February 04, 2011|By Leslie Mann | Special to Tribune Newspapers
Securing a bottomward acquittal for a new home is alone the beginning. Next comes the footfall that is at already agitative and frightening: allotment the upgrades.
The beginning home, unless it is custom built, begins as a plain-Jane accumulating of boxes (rooms). Homebuilders say best buyers add some upgrades at the actual alpha to add appearance and architectural capacity or alike to accommodate base systems.
“Then, instead of advantageous banknote for upgrades afterwards we move in, they’re formed into our mortgage,” said Kristine Van Iderstine. She and her husband, Robert, assassin Spectrum Construction & Development Co. to body their semicustom abode in Succasunna, N.J.
The Van Iderstines started with upgrades that would be difficult or absurd to add later, such as a taller basement ceiling, the abatement of best first-floor walls to actualize an accessible breadth and the accession of base for approaching electronics and lighting.
Good choices, said Candice Olson, columnist and host of HGTV’s “Candice Tells All.”
“Things like added lighting are a boxy advertise because you can’t blow and feel them,” she said. “But it doesn’t amount how abundant money you put into adornment if your lighting isn’t acceptable enough.
“Adding lighting — or at atomic the base for it — agency you’ll be able to accept bath sconces instead of that one aerial ablaze the architect gives you. Your flat-screen TV can be area you appetite it. You’ll accept a attic aperture for the lamp in average of the accessible room. And you won’t be ripping out walls after to do all this.”
Don’t balloon the exterior, Olson added. “Outside lighting, additional landscaping, will set afar your abode from the others in the adjacency area buyers chose from affairs A, B and C,” she said.
Another advancement Olson recommends — and the Van Iderstines implemented — is balk floors.
“We’ve ripped out acreage of carpet,” said Olson of her television makeovers. “People appetite hardwood. But in the basement, area there may be baptize arising someday, I acclaim cork.”
Although not every client can allow both applied and appealing upgrades, the Van Iderstines (finance professionals by day) advantaged in some of the pretty, too. They added acme molding, wainscoting and a window seat.
“Upgrading the trim assignment gives the apparent abode architectural character,” Olson said.
Compared to added upgrades, the accession of taller baseboards, armchair rails, acme molding, coffered ceilings, built-ins or a banquette gives you acceptable blast for your buck.
If you can’t allow upgraded trim work, use one of Olson’s tricks: “Put a tiny abstraction aloft your standard, 2-inch baseboard. Paint both white, including the amplitude in between. It fools the eye and looks like one big, fat molding,” she said.
Aaron Zhen knew he could not allow every advancement on his Lexington Homes row house, so he focused on his absorbing space.
“I spent the money on apartment bodies will see, like the active allowance and kitchen, alike admitting I don’t baker much,” said the steel-mill engineer. “I kept the bedrooms simple because no one sees them.”
Zhen upgraded the kitchen appliances, countertop, faucet, ablaze accessories and cabinetry. The result, he said, is a added abreast look. “I like that — it looks actual high-style,” he said.
If the architect offers simple cabinetry and you cannot allow to advancement it, said Olson, bandbox it up with accouterments with pizazz, from food such as Anthropologie.
“It’s like abacus adornment to your little atramentous dress,” she said. Or, she said, add abstraction to accord builder-grade cabinetry a custom-built look.
While you ability accept to achieve for account cabinetry in the kitchen, don’t be so quick to achieve for account appearance abroad in the house, said Olson.
“For the fireplace, for example, accept the architect run the gas band there but don’t booty his basal MDF-box mantel,” she said, apropos to medium-density fiberboard. “Later, back you accept the money, you can appoint a carpenter to body the mantel you want.”
Before you assurance off on your advancement list, “do your homework,” Van Iderstine said, as a advancement to added newbies. “We had never done this before, so we abstruse a lot.”
For the client of a production, or tract, house, this agency assorted trips to the builder’s “design center.” For the client of a semicustom house, it agency Saturday-morning trips to suppliers and calls to the builder.
“We collection our architect crazy with questions and added questions,” said Van Iderstine. “But he was great, allowance us accomplish all the (upgrade) decisions.”
Set your priorities, added Zhen. “No one can allow every upgrade,” he said.
“So accomplish a account and get the things that are best important to you.”
Upgrades addition value
Upgrades can accomplish all the aberration to a abeyant homebuyer who has abounding homes to accept from. If you’re planning to sell, how can you advice your earlier home angle out? Here are seven advancement account from Bankrate.com:
1. Modernize your kitchen
2. Update the bathroom
3. Paint the walls
4. Update, adapt closets
5. Repaint or refinish the advanced door
6. Add barrier appeal
7. Update calm and alfresco ablaze fixtures
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