Building a new home is an adventure filled with excitement/setbacks and possibilities. It's your chance to craft a space that not only meets your current needs but also anticipates your future ones. Among the decisions that come with this process, choosing the right home builder and builder upgrades is important. These choices are not just about enhancing the visual appeal of your new construction home; they're about adding real value, ensuring energy efficiency, and maximizing comfort and functionality.

When you're building a new home, the potential for creating a unique and sustainable living space is immense. From the heart of the home in the kitchen with its quartz countertops or natural stone, kitchen backsplash and waterfall gabled kitchen islands, to the tranquility of a well-appointed master bathroom, every detail counts. But it's not just about the immediate impact. Upgrades like hardwood floors, ceiling height adjustments, and energy-efficient appliances contribute to the long-term value of your home, making it a wise investment for the future.

This article aims to guide you through the best builder upgrades, focusing on those that offer the most bang for your buck. Whether you're considering structural enhancements to your floor plan, looking to incorporate advanced technology with smart home automation, or aiming for high energy efficiency with solar panels and battery storage, we've got you covered. We'll explore why these upgrades matter, how they can save you time and money in the long run, and why they're worth considering during the building process.

Let's dive into the types of new home construction upgrades, where every choice you make brings you one step closer to a functional, healthy and liveable new home. Whether it's the allure of a custom home tailored to your personal preferences or the practical benefits of additional cost-saving features, we'll ensure you have the information you need to make informed decisions.

Review Criteria for Upgrades

When starting the journey of building a new home, understanding how to evaluate potential upgrades/structural options & upgrade pricing is an important first step. These changes can significantly impact the comfort, functionality, and future resale value of your home and potentially save you a lot of money in the future. Here are the key criteria we recommend considering as you decide on the best upgrades for your new build:

  1. Cost-Effectiveness: It's essential to assess the cost versus the benefit of each upgrade. Some options, like upgrading to 25Mpa concrete from the builder standard 20Mpa, offer improved durability for a minimal additional cost, making them a smart financial decision in the long run.
  2. Long-Term Value: Consider how the upgrade will affect your home's value over time. Features like solar panels and battery storage not only reduce energy bills but also can increase your home's appeal to potential buyers, boosting its resale value.
  3. Aesthetic Appeal: Upgrades that enhance the visual appeal of your home, such as quartz countertops, kitchen islands, and high-quality kitchen cabinets, can transform it into a more inviting and desirable space.
  4. Energy Efficiency: With the growing emphasis on sustainability, choosing upgrades that improve energy efficiency is a wise choice. High-performance windows, LED strip lighting, and energy-efficient appliances can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and energy costs.
  5. Comfort and Luxury: Upgrades that add a touch of luxury and improve comfort, like radiant floor heating, bidet toilets, and tankless water heaters, can make your home a more enjoyable place to live.

Evaluating potential upgrades against these criteria will help you make informed decisions that align with your priorities, whether that's improving the building process, enhancing the heart of the home, or ensuring your new house becomes a comfortable, energy-efficient space for you and your family.

Essential Builder Upgrades

Structural Upgrades

When building your dream home, starting with a strong foundation and thoughtful structural choices is paramount. These decisions not only impact the overall durability and safety of your home but can also affect its layout and functionality for years to come. Here are some key structural upgrades to consider:

  • Enhanced Concrete Strength: Opting for a minimum of 25Mpa concrete over the builder's standard 20Mpa can provide your home with a sturdier foundation. This small adjustment ensures greater resilience against soil movements, offering peace of mind and long-term savings on potential repairs. This is a low-cost and easy way to resist seasonal moisture movements as well as improve the performance of tile floors.
  • Wider Hallways and Doorways: Accommodating the needs of an aging population or those with mobility challenges, wider hallways and doorways (or a double door) are thoughtful upgrades that enhance accessibility. These modifications facilitate easier movement throughout the home and are a great way to make it amore comfortable living space for everyone, regardless of age or ability.
  • No-step Entries and Wet Area Considerations: Removing step-downs to wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens eliminates potential trip hazards, and is one of the easiest and best way to make your home safer for all inhabitants. Additionally, incorporating plywood sheeting and additional blocking in wet area walls during construction prepares your home for easy installation of grab rails in the future, further accommodating accessibility needs.
  • Roof and Storage Enhancements: Modifying roof trusses to strengthen the bottom chord and create additional storage space within the roof cavity can be a game-changer. Accessible via a drop-down ladder, this space provides an out-of-the-way area to store seasonal items or extra belongings, maximizing the use of every square footage in your home.

