Posted on February 26, 2013
One of the most important decisions you have to make when planning or buying a new home is choosing the right builder. Most builders can be classified as either Production or Custom homebuilders. What does that mean and how does one choose? In this post we will give you a run down of the differences and benefits of the two to help point you in the right direction.
The Difference Between Production Homes and Custom Homes
A Production home involves the same house design used over and over again. These are typically seen in neighborhoods that are built by large-volume homebuilders. These “tract” homes may appear in suburban locations outside more densely populated areas so larger tracts of land can be subdivided to support such construction. All homes in the community may be built by just one Production homebuilder who owns all the lots. There are a number of large, national Production homebuilders with good reputations, as well as local or regional builders that can fall within this category.
A Custom home is unique and one-of-a-kind, typically designed and built from scratch. This process involves collaboration among the homeowner, Custom builder, architect and various other parties involved in the design and logistics. Usually the home lot is a driving factor in the design and construction. Often the homeowner has found its own lot for sale, but sometimes it’s a builder lot. Custom builders tend to be associated with high quality work, and are focused on a smaller local or regional market.
Somewhere in between is the Semi-Custom home – often where a customized home is built based on an existing set of house plans that have been altered to meet the buyer’s needs, but also a term used for some Production home builders who provide greater flexibility and a large set of options to customize their stock plans for the new homebuyer.
Production Homes: The Pros and Cons
Production homes are generally built at a variety of price points, but offer enormous value and cost-savings for homebuyers. There is a no-hassle benefit to these stock floor plans. There are typically several plan choices and options from which to choose, but without having to go through the stress and day-to-day decisions of building from scratch. Time is saved throughout the Production homebuilding process, allowing a buyer to move in relatively quickly.
Sometimes Production Homes are referred to negatively as “cookie-cutter” homes. Due to the homogeneous nature of these house plans, many times there are little options when looking at finishing touches (like cabinets or flooring) or room configuration, and low flexibility once the course of a plan has been set into action.
Custom Homes: The Pros and Cons
Custom homes offer two enormous benefits – choice and flexibility. These homes offer a homeowner a choice in almost everything in the homebuilding process – from the foundation to the flooring to the doorknobs. Custom home builders are flexible in mixing styles and plans to construct a home that is molded to the owner’s needs and lifestyle. Some argue that this custom attention leads to higher quality.
Of course, all this flexibility comes with a certain price – time and cost. As either the homebuyer or the homebuilder you will be dealing with more decisions, more stress, more room for errors and possibly more setbacks than the average production home. All of the additions and unforeseen costs may not be clear at the start of a Custom home project, but can certainly contribute to the overall cost.
Evaluate your home construction options and decide the balance of quality, price, peace of mind and personalization that you want in building your home. Once you’ve determined which type of home suits your requirements and lifestyle – whether it be a Production home, Custom home or somewhere in between – make sure you’ve chosen a builder that meets your needs, is experienced and has a good track record.