What is standard, optional or a green upgrade when buying a new home?
Before entering into a new home purchase transaction, you need to ask the builder to define what features are standard, what the standard options are, and what upgrades are available, especially green upgrades. Answers can be confusing and sometimes vague. This is the time to pull out a notebook and write everything down, repeat what you have recorded back to the builder, and get confirmation of the facts.
Let’s start with the standard features. When a builder quotes a price for a home, it might only include basic features. This is why they refer to it as the base price. You need to ask to see the list of features that are included in the base price. Then you need to physically look, touch and feel them to make sure that they are going to be acceptable to you, while making a note of those that are not.
Next, you need to ask to see the list of upgrades that are available together with samples for you to view. This is usually made possible via the builder’s design center where all upgrades should be on display.
This is also the time to ask to see a list of all the energy and water saving features that are included or available as upgrades or simply alternative options to standard features. I have a 35 Point Checklist Of Green Features When Buying a Green Home, which is free to you and can be ordered here. You can also see most of the green features that are listed for our green home models here. Making smart green choices can not only help you to live greener, but can also result in cost savings. Follow this link for more information about how to make smart, holistic decisions about green home features.
This is also the time to watch out for greenwashing, which are features that might be presented as green, but which are actually not green at all. Asking about the green certifications that have been achieved by the home well further help to clarify the home’s green features. Most green features are also graded, and it is important to confirm the grade that has been achieved and to see the list of required green features. More information here about green home certifications.
All green homes should have been energy rated. Ask to see the result and the Home Energy Rating Score (HERS).
The next thing to check on is what amenities and services are included in the price of a home. They can include security, gated entrance, health and fitness centers, hiking trails, golf courses, entertainment facilities, cable and internet services and the like.
This is the time that you need to pay attention, because every upgrade or amenity that you select will increase your final purchase price or monthly fee in some way. You do not need future surprises, so ask questions and take notes.
Also, be aware that upgrades are often a big profit center for builders and that their pricing might not always be favorable for you. There is nothing preventing you from bidding the upgrades out and getting the work done after closing. In fact, doing this for some green upgrades could not only work out less expensive for you but could also qualify you for a substantial tax credit. One such example is the 30% tax credit which your accountant will confirm is being offered when purchasing solar upgrades for existing homes.
Builder upgrades can also work as deal closer for you if you are unable to negotiate a lower price for the home.
A full range of upgrades can be seen in our green home models. If you would like us to direct you to our nearest model where you will be able to see, touch and feel these features, please request more information and we will respond to assist you.
Our services are always FREE to Buyers, and we contribute $500 towards closing costs if you buy through us, as well as $250 toward our Switch to Green, Switch it Forward Fund, to help fight poverty and climate change.
Let us show you how we can be Your Green Dream Team to help you to Live in a High Performance Green Home, that will Save You Money and help you to Pay Your Mortgage Off Years Earlier, while at the same time, live in a home that is Healthier, More Comfortable, Safer and Kinder To The Earth.
Thank you for visiting. Please leave a comment below and then check out the rest of our BLOG. We look forward to making Green Home living your reality.
Marius J Smook – Licensed Real Estate Eco-Broker, LEED AP for HOMES, Home Energy Rater.