Just about the first thing you want to consider when buying a new home from a builder is whether you want a custom home builder or a production builder.
Half of buyers want brand new homes, and of those the desire for custom versus production is about even. This means there are a lot of options as the market tries to cater to these sizable audiences.
The main factor in production vs custom is the freedom of choice. It may be simple — 47% of homeowners want three bedrooms, while 32% want four, but may have to settle for less because demand is higher for three bedroom homes. Buying a new home from a builder who takes your designs into consideration gives one the freedom to add as many bedrooms as you need — for a price.
This doesn’t mean all production homes are mass-produced; buyers can personalize using catalogs of appliances, flooring, etc. Custom homes tend to be one-of-a-kind, with the vast majority of design decisions made by the buyer. Custom luxury home plans are infamous for their opulence and indulgent individualized style choices. Wealthy buyers can build castle-like mansions, sleek futuristic hubs, or strange buildings that are almost abstract art.
But it’s not all crazy swimming pools or psychedelic shapes — custom homes can also simply be a way to break the mold and retain features which may not come in a typical production home.
To summarize, production builders offer ease in decision-making and quick turnaround. You choose from a library of different options and can customize by mixing and matching these options.
New home builders who use production methods generally do not allow you to change floor plans, layout, or square footage. While this limits personalization, it means you can easily walk into a model home and instantly get a feel for what you will get.
When buying a new home from a builder who will customize, you can:
- Build on your own private land
- Commission custom floor plans or draw up your own from scratch
- Work with separate architects and builders or a company that handles both
- Be involved in every step of the process and make all of the decisions that go into the design
- Use any product you please rather than using a defined menu of products
You’ll almost always pay more for a custom home than a production home of the same size, but can vary depending on the complication of your design. A custom home can be a simple ranch style or a more elaborate and multi-story mansion fit to be a celebrity’s playground.
When figuring out how to choose a custom home builder, ask for photos of their previous projects. You can get a sense of their own style and quality of work and can usually arrange to see one of their previous projects in person.
The key to a successful new home, be it production or custom, is keeping a realistic budget and sticking to it. Doing your homework goes a long way in optimizing your home-making experience.