Got milk? Navigating standard vs upgrade build options.

February 9, 2018

Choosing what you will build your house out of involves making one thousand, five hundred and thirty-four decisions. Precisely.


Don't believe me? Mwahahaha where do I start. Actually, I know exactly where to start- The wondrous world of "standard" vs "upgrade" fixtures and fittings.


To demonstrate this world, imagine going to the supermarket. You walk in with your list, thinking you'll be out of there and on your merry way within 20 minutes. You scoff at all those people who take hours at the supermarket because they aren't prepared, they DON'T have a list. Then, as if out of no-where, a dilemma strikes- Are you going to pick the home-brand honey or the Manuka honey which is fancy, tastes better and is more impressive to your discerning honey-loving pals. Then, once you're exasperated after honey-gate, you move to the fridge (and are confronted by your quintessential milk-lady confusing the situation even further...)





Okay, so now I've set the scene, substitute honey for garage doors and milk for front-door knobs.


Depending on the building company, there can be a chasm of difference between what is the "standard" and the many "upgrade" options. Builders will provide very limited "standard" options in order to encourage you to upgrade. The perfect example of this was brick options. There were 4 standard/disgusting options (think fire-engine red, back-to-the-60s cream...) and about 25 alternative upgrade options, prices varying from $1000 to $8000 extra.


Need to knows:

  • The 'base price' of a house is the quote a building company gives you assumes you will use all standard fittings and fixtures.

  • The display home is FILLED with upgrades to entice you. Those houses have very few "standard" options.

  • Make a list and budget prior to your tender & colours appointments of the must-haves, wants and nice-to-haves in your house (ie. if you must have an undermount sink, or a colorbond roof then set a moolah limit of how much extra you're willing to spend on those things)

  • Every builder is completely different. Our builder have stone bench tops as standard however most builders will have laminate as standard and stone as an upgrade.

  • When visiting display homes, ask for the builders list of standard inclusions (some builders also have a list of upgrade options available).

So what did we do? Luckily, our builder was running a promotion where we pay $6000 and get $20,000 worth of upgrades which were concrete driveway, evaporative air-conditioning, higher ceilings, higher doors and an upgraded slab (which was required for where we're building anyway).


Is that where the upgrades started and finished? HELL NOOOO. Haha I wish. Here are some of the things we kept as the standard option, and what we upgraded:



  • Bath

  • Front door

  • Internal door handles

  • Toilet

  • Light switches

  • Appliances (dishwasher, oven, range hood)

  • Internal paint


  • Concrete driveway upgraded to aggregate driveway

  • Colorbond steel roof

  • Type of bricks

  • Front-door knob

  • Kitchen sink (the standard option would have held a total of 2 dishes)

  • Internal doors (made them solid wood rather than hollow)

  • Alfresco door (made it larger and higher)

  • Stone bench top colour was not in category 1 (standard) so had to pay extra for the colour we wanted.

  • Wooden floor option was not in in category 1 (standard) so had to pay extra for the style we wanted.

  • Bathroom tiles.

  • Shower heads.

This is just a snapshot of what we paid more for and it most definitely didn't come cheaply. Fact of the matter is, upgrades in the build process are sometimes necessary in order to create the house you want. Have an idea of how much extra you're willing to spend so you don't get bill shock when the time comes to sign off on the end price.



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