These structural upgrades not only improve the immediate functionality and safety of your home but also contribute to its long-term value and adaptability. By considering these enhancements early in the building process, you can ensure that your new house not only meets current standards but is also prepared for the future.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Upgrades

In today's world, building an energy-efficient home is not just a luxury; it's a necessity. With the right upgrades, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying lower energy bills. Here are some of the best investments in energy efficiency and sustainability for your new home:

  • Solar Panels and Battery Storage: Taking advantage of Australia's abundant sunshine, solar panels can drastically cut your energy bills. Pairing these with battery storage allows you to maximize the use of solar energy, ensuring power availability day and night, and moving towards energy independence.
  • High-Performance Windows: Upgrading to new windows with higher WERS (Window Energy Rating Scheme) ratings can have a profound impact on your home's thermal efficiency. High-performance windows reduce the need for heating and cooling, lower energy consumption, and provide better comfort levels year-round.
  • LED Strip Lighting: Replacing traditional lighting options with LED strip lighting can dramatically reduce your home's energy usage. LEDs offer a longer lifespan and lower energy consumption, making them a smart choice for both indoor and outdoor lighting.
  • Water Conservation Systems: Implementing systems like inground or above-ground rainwater tanks can greatly reduce your dependence on mains water, especially useful during droughts or water restrictions. Connecting these systems to your WCs and basins can save a significant amount of water.
  • Energy-Efficient Appliances: Investing in energy-efficient appliances is crucial for reducing electricity usage. Look for products with high energy star ratings to ensure they consume less power without sacrificing performance.
  • Insulation Upgrades: Proper insulation is key to maintaining temperature control within your home. Options like rockwool, soundscreen batts, and anticon under tin roofs can significantly reduce heat transfer, keeping your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

These upgrades not only contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle but also enhance the overall comfort and livability of your home. By prioritizing energy efficiency, you're investing in a future where your home remains a haven of comfort regardless of the external environment.

Luxury and Comfort Upgrades

Creating a home that transcends basic functionality to offer a sanctuary of luxury and comfort is a dream for many. Here are some upgrades that can turn that dream into reality, making your home not only a place to live but a place to thrive:

  • Radiant Floor Heating: For those cooler months, radiant floor heating provides an even, comfortable heat distribution throughout your home. This system eliminates the need for bulky radiators, freeing up wall space and maintaining a sleek aesthetic.
  • Bidet Toilets: Embracing both luxury and sustainability, bidet toilets reduce the need for toilet paper, ensuring you're prepared for any situation. Their hygienic benefits and comfort features, such as heated seats, add a touch of opulence to your daily routine.
  • High-Quality Kitchen Upgrades: The kitchen, often considered the heart of the home, deserves special attention. Upgrading to quartz countertops, installing a spacious kitchen island, and choosing premium kitchen cabinets can transform your kitchen into a culinary oasis. Including under-cabinet lighting adds both functionality and ambiance, making meal preparation a pleasure.
  • Epoxy Flake Floor Coating for the Garage: Enhance your garage with an epoxy flake floor coating to keep dust down and simplify cleaning. This durable and attractive flooring option reflects light better than standard concrete floors, brightening the space and making it more welcoming.
  • Garage Door Seals and Insulation: Adding seals to your garage door can prevent dust and air movement, while insulating the door itself slows down heat transfer. These upgrades are particularly beneficial for homes with attached garages, helping to maintain a more consistent temperature and cleanliness in both the garage and adjacent living areas.
  • Advanced Bathroom Features: Elevate your bathroom experience with luxurious touches such as high-end fixtures in the master and primary bathrooms. Options like oversized showers, dual vanities, and deep soaking tubs can turn your bathroom into a spa-like retreat.

