Difference between builder grade and retail products

By Tish Oakley and John Rives

The term ‘builder grade’ often has negative connotations and is sometimes thought of as synonymous with low-grade products and materials. However the difference between builder grade and retail products bought at home improvement stores is often negligible.

builder grade products

It would be more accurate to say that builder grade is the medium grade product that production builders are able to get at the best price-point-to-quality for their homes. The main difference in builder grade and retail products is marketing, labeling, availability and distribution. Since production home builders buy products in large quantities they can usually get the same product at a lower cost.

That doesn’t mean that the standard builder grade products are the best products or will last as long as more expensive premium upgrade products and materials. Since builders have to compete with each other on price, and most homebuyers are shopping for homes based on price, they work out the grade of products and materials that will give the homebuyer the best deal for the money and use them as the standard for their homes. Most new home builders offer upgrades to roofing, siding, windows and doors, interior finishes, plumbing and electrical fixtures, paint, and floor coverings to name a few, and will work with homebuyers to go over the the cost and longevity of the options and upgrades they offer.

If you are thinking of buying a new home, or having one built, the quality of the products and materials used in the home are an important part of the many decisions you will need to make. An important determining factor in whether to upgrade the products and materials from builder grade to premium grade would be how long you anticipate living in the home. If you are going to be in the home for less than five years, it doesn’t really make sense to spend a lot of extra money on upgrades, but if you anticipate living in the house for 10-20 years, it might make sense to upgrade some of the products used in your new home. This would be especially true if you plan to retire in the home and don’t want to deal with expensive home maintenance and upkeep issues down the road.

An example of upgrades that make sense long term would be upgrading the roofing from the standard 20-year shingles to 30-year shingles. This means under normal conditions, even if you stay in the house for 30 or more years, you shouldn’t have to replace the roof shingles. A little more money spent up front can sometimes save a lot of money later on.

An example of where it doesn’t make sense to upgrade would be if you are a first-time home buyer or are relocating for work and only plan on keeping the house for 5-10 years and then selling it to buy another home. In that case it makes more sense to get into your home at the lowest cost initially and not spending a lot of extra money on upgrades that you won’t be there to take advantage of.

Either way it is important to shop around and view homes by various builders in the area you want to buy so you can see what is offered as standard builder grade by different builders.

The decisions and choices that need to be made when buying or building a new home can sometimes be overwhelming. At McKee Homes we offer the best possible quality products and materials at the lowest cost to the homebuyer, but are also happy to offer premium upgrades to satisfy the needs of all our homebuyers. We have a dedicated and experienced new home selections coordinator who will guide you through the process of choosing the products and finishes used in your home and help you make the most informed and best decisions for your budget and the longevity of your home.

We also have a new home specialist who is available by phone at 910-672-7296, live chat, or email to set up VIP home tours for you to view any of our floor plans or neighborhoods with someone who can answer all your questions and help you make the best decisions when it comes to buying or building a new home.

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McKee Homes online marketing manager

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