1. Work with a Buyer’s Agent. They can get you a great deal on a new construction house, too. They also know what options will help you sell faster down the road. Ask.
2. Ask the salesperson in the model which features everyone is talking about or selecting for themselves. Sometimes that gives you a hint as to what you will need to choose. If you are the only house in the subdivision that picked the tri-level floorplan, you might have a tough time selling later.
3. Ask about builder’s specials. Pretend you are at a garage sale and channel your inner shameless negotiator. If I sign up to buy house xyz today, will you throw in the upgraded heat and air conditioning package? Be sure to request something good. You never know, in this economy, it’ll probably work.
4. You can add a deck or patio later. You can’t add more square footage, an extra bath or an oversize garage. Good to know.
5. After you exhausted all of the above tips, write a list of all the extras you’d like and add it up. Whittle and negotiate with your spouse until you come to a number slightly above your budget. Take this finalized list to the builder’s representative and play dumb. Tell them you can’t negotiate another item off your list, but are at an impasse. Ask if they would reduce the price of the options to your magic budget number. It’ll work.