Incorporating these luxury and comfort upgrades into your new home build not only enhances your daily living experience but also increases the overall appeal and value of your property. Each selection, from the practicality of bidet toilets to the elegance of a well-appointed kitchen, contributes to making your home a true sanctuary.

Smart Home and Security Upgrades

In an era where technology plays a central role in our daily lives, integrating smart home and security features during the construction phase can provide unparalleled convenience and peace of mind. Here are key upgrades to consider for a safer, more connected home:

  • Comprehensive Smart Home System: Centralizing control of your home's lighting, heating, cooling, and security systems through a smart home automation system can streamline daily tasks and improve energy efficiency. Features like voice-controlled light fixtures and programmable thermostats adapt to your lifestyle, offering both comfort and convenience.
  • Solar Panels and Battery Storage: Harnessing solar energy not only reduces your environmental footprint but also ensures that your home remains powered during outages. Incorporating solar panels and battery storage from the outset can lead to significant energy savings and increased independence from the grid.
  • Network Cabling for Robust Wi-Fi: Ensuring strong Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home by installing network cabling and strategically placed wireless access points eliminates dead spots, providing seamless internet access in every room. This is essential for both work-from-home setups and modern entertainment systems. Systems like plug and play Ubiquiti UDM Pro and their mesh wireless access points makes the entire process of installing your own network a simple DIY job. In the past this was a specialist job but Ubiquiti make the process so easy we can all do it oursleves saving time and money. Just make sure to pre-wire and note the locations of your cables, pull them through after reflected ceilings and linings are installed. Test wires for continuity before setting up your new network.
  • Pre-Wiring for Security Cameras: Installing CAT5 cabling during construction allows for easy addition of security cameras around your property. This foresight can deter potential intruders and provide valuable footage in the event of a security breach.
  • Flood Light with Movement Sensor: Adding a floodlight with a movement sensor to the front elevation of your home can alert you to unexpected movements at night, enhancing your home's security.
  • Smart Locks and Garage Door Openers: Upgrading to smart locks and garage door openers offers both security and convenience, allowing you to control access to your home remotely and receive alerts on your smartphone.

By prioritizing these smart home and security upgrades, you not only enhance the functionality of your new home but also invest in your family's safety and well-being. The integration of these technologies into your building plan positions your home at the forefront of modern living, ensuring it meets the demands of today's fast-paced world.

Outdoor and Maintenance Efficiency Upgrades

Creating a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living spaces and ensuring easy maintenance can significantly enhance the enjoyment and longevity of your home. Here are some upgrades to consider that cater to the Australian love for the outdoors and simplify upkeep:

  • Inground or Above Ground Rainwater Tanks: With Australia's variable climate, installing rainwater tanks is a smart move. Whether inground or above ground, these systems can collect rainwater for use in gardens, toilets, and laundry, reducing your water bill and reliance on mains water, especially during drought conditions.
  • Durable Exterior Materials and Paints: Choosing high-quality exterior materials and paints can reduce the need for frequent maintenance. Consider materials that withstand Australia's harsh sun and storms, saving time and money in the long run.
  • Efficient Irrigation Systems: Automated irrigation systems ensure your garden stays lush without the constant need for manual watering. This upgrade is especially beneficial for busy homeowners who value a beautiful outdoor space but have limited time for gardening.
  • Outdoor Kitchen and Entertainment Areas: Expanding your living space to include an outdoor kitchen and entertainment area can transform your backyard into a functional extension of your home, perfect for hosting gatherings or enjoying quiet family dinners in the open air.
  • Additional External Taps and Weatherproof Power Points: Strategically placing extra taps and weatherproof power points (extra outlets) around your home's exterior walls can make outdoor maintenance tasks much easier, from watering plants to powering outdoor lighting.
  • Energy-Efficient Outdoor Lighting: Installing LED lighting in outdoor areas not only enhances the beauty and functionality of these spaces but also contributes to overall energy efficiency. Consider adding motion sensors to increase security while conserving energy.
  • Robust Fencing and Gate Systems: Quality fencing and secure gate systems not only define your property's boundaries but also ensure privacy and safety for your family and pets.

