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Flexing your options

by Debra Gelbart on May 1, 2015

Options available with new-build homes used to be pretty much limited to choices in finishes — flooring, cabinetry, countertops and the like — along with a few other features that could easily be upgraded or changed.

But during the past five to 10 years, many new-home production builders began to offer opportunities to add different styles of doors and/or windows, change architectural elements, increase the number of bedrooms and/or baths, convert a secondary bedroom into a dual master or guest suite, add special-interest zones such as a craft room or dog-washing station, or expand the square-footage in the kitchen, master suite and/or laundry room.

Builders often have formal names for these choices, but informally, they’re known as flex options.

Array of options

“Our level of customization has really impressed buyers,” said James Attwood, sales manager for Maracay Homes. “We have incorporated hundreds of options including extended covered patios, an extra garage bay, bay windows and multi-pane floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors.”

On Maracay Homes’ website, the Flex Design® concept allows visitors to choose from an array of options specially created for each plan including such features as a box-bay window and/or extra square-footage in the master bedroom and/or a master bath door or frameless shower in the master bath. “Flex Design for Maracay is all about creating choices for the way our customers want to live,” Attwood said.

Flex spaces to footprints

Laya Boschee, vice president of product and design for Robson Communities, said that flex options are available for all of their plans.

“The options range from flex spaces inside the homes to changing architectural footprints,” she said. Options may include an expanded laundry room, a larger master bath, a bigger garage or a golf cart garage. “You also can add a walk-in shower in the master bath or a walk-behind bar in the great room,” Boschee said. “We recognize that our homebuyers have lived in several homes before and they want the best of all of those homes. Our flex spaces provide
that opportunity.”

Easy personalization

K. Hovnanian Homes also offers a wide range of structural options “depending on the collection of homes,” said Andy Pedersen, group vice president of marketing and merchandising for K. Hovnanian Homes in Arizona and California.

On K. Hovnanian’s website, all floor plans offer a dozen or more structural options, Pedersen said. Options may include a fireplace, den, enlarged walk-in closet, guest suite, alfresco shower or a full outdoor bathroom.

“Another one of our structural options is an enlarged suite for an aging parent or a boomerang adult child,” Pedersen said. “These spaces are designed for home-buyers to easily personalize their home design so it functions best for their family.”

Pricing varies

Prices for flex options vary widely among builders based on the floor plan, the complexity of the flex option requested and the location of the community, Attwood and Boschee said.

With some builders, a basic flex option — such as adding a single bay window to a kitchen or master bedroom — might be in the range of about $2,000 to about $5,000. Buyers can opt for adding a walk-in pantry in one floor plan at Robson Ranch for as little as $595, Boschee said, or they could add additional outdoor living spaces that run the length of the home for $19,000.

Sample flex options

Here is a partial list of flex options offered by various builders. Keep in mind that a specific option is not necessarily limited to the builders listed and that options vary by community and plan. In addition, not all are offered at all of a builder’s communities.

  • Converting a secondary bedroom into a casita or generation suite (K. Hovnanian Homes, Maracay Homes, Robson Communities)
  • Extending the garage square-footage or adding a golf cart garage (K. Hovnanian, Maracay, Robson)
  • Adding a bay window to a room  (K. Hovnanian, Maracay, Robson)
  • Adding a walk-in or frameless shower (K. Hovnanian, Maracay, Robson)
  • Adding a walk-up or walk-behind wet bar (K. Hovnanian, Maracay, Robson)
  • Adding a second master suite (K. Hovnanian, Maracay, Robson)
  • Adding a mini-craft room, dog-washing spa or valet station to a laundry room (K. Hovnanian, Maracay, Robson)
  • Adding an RV garage  (K. Hovnanian, Maracay)
  • Adding a walk-in pantry to the kitchen (Maracay, Robson)
  • Adding an outdoor master bath (K. Hovnanian)

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