As I mentioned before after you sign your contract you have two weeks to make changes. During this time I did research on a few of the upgrades and I found some really surprising results. As the title of this post suggests I discovered that the upgrades offered by Ryan Homes are well over priced.
The most blatant of over priced upgrades (that I discovered) was the appliances. My wife and I had opted for the second highest level. This upgrade was $3,300 for a GE profile oven, dishwasher and above the stove microwave. When I looked up the price on Lowe's and Sears I could buy all three for $2,900. That is a savings of $400, plus if I sell the very basic stove, oven and above the stove exhaust fan for 50% on Craig's list I could get $600, that'll bring my savings to $1000 easy!! Plus I can get any brand. Needless to say we changed our upgrade to the basic package. My wife and I also plan to hit the Memorial day sale and save even more.
The kitchen knobs are a similar story. They charge $200 for knobs on the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. The knobs they use are simple chrome knobs. I never counted the number of knobs but I would guess 40 in the entire house. At $3 a piece (price at home depot) that would cost $120. Knobs are super easy to install your grandmother can do it, all you need is a drill. Plus, you can add style to your kitchen by choosing from hundreads of knobs at home depot instead of being forced to have the same knobs as all your neighbors. You can also get light fixtures and faucet upgrades for cheaper than the upgrade (plus sell whatever they give you on Criag's list to make even more money).
The bigger ticket items such as granite counter tops also can be done cheaper than the upgrade itself. The granite upgrade in our model (the Rome) is about $4,500. I got an estimate from Home Depot for the same granite for $3,200 installed plus $900 to remove the old counter tops. In total I could save $400. What is amazing here is Ryan homes already has to install the counter tops PLUS they don't have to remove old counter tops PLUS you already paid for basic counter tops in the price of the house, so you can just see the profit Ryan is making off their customers upgrades. Ridiculous huh!
You might be asking how can Ryan Homes charge such crazy prices for their upgrades. They are relying on two things. First they are hoping that their customers don't realize, either by ignorance or since Ryan prices their upgrades as one price, instead of the more familiar individual price or price per square foot you would see at a store. Secondly and most importantly they hope that their customers need to roll the cost in to their mortgage. The only way you can put the cost of the stove in to your mortgage is to buy it through Ryan Homes. If you don't have a down payment that can cover doing these items on your own, then if you want them you have to pay the extra price.
If you already bought the upgrades you shouldn't worry too much, you probably added as much value to your home as you paid in the upgrade. When you upgrade parts of the house it sells for more than the upgrade cost. People who buy fixer upers, fix everything, and then sell make money because it cost less to upgrade most things than it adds to the home value. The same applies for new homes too except Ryan is making the profit instead of you, you most likely broke even. But there is a few grand out there that you can save if you play it smart. Finishing your basement (if it wasn't your incentive like it was ours) is also a good way to make save money.
Also, as far as I can tell it would be hard to upgrade the carpet after the house is built for less than the upgrade, but it is very close (Ryan I am sure is still making money on the upgrade because they don't have to pay to tear out old carpet). It'll depend on the quality of the upgraded carpet which I haven't seen. We have our flooring meeting on Friday, so I'll let you know after that.
Lastly, I will say even with some price gouging for the upgrades Ryan Homes still seems priced well. I am talking about a few thousand in savings at most by doing the upgrades after the house is built.