A family sits in front of a partially painted wall after considering everything they need to know before moving in to their new home

You want to paint and decorate but have you considered everything else you need to do before you move in? Photo credit: RawPixel.com)

Your new home is finally purchased — you’ve cleared all the hurdles in securing the mortgage, and now you’re playing the waiting game. The builder has given you a timeline for when you can expect to move in, but what should you do in the meantime?

Designing and decorating can become overwhelming without guidance. You may end up drowning in paint chips and Pinterest photos. Before you begin to sink, remember that your builder will help guide you in some of the essential parts of this process.

Livabl spoke with two representatives from Woodside Homes: Katie Potts, the inspiration gallery design center manager, and Sharon Lord, a sales professional —both provided us with insight about designing your new home, as well as questions you may have about build times, selling your old house, and essential tips to know while you’re waiting.

  • What kinds of questions will the builder ask you when it’s time to design your new home?
  • What should you consider when planning your designs?
  • you add trendy elements to a home and still have it age well?
  • Why types of trends and styles are popular right now?
  • How should a homeowner prep for their space regarding furniture placement?
  • does a realistic build time look like?
  • How long does it take to design the home?
  • Will I receive updates on my home’s progress?
  • What do homeowners need to be cognizant of during the build regarding their loan in progress?
  • When homeowners need to sell a home to qualify for a new one, what do they need to keep in mind?
  • Can I come and see my home being built?
    A headshot of Katie Potts from Woodside Homes -- she's answering everything you need to know before you move into your new home

    Katie Potts is here to decipher your designing dilemmas (Photo credit: Woodside Homes)


    What questions do you ask a buyer when they’re ready to design their new home? How do their answers guide your suggestions?

    KP: No two families live the same, and everyone has different priorities for how they want their home to perform. So, while our designers keep in mind what color schemes and trends you gravitate to, they also focus on your lifestyle. For instance, someone with young kids may be looking for a durable flooring solution to withstand everyday messes, like luxury vinyl plank or tile. Multi-generational families may have aging relatives who would benefit from fewer flooring transitions for easier mobility.

    We believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home and where families often congregate. If you have school-age children who do homework at the kitchen island while you prepare dinner, we might recommend polished stone countertops rather than suede finishes to make writing easier. If you’re an avid chef or hold many dinner parties, non-porous countertops and backsplashes may help resist stains.

    Finally, we always ask about your budget. We’re here to help you make the best decision regarding your home’s design in a price range that you’re comfortable with.

    What should a homeowner consider when planning their design (beyond the household size and how long they intend to live there)?

    KP: We encourage our homeowners to spend time looking at different interior design styles online before their appointment. Do you gravitate toward warm, modern farmhouse palettes or cool contemporary tones? Many people bring pictures of living rooms and kitchens that they love, but we’ve also had homeowners bring in pillows, fabric swatches, or paint chips to help guide their design. One of our clients brought in a vase she adored, and we helped her design her home around it.

    We also offer an online design tool called Envision, which showcases all materials available in the design center. By sharing this information ahead of the appointment, homeowners can browse options in the comfort of their own homes and come to their appointment feeling relaxed and confident.

    A photo of the interior of Woodside Homes Inspiration Gallery where you can learn about what you need to know before moving into your new home.

    The Inspiration Gallery at Woodside Homes helps new homeowners by guiding them through the design process (Photo credit: Woodside Homes)

    Let’s say a homeowner wants some trendier design elements but still wants the home to age well — is there a way to do that?

    KP: We love following design trends and routinely refresh our material offerings with current styles. For the homeowner that wants a timeless home design with some on-trend flare, we’d recommend playing with neutral tones for more permanent pieces like cabinets, countertops, and flooring. From there, we can help you identify areas that are easy to update as trends change. For instance, swapping out your cabinet knobs or adding a fun light fixture over your dining table a few years later can completely transform your space without needing an expensive remodel.

    Now, when we say neutral tones, we don’t mean bland. We have tons of neutral options that together can create a space that’s inviting, comfortable, cozy, and uniquely you.

    What are some of the trends you’re currently experiencing in design? Which styles are the most popular?

    KP: Light and bright home designs are still trendy, but we see them with a warmer touch. Sterile color palettes have made way for more earth-toned schemes, which help create an atmosphere that’s cozy, welcoming, and lived-in. So, while white cabinetry is still timelessly popular, we’re seeing richer gold elements in knobs, plumbing fixtures, and countertops.

    Even classic espresso-stained cabinetry is beginning to trend lighter to create a more gentle and complimentary flow in your design. Your home should be your sanctuary – a place that helps you feel grounded with the people you love. Warm accents help bring that vision to life.

    How do you make the design center experience memorable?

    KP: From when you park your car in your personally reserved spot to when you move into your new home, our design team is here to help you feel at ease. During your appointment, you’ll have dedicated one-on-one time with your designer as they guide you through each element of your home. We invite you to touch and feel materials, ask questions, and play around with color palettes.

    How should a homeowner prep for their space regarding furniture placement?

    SL: Our website has a beneficial tool called the Home Configuration. Here, our homeowners can experience the flexibility of our homes’ designs by selecting lifestyle options that best suit their needs. We recognize that everyone lives in their home differently, so giving you the freedom to personalize your home for your unique lifestyle is our priority.

    Once you create your ideal home, the Home Configuration tool allows you to place to-scale furnishings organized by room. You can select pieces similar in size to your furniture, drop them into your home design, and find a layout that flows best. It’s the “no labor required” version to preview how your new home will live.

    We also recognize that sometimes it’s easier to visualize furniture in person. For those instances, we welcome you to visit us at our model homes with a tape measure and your furniture sizes.

    What should a homeowner expect as a realistic build time?

    SL: Build times vary by community. For instance, a 1,400-square-foot home may have a shorter build time than a 5,500-square-foot home. In general, we estimate a build time of around seven to eight months from when you sign your contract to when you get the keys to your new home.

    Regardless of which community you choose, your sales professionals will send you weekly video updates to keep you in the loop on your home’s progress. We understand that moving homes can be tricky – a great deal of planning, coordination, and emotion comes with the territory. Our goal at Woodside Homes is to make your home-buying experience as easy and exciting as possible.

    How much time does it take to design the home, between picking structural options and going to the design center?

    SL: This tends to vary based on the size of the home. For instance, homes in Villas at Cypress Ridge offer an onsite design experience where homeowners select their interior finishes at the sales office. This can be easily accomplished in a few hours, and the onsite design center is open seven days a week.

    At communities like Destination at Cypress Ridge, we’ve found that our homeowners have a firm idea of what lifestyle solutions they’d like in their homes during their initial appointment with their sales professional. Most people take a few days to mull over their option selections before regrouping to begin their homebuying journey. Our talented design team at our inspiration gallery will schedule a four-hour appointment with our new homeowners to help them find an interior design perfect for their lifestyle.

    Our largest home collections, like those in Summit at The Dells or Elegance at Eastmark, follow a similar path. However, homeowners will typically have two four-hour appointments at our inspiration gallery to allow enough time to design each space just right.

    Does the sales professional keep homeowners updated on the progress of their new home?

    SL: Absolutely – communication is the key to a smooth and enjoyable home-building experience. Every week, our homeowners receive a video update from their sales professional on their home’s construction. They will learn what was accomplished that week and what comes next in the building process. We also update them on an approximate closing date as their home progresses.

    What do homeowners need to be cognizant of during the build regarding their loan in progress?

    SL: My advice would be to not open any lines of credit without speaking to your lender first. Small changes in your credit can impact your interest rate or ability to qualify, so take care of what kind of purchases you make during your homebuying process.

    Sometimes homeowners worry that they will have to make mortgage payments while their home is under construction – that is not the case when building with Woodside Homes. We make an initial deposit (i.e., earnest money) at the time of the Purchase Agreement and a deposit for a percentage of your Inspiration Gallery selections. No further payments are due until after your home is built and you have closed escrow.

    If a shopper has concerns about interest rates rising during their home’s construction, we have quick move-in homes that are already underway and able to close quickly.

    When homeowners need to sell a home to qualify for a new one, what do they need to keep in mind?

    SL: When selling your current home, be prepared that it may take longer to sell in today’s climate. Bidding wars on the first day of a home’s listing are on the decline, so make sure you have priced your home to reflect current market conditions. Most showings occur during the first few days of your home’s listing, so if you haven’t received many showing requests within the first week, you may need to re-evaluate your listing price or presentation.

    Can homeowners come to visit the community during the construction of their homes?

    SL: We encourage all our homeowners to visit their homes while they are being built. We ask that anyone visiting an active job site wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as a hard hat, closed-toed shoes, jeans, and eye protection. Your safety is our priority.

    Take some time to think about your needs and wants

    There’s much to consider when you’re waiting for your home to be built, but the good news is that your builder and its representatives are there to guide you through the process and can answer any of your questions.

    In the meantime, take a few moments to consider what you want from your home — how long you intend to live there and the changes that may occur to you and your family in that time. Take right now into account and several years into the future. You want a home that will age well and serve your family’s needs no matter the challenge.

    Meanwhile, if you’re still looking for a home, here are a few of the Woodside communities mentioned in this story.

    Destinations at Cypress Ridge

    Woodside Homes Canyon home at Destinations at Cypress Ridge

    The interior of a Canyon home at Destinations at Cypress Ridge (Photo credit: Woodside Homes)

    Location: 5731 West Pueblo Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
    Price: Starting at $455,990
    Size: Three to six bedrooms, 1,485 to 3,053 square feet

    Destinations at Cypress Ridge is a new single-family home development by Woodside Homes currently under construction. Amenities include walking trails, a half basketball court, exercise trails, a ninja course, a tot lot, and a community pool.

    Elegance at Eastmark

    A photo of a kitchen in a Woodside Homes model

    The interior of a Majestic model at Tranquility at Eastmark (Photo credit: Woodside Homes)

    Location: 9912 East Strobe Avenue, Mesa, AZ
    Price: Starting at $861,990
    Size: Three to six bedrooms, 2,889 to 4,611 square feet

    Elegance at Eastmark offers expansive home designs near excellent schools, recreation, and shopping in an exciting master-plan community. Amenities include dog parks, a neighborhood pool, a catch-and-release lake, and walking trails.

    Icon at Thunderbird

    An exterior photo of a Woodside Homes model in Phoenix

    The exterior of the Sapphire model at Icon at Thunderbird (Photo credit: Woodside Homes)

    Location: 59th Avenue & West Greenway Road, Glendale, AZ
    Price: Starting at $525,990
    Size: Two to five bedrooms, 1,369 to 3,053 square feet

    Homes in this community offer comfortable spaces with plenty of room for living and entertaining in a walkable neighborhood. Icon at Thunderbird homes features Indoor airPLUS®, LEED®, Energy Star®, Zero Energy Ready®, and WaterSense® certifications. Amenities include playgrounds and a half basketball court.

    Legends at Thunderbird

    An exterior photo of a Woodside Homes model

    The exterior of the Goldfinch model from Legends at Thunderbird (Photo credit: Woodside Homes)

    Location: 59th Avenue & West Greenway Road, Glendale, AZ
    Price: Starting at $699,990
    Size: Two to five bedrooms, 2,217 – 4,011 square feet

    With high ceilings, spa-like primary baths, and an abundance of natural light, homes at Legends at Thunderbird are immediately inviting. Residents can take advantage of easy commutes as the community is in an area with minimal traffic.

    Enchantment at Eastmark

    A photo of a Woodside Home in Phoenix An interior photo of a Mystic model from the Enchantment at Eastmark (Photo credit: Woodside Homes)

    Location: 9854 East Seismic Avenue, Mesa, AZ
    Price: Starting at $585,990
    Size: Two to four bedrooms, 1,622 to 3,336 square feet

    Large interior spaces at Enchantment at Eastmark enhance work and play, with proximity to excellent schools, easy access to fine shopping and dining, and a range of amenities. In addition, there are parks, a pool, a splash pad, a recreation center, and walking trails.

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