When you build a home from scratch, either in a large neighborhood setting or with a custom home builder, you will typically receive a list of optional items that you can add to your home's floor plan. The list may include things like a 'drop zone' near your laundry room for backpacks and shoes, wood flooring options, and kitchen countertop upgrades.
While this list may seem exhaustive, it's not. In fact, there are some secret upgrades your home builder would be willing to do if you know what to ask for.
Your builder will automatically include the correct R-value insulation for your part of the country. What they won't mention, however, is that you can ask them to insulate the interior walls as well. While this won't keep your house any warmer, it will muffle sounds from adjoining rooms. If you want formal soundproofing, it can be expensive, but adding regular batt insulation to your interior walls is an inexpensive hack.
Every municipality has different rules regarding basements and egress windows. Even if yours doesn't require an egress window prior to finishing off the space, request one because the law could change later. Installing an egress window is a simple and inexpensive project early in construction. However, if you wait until you've already built the home, you will have to excavate the area around the foundation and cut through an existing masonry wall to install the egress window, which will be incredibly expensive.
Like the egress window, request to pre-plumb your basement for a bathroom, even if you currently have no intention of ever adding a lower-level bath. It is easy to have the rough plumbing crew now add a few extra drains. However, if you wait, you will have to pay another plumber to jackhammer your cement floor to install those same drains.
Furthermore, the simple addition of the roughed-in basement plumbing means you can count it as an extra bath when you sell your home. While this may not add directly to your bottom line, it will give you a leg up on your competition and help you sell faster.
Most secondary bedrooms do not have light fixtures in the ceiling. You have to specifically request that they be added to your lighting plan. It may not seem important, but having an overhead light is helpful. A bedside lamp does not fully illuminate a room.
Additionally, if you think you may want to add ceiling fans at a later date, ask for ceiling fan brackets as part of your electrical package. A regular lighting bracket cannot support the weight and movement of a ceiling fan.
Now that you know about some of the secret upgrades your home builder would do if you just asked, it's time to get proactive. Request these items on your next build and enjoy their benefits for years to come.