Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Word about Upgrades

Like I mentioned before RH was being very generous with the incentive money to entice buyers from the beginning. It is our understanding that since this is the region's first true master-planned community and is garnering a lot of public attention, the developer wanted to get this project started as quickly as possible (the faster they build the houses, the sooner they can break ground on the much anticipated "town center"). Compared to many other RH communities, Potomac Shores already included many standard selections such as a front porch, hardwood floors, and distinctive "Tidewater architecture" (both internally and externally). As their promotional incentive they were also  giving $40,000 to be used in whatever way we saw fit - upgrades, closing costs, or to even buy down our interest rate. On top of that they also included a finished basement.  We had already decided that we would not pay extra for a finished basement because we knew we could get it finished for less on our own and we did not need that space for the time being. So our sales manger offered to give the cost of that back to be used on other upgrades that we knew we wanted more. In the end we decided to use $21K to pay for all the closing costs and buy down the rate one point. The rest was used on upgraded options.

A good rule of thumb when trying to stay on budget with upgrades is to always select the things that cannot be changed after you close or would be harder / more intrusive to change. So I thought I would take the time to start from the top and list what came standard, what we chose to upgrade, and what our selections were (and I'll include some pictures along the way).
Architectural and Structural Options:
John Smith Model Elevation A (upgrade) with brick to grade on all 4 sides (this is standard for the front but since our lot is a high visibility lot they gave us the other 3 sides) in the Iron Gray color scheme and castle rock as the brick color - K was fine with just the standard "C" elevation but M really liked the "A" frame that came with that elevation and since there is no possible way to change this later we figured we needed to go ahead and spend the money now!
Here is a picture of what our color scheme will be - WE LOVE THIS LOOK! 

Castlerock brick


John Smith "Elevation A"

Since we plan to finish the basement on our own we decided to get the three piece plumbing "rough in" but did not get the wet bar rough in. Our Project Manager (PM) confirmed that we will be able to tap into a line from the bathroom plumbing for the wet bar later on when we are ready to complete the basement and he said he can give us names of subcontractors that have done this kind of work for other houses in the community.

We also got the double patio door for our walkout basement. This will bring ample natural light into the basement and it would provide a separate entrance if we ever decide to use it as an "in law suite" (or we may even rent it out). Update - You can not add a basement kitchen in Prince William County unless it is zoned as a multifamily unit.

Other upgrade options we "opted in" for include:
  • Fireplace
  • Soaking tub in master bath (K loves her baths!)
  • Turned the sitting area of the master bedroom into a 4th bedroom.
Structural Options we could have gotten but decided NOT to:
  • Deck
  • Extension in Grand Room
  • Bay Windows
  • Upper level balcony
  • Third full bath in the guest bedroom
  • Laundry room upgrade

In our next post we will share pictures of our flooring and kitchen selections. Stay tuned!


  1. Great looking house! I like seeing the different models in other areas of the country. Best of luck with the build!

  2. I LOVE the color of your house. We really wished our area offered darker colors like your blue/grey or even a dark mountain green. No luck. Best of luck!

    1. Thanks Sterling. I believe they also have a dark green option but I haven't seen any of the houses go with yet. If they do I will make sure to take pictures!

  3. Hello! We just started this process with an Elizabeth today. We couldn't get the color options you chose because our neighbors have already selected them. We are definitely considering a dark green option as an alternative.

    1. That's great! Congrats! Are you going to be part of the Cove neighborhood?

    2. We are going to be in the Pointe, hopefully we will move in late summer/early fall. So exciting!