Weighing the pros and cons of a custom home vs. a spec home can be daunting. There are so many decisions to make, and it's not always easy to know what you're getting into. It doesn't help that there is often a wide variety in quality among builders!  This article will walk you through some of the factors to consider when deciding on whether or not to build your own custom home, including understanding luxury homes, Pros & Cons of building a custom house vs. buying an already built spec house. Is a custom home or a spec home right for you?

What’s Involved In Building A Home?

Building a home is no small undertaking. Yet, building a custom home vs spec home requires drastically different levels of involvement, timelines, costs, and that's just the beginning!

What is a Custom Home?

A Custom Home is a specific home, built for a specific client, with their desires and preferences built into the home. This means that there are many decisions to be made about things like flooring, paint colors, cabinets or countertops – even light fixtures! The homeowner is involved in virtually every aspect of the home. If you're not prepared to be involved with all those details, then you should think twice about building a custom home, or give more decision making power to your builder.

What is a Spec Home?

A spec home is much different than a custom home. With a spec home, a home builder "speculates" what a client may want in a home. The floor plan will probably be predictable (e.g., three bedrooms, two bathrooms) and be designed with features that their target clientele would find appealing. Many times, the buyers are not able to have input in the floor plan or interior design of their new home. If the home isn't finished yet, then it may be possible to choose fixtures or other simple things like that.

Pros & Cons of A Custom Home vs A Spec Home

Pros of a Custom Home:

  • You can make decisions about all aspects of the design, layout and floor plan.
  • Your house will stand out from other homes in your neighborhood because it's unique to you.
  • Once you own your lot, there's no competition for building the home. You don't have to "outbid" other potential buyers of the home.
  • Maintenance costs are lower because everything in the home is new.
  • Better energy efficiency with new appliances and construction methods.
  • Quality. Because the homeowner decided what materials went into the home, you know exactly what level of materials and construction were used to build your home.
  • Location. When building a custom home, you get to choose the location of the lot. How far from the city center do you want to be? Is there a particular area you want to be in or a landmark you want to be near? All possible, as long as you can find a lot in the desired area.

Cons of a Custom Home:

  • It takes much longer to build as there are more construction steps involved with building a custom home.
  • It's typically more expensive to build a custom home than to buy an existing one or to purchase a spec home.
  • There's no landscaping established with a custom home. This has to be put in after the construction of the home is complete.
  • Acquiring a construction loan is more involved than a normal mortgage.

Pros of a Spec Home:

  • Not as many decisions are required.
  • Usually less expensive than building a fully customized home.
  • Great for entry level buyers

Cons of a Spec Home:

  • The location is already determined.
  • Limited specialization or choice in floor plan or amenities.
  • Competition. Spec homes often sell very quickly because of their positioning in the market. You must act quickly to nab one of these homes.
  • Typically spec homes all look similar to one another.

Can One Get a Semi-Custom Home?

By this time you're probably wondering if it's possible to get a "semi-custom" home. Some homes are packaged by builders and are advertised as “semi-custom” because they combine a limited number of options with pre-selected elements, such as kitchen size and ceiling height.

For either a spec home or semi-custom home, you can't really customize the house to your taste. But if you're looking at a new spec—which is still in its early stages of construction—you might be able to negotiate the changes that are up for negotiation by this point and secure them for a reasonable cost.

Which is Right for You?

Is a fully custom home or a spec home right for you? That will really be determined by your specific situation, desires, and budget. Bianchi-Tillett Developers works with homeowners to weigh these decisions. If you're looking at custom home builders in Sacramento, CA, contact us to get details. You might just be surprised how within reach building your custom dream home is!

Additional Reading: