When my family moved to Maricopa in 2006, we bought a new build and I remember spending around six hours in the builder’s design studio picking out all the details.

Back then, most builders offered endless customization. I had an idea of what I liked, but I never imagined there would be so many decisions.

We picked our favorite out of 30 different cabinet styles and colors, then viewed a selection of 50 countertops and 100 flooring choices and hoped when everything was installed, there would be some sense of cohesion.

Next, we picked out lighting, plumbing fixtures, door hardware, window treatments, appliances, and landscape packages. There were even multiple options for garage door openers. I had expected this to be fun but was left feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

Fast forward to today’s market and the majority of builders don’t offer nearly as many options, if any at all.

Most builders plan out the entire subdivision before the first house is started and decide for each lot the floorplan that will be built, and which options will be included.

Instead of customers going to a design center, they have several different interior packages to choose from, with professionally matched countertops, cabinets, and flooring choices.

Then, if a buyer decides they want a particular floorplan, the builder tells them which lots have that floorplan, and which interior package it will have. All the buyer has left to do is decide which lot they want. It takes what used to be a complicated and lengthy process and makes it a quick decision.

This approach is cost-effective for both the builder and the customer. By keeping the options limited, builders can purchase materials in bulk, which means a lower final price.

It’s easy to get carried away at the design center and add upgrades that push the home out of your price range. And even if you don’t add much at all, you leave with a feeling of disappointment due to all the things your house won’t have, that you never even knew you wanted.

Another advantage to limiting design options is that builders can complete houses faster when every house is nearly identical. There is less risk of supply chain issues waiting for a specific custom item, and for the buyer, less risk of the financing falling through due to rising interest rates or any other unforeseen problems.

Dayv Morgan is a Maricopa Realtor and owner of HomeSmart Success.