Incorporating these outdoor and maintenance efficiency upgrades can significantly enhance your home's functionality and appeal, making it a haven for relaxation and entertainment. By thoughtfully designing your outdoor spaces and choosing materials and systems that reduce upkeep, you create a home that's both beautiful and practical.

Accessible Design Features

Designing a home with accessibility in mind not only caters to the immediate needs of individuals with mobility challenges but also anticipates the future needs of the aging population. Here are crucial upgrades to consider for making your home accessible and comfortable for everyone:

  • Wider Hallways and Doorways: Expanding hallways and doorways beyond standard sizes makes your home more navigable for everyone, including those using wheelchairs or walkers. This upgrade fosters an inclusive environment, ensuring mobility throughout the house is unimpeded.
  • No-step Entries and Wet Area Access: Integrating no-step entries into your home design eliminates potential trip hazards, making it safer for individuals of all ages and abilities. Similarly, removing step-downs to wet areas like bathrooms and laundry rooms enhances accessibility and safety.
  • Plywood Sheeting and Additional Blocking in Walls: Preparing walls in wet areas with plywood sheeting and additional blocking supports the future installation of grab rails. This foresight allows for easy modifications to accommodate mobility needs without extensive renovations.
  • Accessible Bathroom Features: Incorporating features such as walk-in showers with flat entry, adjustable showerheads, and seated shower options can significantly improve bathroom usability. Consider adding higher toilets and under-sink clearance to accommodate wheelchairs, enhancing comfort and independence.
  • Reinforced Flooring for Future Adaptations: Designing floors to support the addition of mobility aids or equipment in the future ensures your home can adapt to changing needs without major alterations. This includes considerations for the structural load and stability of flooring systems.
  • Accessible Kitchen Design: Creating a kitchen that can be used comfortably by people of all abilities involves adjustable countertops, accessible appliances, and storage solutions within reach. This approach ensures the heart of the home is welcoming and usable for everyone.

Incorporating these accessible design features from the outset not only demonstrates foresight and empathy but also increases the long-term value of your home. As the population ages, homes that cater to a broad spectrum of needs will become increasingly sought after, making these upgrades not only a moral decision but a smart investment.

Maximizing Your Investment

Building a new home is more than just an emotional journey; it's a significant financial investment. Choosing the right upgrades can not only enhance your living experience but also boost the future resale value of your home. Here are some considerations to ensure your upgrades maximize your investment:

  • Focus on Energy Efficiency: Upgrades such as solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, and high-performance windows are highly attractive to potential buyers, offering the promise of lower utility bills and a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Invest in Quality Kitchen and Bathrooms: These areas often sell homes. Luxurious touches like quartz countertops, modern kitchen islands, and spa-like bathroom features can significantly increase your home's appeal and market value.
  • Prioritize Structural Integrity and Flexibility: Structural upgrades, like using higher-grade concrete and ensuring your home is adaptable with features like wider doorways, not only contribute to the longevity of your property but also its accessibility, appealing to a broader range of buyers.
  • Consider the Future Market: While customizing your home to your taste, keep potential buyers in mind. Neutral, high-quality finishes and versatile room designs ensure your home remains appealing to the widest possible audience.

Making strategic choices about which upgrades to include in your new home construction can pay dividends in the long term, both in terms of property value and personal satisfaction.

