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One of the greatest benefits of buying pre-construction is the ability to personalize your new home, from the type and stain of hardwood all the way down to the hardware adorning the cabinets. But scouring Pinterest for hours on end can leave you feeling overwhelmed by all the choices — should you go with a classic white subway tile backsplash or splurge on marble hexagon mosaics?

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Empire Communities takes the guesswork out of decor selections by dedicating an entire day to guiding you through the process. Their one-on-one appointments typically take place 9 to 13 months before the homeowner’s tentative closing date. For high-rise communities, the timeline extends to 12 to 18 months. This allows enough time for all decor choices to be submitted to site personnel, trade partners and suppliers prior to the start of construction.

The decor appointments are led by a knowledgeable Decor Consultant, who will help you design a home you’ll love for years to come — the catered lunch and unlimited lattes, cappuccinos, coffees, juices and snacks make the appointment that much sweeter.

Not sure what to expect from your upcoming decor appointment? Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your experience.

Evaluate your current living situation

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Purchasing a new home is an opportunity to start fresh, but you may want to evaluate your current residence when making future design decisions.

“Do you love your gas fireplace for its ambiance and warmth? Do you often curse your bedroom closet for its lack of storage? Think about what works and what doesn’t and address those points with your Decor Consultant — they’re there to help,” says Christina Crupi, Senior Decor Manager at Empire Communities.

Separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves

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Before your appointment, homeowners are encouraged to compile inspirational photos, magazine clippings, paint chips and fabric swatches — this will help the Decor Consultant get a better idea of personal tastes and preferences. Another way to prepare for your selection appointment is to make a wish list of your top 10 features. Familiarize yourself with the list of standard features (i.e. those that are included in the price of your home) and designer upgrades, which add to the overall cost but may increase your return on investment. It’s always a good idea to ask your Decor Consultant for their recommendations. As the expert, they can point to features you may have overlooked or never even considered.

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Breaking down your must-haves list by room can help narrow your focus. The most popular spaces homeowners choose to upgrade are the kitchen, staircase and master ensuite.

“As the heart of the home, the kitchen is where families and friends gather and spend the most time together,” says Crupi. “If you regularly host holiday dinners, potlucks or wine nights, a gourmet kitchen is likely your top priority. You may want to invest in durable, stain-resistant quartz countertops or an island with plenty of seating.”

Your Decor Consultant will be happy to help you weigh the options of every design choice you make, from staircases — which can be difficult to upgrade once construction wraps up — to creating the spa-like master ensuite of your dreams.

Set a budget and stick to it

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Being upfront about your design budget allows your Decor Consultant to make suggestions based on what you can truly afford — not what you wish you could afford.

“While it may be tempting to say yes to every designer upgrade you come across, going into your appointment with an established budget will help you stay on track and spend within your means,” says Crupi.

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If you’re struggling to wrap your head around how much hardwood floors or coffered ceilings will cost, reach out to your Decor Consultant prior to the appointment via email. You can also visit the Empire Decor Studio on weekends, as many times as needed prior to your appointment to browse 9,000 square feet of inspiring vignettes, curated displays and designer-selected upgrade options. Asking questions will not only help you put together a rough budget estimate, it will make your design decisions far easier. And remember that at the end of the day, you’re designing a dream home for you and your family, so have fun and enjoy it.

For more information on Empire Communities, visit empirecommunities.com.

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