You’ve just made a very big decision. You’ve signed a contract on a new construction home. After months of research, visiting multiple home builders and touring their model homes, you’ve decided on the ideal home design and picked just the right homesite. But it’s not time to sit back and relax quite yet. You now have to make some very important choices that will affect both your enjoyment of your new home and its resale value. You have to decide on the best new home upgrades.

With so many choices offered by most new home builders, choosing options and upgrades for your new home can be overwhelming. The key here is to prioritize and spend your money on the upgrades that add the most value to your home — both for when you live in it and when you’re ready to sell it — and skip the things that are either not worth their price tag or can be done more cheaply on your own later on.

Ultimately, the decision on which new construction upgrades and options are best for you will be made based on your lifestyle, your taste and, of course, your budget. There are some new home upgrades, however, that are universally seen by experts as adding the most value, and it will be wise for any new home buyer to consider them.

Getting Started: Structural vs Non-Structural Upgrades

To begin with, new construction home options and upgrades can be divided into two major categories: structural and non-structural. Your primary focus should be on structural upgrades. As the name implies, these affect the structure of your new home and need to be decided upon at the start of construction. This type of upgrade is also the most costly and messy if you decide on it after your new home is built.

The non-structural upgrades are of more of a cosmetic nature and can often be added later on. If you like DIY projects and your current budget is tight, you may want to save those upgrades till a later time; however, if your budget allows it and you prefer as few hassles as possible, having your home builder add all of your desired upgrades is the way to go. You also want to take into consideration the length of time you plan to stay in your new home.

The Six Key Types of New Construction Upgrades

1. A Kitchen You Love

Today’s open concept floor plans make the kitchen the main focal point of the home. Boasting stunning oversized quartz islands that can accommodate a dozen people, splendid cabinets in an endless variety of materials and finishes and top-of-the-line showcase appliances, today’s typical kitchen is truly the heart of the home.

Experts agree that kitchen is the first place you want to upgrade. If an island does not come standard with your new home, you probably want to choose it as an option. Fewer and fewer people are opting for formal dining rooms these days. The island will eliminate the need for a large dining room table, and its convenient location cannot be beat.

According to Houselogic.com, the official publication of the National Association of REALTORS®, you’ll never regret investing in higher-end kitchen cabinets. Choosing taller kitchen cabinets, preferably extending all the way to the ceiling, will give you extra storage space as well as a streamlined high-end look and eliminate the need to dust the tops of the cabinets. Choosing premium hinges and drawer slides will extend the life of your cabinets, but skip upgraded knobs or pulls. They are easy to replace, and the choices of styles are limitless, so you can truly show off your unique taste in choosing yours.

There are differing opinions on whether you should splurge on upgraded appliances or shop for them later. This decision should probably be driven by your budget, but you do want to make sure that the appliances you choose are energy-efficient.

2. Choosing the Right Lighting

NewHomeSource points out that you can never have too much lighting in your home. Having sufficient lighting in all the right places is essential for your comfort and enjoyment and will add warmth and inviting feel to your home.

While you may choose to select the light fixtures that fit your style after your new home is completed, you want to make sure all the wiring is done during the construction phase to avoid a big expense and even bigger mess afterwards. Consider lighting throughout your home, and pay particular attention to the kitchen and master bath. It’s best to have both overhead lighting and side lighting, such as sconces in your baths.

3. Outfit Your Private Retreat

The master bath is another all-important area of your new home. Do you prefer a splendid walk-in shower with multiple body jets and a bench or a luxurious jetted soaking tub? Perhaps both. You definitely do not want to save this decision for later. Choose the upgrade that will make your daily routine enjoyable. Investing in shower and/or tub tile surrounds with decorative accents and upgraded floor tile will make your master bath looks like a million dollars. If you live in a cold climate, having radiant heating in the bathroom floor will add comfort and luxury on those cold winter days.

You may decide to go with the standard selections of bathroom fixtures and upgrade on your own later on, but it’s important to have all roughed in plumbing done during the construction stage.

4. Keep It Clean

You’ll want to spend more time enjoying your new home and less time cleaning and organizing it. Innovative storage solutions can help. Built-in storage, such as drop-off areas with valets, built-in desks, extended cabinets in the kitchen and master bath will all help keep your house tidy and organized. Many K. Hovnanian communities offer innovative storage and organization options such as our HovHalls and HovHubs.

5. Don’t Forget Your Floors

Choosing to upgrade all flooring in your new construction house can wipe out your entire options budget. Choose the upgrades that will add the most value. You’ll be spending a lot of time in your kitchen and master bath, and those are the areas that prospective buyers will want to see first when you are ready to sell your house. Invest in attractive ceramic tile or wood look laminate plank flooring for your kitchen. Laminate flooring is available in a wide variety of finishes and is both durable and affordable. Choosing a larger size tile for your master bath and/or having it staggered will create an expensive designer look.

You do not necessarily need to upgrade your carpeting, but upgrading the padding will make your carpet feel more cushy and luxurious. In two-story homes, standard stairs are usually carpet over plywood. If you want to make a statement, consider upgrading them to wood. That will give your home a more expensive look and increase its resale value.

6. Your Basement and Garage

You may not immediately think of some of the upgrades that will make your home more enjoyable and valuable. If your home has a basement, invest in making it deeper, so if you decide to finish it, your rooms will have adequate height. And don’t forget to add roughed-in plumbing for a half or full bath. There are so many uses for a nice finished basement — your aging parents could move in or perhaps your adult children. Turn it into a home theater or game room, or perhaps rent it out if you need some extra cash. Even if you do not finish your basement, having it ready to be finished will make it more attractive to prospective buyers.

If your home builder offers an extended garage, go for it. That extra space will make it easier to park your larger vehicles or maybe just store seasonal items. For extra comfort, consider adding heating to your garage if your winters get very cold.

Depending on the price range of your new home and the area you live in, you may have many more new construction options to consider for your home, but this is a good start for anyone looking to make the most of new home upgrades.

K. Hovnanian builds quality new homes all across the country. Visit our new home communities in your state.