When buying a new home, you have the opportunity to pick home upgrades based on your budget, as well as your lifestyle. There are the typical home upgrades for a new home because the walls are open and the finishing touches like appliances and flooring haven't been installed. You can include home upgrades that will make your home more energy efficient, like extra insulation, geothermal heating and radiant flooring. These green home features are more affordable in new homes because there's no demolition of existing walls or floors to add the required duct work or sub-flooring.
When upgrading an existing home, these same home upgrades often mean an expensive and time-consuming remodel which can be challenging right after you've moved. By picking a new home and working with a builder from the beginning, you can add all the home upgrades you want – siding and windows, cabinets and counter tops, flooring, light fixtures and more. Depending on your budget, you can pick the upgrades most important to your family, and the builder will incorporate them into your home during construction.
Home Upgrades for Energy Savings
There are many home features that may add cost to the price of your home. You'll want to pick the home upgrades that will benefit you most while you live there, with some consideration to the return you'll get when it comes time to sell the house. As the cost of energy continues to rise, there are many websites to help you research home features that will reduce your monthly utility bills. A favorite is this EnergyStar site, which explains the home upgrades that can earn a new home Energy Star certification.
Insulation, a Hidden Home Upgrade
When considering upgrades, think about the variety you can choose from. One upgrade that is hidden from the eyes of a buyer is insulation . Using your state and local building codes is a great beginning, but you may decide to insulate at a higher R-value than recommended for your exterior walls, or you may decide you want additional insulation in the ceiling of your basement or the floor of your walk-up attic, in an effort to reduce your heating and cooling bills.
Flooring Home Upgrades That Save Energy?
While hardwood floors are warm and tile flooring is easy to care for, they're not always the most energy efficient. There can be a loss of heat or cooling in the summer through these types of floors. An energy efficient option for upgrading the floors in your new house is radiant floor heat. There are many new radiant flooring products on the market today, ones that don't require running tubes in concrete to circulate hot water or electrical heating elements. These new products integrate the heating elements into the sub-floor like this warmboard floor installation.
Solar tile flooring is another flooring option where the flooring is has solar cells that absorb the sun’s energy. The tile stores the energy and releases it as heat which reduces the amount of energy needed to keep your house warm. We've always used tile to upgrade our homes and now there's another benefit, especially in locations where you have lots of sunny days and windows to let the sunlight into your home.
Natural Lighting Upgrades to Save Money
There's been so much written about double and triple windows that we'll skip these home upgrades that today, have become standard in new homes.
There are other ways to upgrade your new home and save energy. Daylighting is a new term that means designing homes to maximize the amount of natural sun (day) light that enters your home, to reduce our dependence on lighting that uses electricity. Window placement and size is based on capturing sunlight, with skylights and large energy efficient windows placed to incorporate maximum natural light. Lighting is now a key component in designing homes.
Home Upgrades Always Include Appliances
Upgrading appliances to meet your lifestyle may be expensive up front, but cost effective in the long run. From washing machines and dryers to dishwashers and refrigerators, there are many choices and considerations. Builder will give you a budget for what they've budgeted and it's fairly common for home buyers to pick upgraded appliances that exceed this budget.
It's important to focus on the total cost of the appliances, which includes initial cost, monthly energy costs and how soon you'll need to replace your appliances as more expensive ones often last longer. With a little time spent researching your options, you can find the best products (finding Energy Star products) for your new home and don't forget to check for rebate programs too.