Understanding the typical stages of home construction can help you plan and implement your chosen upgrades effectively. Here's a brief overview of these stages and when to integrate specific enhancements:

  1. Base Stage: This is the time to ensure that your foundation is strong, with considerations for enhanced concrete strength and foundational insulation.
  2. Frame Stage: Structural modifications, including wider doorways and reinforced flooring, should be addressed at this stage.
  3. Enclosed Stage: Implement high-performance windows, external door seals, and preliminary wiring for smart home systems.
  4. Fixing Stage: Interior finishes such as radiant floor heating, kitchen and bathroom upgrades, and accessible design features are finalized here.
  5. Practical Completion: Review all installations for quality and functionality, ensuring everything from energy-efficient lighting to smart home systems is operational.
  6. Handover Stage: The final inspection before the keys are handed over. Ensure all upgrades meet your standards and expectations.

Navigating these stages with your chosen upgrades in mind ensures a smooth construction process and results in a home that truly meets your needs and desires.


As we wrap up this artcile on the best builder upgrades for your new home, we hope it's clear to you that the choices you make today will resonate far into the future of your living space and for future owners of your home. Whether it's the warmth underfoot provided by radiant floor heating, the peace of mind afforded by advanced security systems, or the sustainability and efficiency of solar panels and high-performance windows, each upgrade you select is a step towards crafting the home of your dreams.

Remember, building a new home is not just about creating a space to live; it's about designing a lifestyle that reflects your values, meets your needs, and anticipates your future. The upgrades discussed—from energy-efficient appliances and smart home automation to luxurious kitchen islands and accessible design features—represent more than just improvements in comfort and aesthetics. They are investments in your home's efficiency, usability, and marketability.

As you navigate the process of building your new home, keep in mind the long-term impact of your choices. Consider not only the immediate gratification that luxury and comfort upgrades can provide but also the enduring value of structural integrity, energy efficiency, and universal design. By doing so, you'll not only enhance your quality of life but also secure the resale value of your property.

We hope this guide has illuminated the path towards selecting the best builder upgrades for your new home, balancing between innovation, functionality, and timeless appeal. May your new home not only be a place of comfort and security but also a reflection of your foresight and dedication to creating a sustainable, welcoming, and adaptable living environment for years to come.

Thank you for joining us on this journey. Here's to building not just houses, but homes—spaces where life's best moments are to be cherished and shared.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: Which upgrades will add the most value to my new home? 

A1: Energy-efficient upgrades like solar panels and high-performance windows, quality kitchen and bathroom enhancements, and structural improvements are known to significantly boost a home's value. Additionally, accessible design features can make your home appealing to a wider audience.

Q2: How do I decide between standard features and builder upgrades? 

A2: Consider long-term value and your personal lifestyle needs. Upgrades that improve energy efficiency, comfort, and the home's overall appeal are often worth the extra investment. Evaluate the cost versus benefit of each upgrade, focusing on those that offer lasting value.

Q3: Are smart home upgrades really worth it? 

A3: Yes, integrating smart home technology can enhance your home's functionality, security, and energy efficiency. Features like programmable thermostats, smart locks, and home automation systems provide convenience and can be attractive to future buyers.

Q4: Can I add upgrades after the home is built? 

A4: While some upgrades are easier to implement during the construction phase, such as structural changes and wiring for smart home systems, others can be added later. However, incorporating upgrades from the start can be more cost-effective and ensure a seamless design.

Q5: How do energy-efficient upgrades impact my energy bills? 

A5: Energy-efficient upgrades like solar panels, LED lighting, and high-performance insulation can significantly reduce your energy consumption, leading to lower utility bills. These savings accumulate over time, offsetting the initial cost of the upgrades.

Q6: Should I consider resale value when choosing upgrades? 

A6: Absolutely. While personalizing your home to your tastes is important, considering how upgrades will appeal to future buyers can ensure your home remains marketable and maximizes your investment. Speak to realestate agents in the area around your site, find out the demographics of people buying and ask what they are looking for in terms of features and home functions then assess the cost benefit to incorporate this into your new home build.

Q7: How do accessible design features benefit my home? 

A7: Accessible design features, such as wider doorways, no-step entries, and reinforced bathroom walls for future grab rail installation, ensure your home can accommodate all ages and abilities, increasing its appeal and functionality for a broader audience.