions and incomplete information.
  • Selections that exceed allowances—such as those for floor coverings, countertops, or light fixtures—will require cash payment upon finalizing your choice.
  • View color samples in both natural and artificial light to get an accurate
  • Variation between samples and actual material installed can result from variation in dye lots. Also, over time, sunlight and other environmental factors affect the samples.
  • Driving through the area to view existing homes is one way to spot exterior color combinations that appeal to you. Selections often look different on a fullsize home.
  • Because no two buyers have the same taste, many builders reserve the right to place a hold on your selections until your loan has been approved and contingencies are released.
  • If any of your selections have been discontinued, the builder will contact you and ask you to make an alternate selection as soon as possible.
  • Occasionally a home is already under construction and your builder has made some of the choices for the home.
  • Double check all model, style and color numbers.
  • Make sure you put each selection into writing. Both you and the builder should retain copies of the signed selection forms. You may find them useful for matching colors and materials in your home in future years.

Standard Features and Options

  • Standard Features Be certain you understand which items are included in the base price of your home. Builder models almost always showcase some optional and upgrade items. Be clear on what comes with your floor plan and which items offer you additional choices at additional cost.
  • Options The lists of optional items builders offer evolve as buyers repeatedly ask for specific items. The builder maintains current pricing of these items for everyone’s convenience. Options are items added to the home such as an air cleaner, a deck, or a three car instead of a two car garage.


Your taste of lifestyle may make it appropriate to upgrade some items for your new home. Upgrades are common in carpet, countertops, or bath fixtures. Like options, upgrades offer you the opportunity to personalize a floor plan. You are spending your money on the items of greatest importance to you.