You’ve looked at SO many houses. You’ve scoured Zillow, Realtor, and Trulia, and each house checks a lot of boxes for you but not even close to all of them. Finally, you decide to have a home built instead. Congratulations! That is exciting stuff, but should you go with a custom home builder or a production home builder? The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of people who didn’t know that there were different types of builders, or the difference in their processes. Knowing what to expect at every turn can help to make that decision that much easier. So what is the difference? What it really boils down to is how deeply you’d like to be involved in the decision making for your project.
A custom home builder keeps you in mind at all points in time from start to finish. You’ll get to choose everything from the lot, to the floorplan, to the color of the bedroom in the basement, and everything in between. You can supply a floor plan that you like from any multitude of sites, or even have a floor plan drawn up with your builder (If you choose a builder that offers in house design). If you aren’t sure about the lot type or floor plan, your builder can help to narrow down and pinpoint the ones that will match your individual style. Many custom builders also have at least a few lots on hand at any given time, so if you choose one of those, there is a good chance that it can be included in your overall costs. If the idea of the freedom and the power to make as many decisions as you want excites you, then custom is probably the best option for you.
A production home builder is not always the ‘Cookie Cutter’ style that is associated with them, and you can still have a fairly customized project. Production builders can save you some money by offering lot+home packages and by ordering their product in bulk to use for your home and the others in the area. You start by choosing your favorite floor plan from the builder’s library of available ones. Then you might be able to choose things like appliances, and materials for the exterior, and sometimes even decide the use of a bonus space like an additional bedroom, an office space or a media room. Typically you cannot change the basic structure of a production home, like the layout of the rooms, or the square footage. The idea of starting from scratch can be daunting, and maybe you really like another home in a neighborhood but would change one or two things to make it perfect — production home building may be the way to go.
Both custom home building projects and production home building projects have their benefits and drawbacks. What works for the last person, probably won’t work for you, which probably won’t work for the person after you. So the level of involvement you want to have with your home will most likely impact which builder is right for you. Make sure to ask any specific builders that you are considering what their process is, and what they will do for you. Afterall, you’re the one who will be living in your home day in and day out, so the finished product absolutely should be something to get excited about!