Sunday, June 3, 2012

Partner, Let Me Upgrade You...

I love Beyonce! I know that I am way past the age of loving celebrities, but there is something about Beyonce and Jay-Z that I adore. I guess it's because they are a true power couple; they epitomize what good partnership looks like, or what their marketing team wants us to believe (smile). But to me they're smart, professional, talented, and they have swag!

I know you're wondering what Beyonce and Jay-Z have to do with building a Savoy?   Everything in my opinion because B and J collaborated on a song, called "Upgrade U".  Typically when one thinks of building a house,  it is assumed that the builder will lure you in with a base price that is too good to be true. And when you're finally interested in the house you find out your gut was right; the standard features in the house isn't much of anything, and you need to spend a ton of money on upgrades to get the house of your dreams. 

When we started our home search, we were aware of which upgrades would be necessary and those we could do later. We realized that creating the house of our dreams probably would not happen in our first joint real estate purchase. But we still wanted a home that would reflect our needs and accommodate our family. Thankfully our realtor reminded us that the upgrades we choose should be structural rather than cosmetic.  The good news is Ryan Homes really does not mark up cosmetic upgrades, I find their prices from granite and the like to be very competitive. However, the bad news is I think  they're top heavy with structural upgrades. These "structural" upgrades, such as  a morning room seem to me to be more standard than an upgrade. Many models in my opinion seem not complete without a morning room.   I also think the cost of elevations are a bit too much as well. But I know this is how they make their money--what can one do about it?

Below is a list of the upgrades we chose for our home, items we plan to upgrade later, and those that are standard in our community. I think we did a good job of staying in our budget. I have to remind myself that we will be living in this house for many years to come. So, just as Rome was not built in a day, neither will our Savoy.  And for your viewing pleasure, enjoy my girl Beyonce and her honey J sing…Upgrade!

Catch you cats later…

Here's a list of standards for our community:
  • Hard wood floors in foyer, kitchen and powder room
  • Finished basement (actually current incentive)
  • 42 inch cabinets with crown molding
  • 9 foot ceilings on first floor
  • Ceramic tile in bathrooms
  • Pine Oak  staircase with white balusters
  • Upgraded nickel faucets in bathroom and kitchen
  • Upgraded stainless steel sink
  • Black gas range and dishwasher
  • Recessed lighting in hallway (upstairs and downstairs)
  • Garage door wiring
Here's a list of upgrades we chose:
  • Brick Front, Elevation B
  • Luxury Master bathroom
  • Slate fireplace in family room with blower and remote.
  • Oak hardwood steps
  • We used our finished basement incentive credit for a morning room. 
  • Extended the hardwood from the Kitchen to the morning room
  • Wyoming Cherry Bordeaux Kitchen Cabinets and bathroom cabinets
  • Kitchen Island (see below, we will have two islands in the kitchen, but the upgraded island really extends the counter space). 
  • 3 piece rough-in; basement
  • Gas hook-up
  • Garbage disposal
  • Recessed lighting (four in kitchen and the family room)
  • 1 ceiling fan hook ups  (in master bedroom)
  • 2 TV outlets for hanging flat screens (family room and master bedroom)
  • Upgraded padding in the family room.
Here's a list of standard items that we plan to change later:
  • Butter rum laminate kitchen counter tops; will change to granite or quartz. Although granite is fairly priced, the choices are limited in colors. Also, I may be recanting myself here, but with a little research I think what you're paying in Level 1 granite you could get Level 2 or 3 for the same price. Hence, we decided to wait and not just for the cost but because we wanted to take our time with developing our color palate, etc. 
  • Standard carpet and pad in study, dining, and all 4 bedrooms. Will upgrade later because we feel we can get a better price on our own. 
  • Unfinished basement; want to put our own stamp on developing the space. This includes setting up an exercise room, etc. 
  • Standard white cultured marble bathroom counter tops to granite or quartz counter tops.
  • Adding french doors to study and off of the morning room
  • Add garage door opener
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Painting the entire house (after the one year/drywall inspection)
  • Switch out standard chandeliers in dining room and two story foyer.
  • Switch our all bathroom light fixtures
  • Add under counter lighting
  • Add a glass door to small cabinet above microwave (this is standard in most homes but not in the Savoy). 
Since we were the first sale, and through our negotiations with  are SR we were able to get the following thrown at no extra cost:
  • Gourmet Island in the kitchen
  • Brick around garage
  • Upgraded staircase


  1. Nice choices and options that you got thrown in there because of the community standards!

  2. Great choice..loved it..
    Even we are building a Savoy model .. We are still in the press election stage. I was wondering if the gourmet island in savoy is worth it..? For now I just have selected the regular kitchen with center island but we also have a morning room...I have no clue how the kitchen will turn out as the model near our community has the gourmet u have any thoughts on that??


  3. I am so happy I found your blog. I was undecided on if we should go standard and upgrade later. Most of the things you chose to upgrade later are the things that I too have on my list. I'm building a Palermo.