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When you buy a new-construction home, as I did a decade ago, you’re often tempted to spring for upgrades from the get-go. After all, why have your home completed only to rip things out or tear things apart a year or two later? It was that logic that drove me to make a few rash decisions during the construction process — decisions I later bemoaned.
1. Paying for an oversized soaking tub
My home features a fairly large master bathroom, so when I saw that my builder was planning to include a standard tub, I immediately requested an upgrade. I’d seen other homes in our search with beautiful, luxurious, oversized soaking tubs and decided that I needed to have one as well — even though it would add a good $1,000 to our out-of-pocket costs.
My husband, nice person that he is, graciously agreed to let me have my large tub. But he also pointed out that I’d maybe taken a bath three times in the three years we lived in our old house. But I insisted, and we paid for that tub. And now, about 10 years later, I can say that I’ve probably used it a dozen times total.
On the one hand, having that tub could add resale value to our home, so perhaps getting it installed wasn’t such a huge mistake. On the other hand, I paid for that upgrade so I could enjoy it. In reality, I should’ve spent my money on something I could’ve gotten more use out of.
2. Upgrading to expensive bathroom and kitchen faucets
When you buy new construction, you generally get what’s known as builder-grade fixtures (read: bottom of the barrel). When our builder showed us the faucets he intended to install in our kitchen and bathrooms, I was appalled and immediately ran out to different hardware stores to find fixtures that were more attractive. I also wanted a kitchen sink faucet with enhanced features, like different spray options, that would make doing the dishes a bit more pleasant.
Long story short, I spent well over $1,500 upgrading my home’s faucets. Years later, I can easily acknowledge that it was a big waste of money. See, I didn’t just go one step up from builder-grade; in some cases, I went top-of-the-line, thinking they’d make my main floor and guest bathrooms more attractive. Not only have I never received compliments on my faucets (because why would people even notice them?), but over time, they started to rust as a result of our somewhat hard water. Oh, and that fancy kitchen faucet? Yeah, it broke after a year or two. Go figure.