Custom Builders vs. Production Builder: What Should You Choose?

Building your dream home is one of the most exciting and rewarding things you’ll ever do. It’s also one of the most challenging, time-consuming, expensive, and potentially nerve-wracking things you’ll ever do.

But, let’s start with the basics.

One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make when planning your dream home is whether you want to work with a production builder or a custom builder.

What’s the difference between custom homes and production homes, you ask?

Production builders use the same design for each house. A custom builder, on the other hand, creates unique designs that take into account the future homeowner’s ideas, needs, and preferences.

Let’s look at what you can expect from each so that you can make an educated decision.

Production Builders

One essential characteristic of production builders is volume. They can build more homes and at a better cost than custom builders. That can work both as an advantage and disadvantage. High capacity builders can use their size to negotiate prices and purchase materials at a competitive cost. Although most production builders deliver well designed, well-engineered homes, volume often weighs more than quality. In other words, some builders care more about building the most homes instead of focusing on building the best home.

Another factor to consider of production builders is the limited number of options for buyers. You have a million different things on your table when planning a home, so it can be helpful not to have to go through the stress and anxiety of choosing every little detail. But, at the same time, most production builders offer little options when it comes to finishing touches like flooring, room configuration, and so on. On the one hand, production homes offer simplistic elements that often work well if each other. On the other hand, this lack of flexibility can make it difficult to design the home of your dreams.

Custom Builders

One of the things that make custom homes so appealing is the flexibility they offer. You can choose even the smallest details in the homebuilding process, from the tone and texture of the flooring to the decals doorknobs.

Of course, this increased flexibility comes with a price. For starters, there’s the choice paralysis: you have so many different options to choose from that it can become overwhelming. Secondly, because custom builders create one-of-a-kind dream homes, they won’t have many models to show you unless you have a clear image of what you want. If you don’t have a clear vision, their estimations can be a bit unreliable, and you might end up paying more than expected.

Another important difference is that custom builders usually don’t have the same purchasing power as production builders. It’s very hard to take advantage of economies of scale when everything is custom. So, expect to pay more for a custom home than a production one.

The Production Home Process

Here’s a breakdown of the process you would go through if you choose a production builder:

  • Decide on the Budget: Before you do anything, determine how much you can afford to spend. Set your numbers and then have the builder walk you through your options and explain the costs.
  • Choose the Home Plan: First answer question like “How many square feet should the house be?” “Should all bedrooms be on the second floor?” “Should the master bedroom face west or east?” and so on. Then select the closest plan that meets your needs.
  • Make Adjustments: Work with your builder to personalize your new home. Choose the home style, color, design options, and other key elements to customize their models to your liking. Keep in mind that you may not be able to change the basic structure of the home plan.
  • Sign the Agreement: You want to make sure that you’ll get the house that you were promised and your customization aren’t forgotten in the mass production process. That’s why signing an agreement before any work begins is paramount. Make sure any details that you talked about are in your paperwork.
  • Start Building: The advantage of working with a production builder is that the actual construction of the home won’t take as long as a custom home. Production homes typically can move into the construction phase faster than a custom home.

The Custom Home Process

Here’s what to expect when building a custom home:

  • Know What You Want: Most people associate custom homes with increased expenses. But, if you know what you want, you can make more cost-effective decisions to free up funds to spend on parts that are important to you like a solid mahogany wood floor or that floating staircase you’ve always wanted.
  • Work with an Architect: You can create your own floor plans or work with an architect and design your house from scratch.
  • Look for Builders: Don’t choose the first custom builder you find. Talk with past clients, verify their credentials, and shop around until you find something that fits your needs and budget.
  • Select the Details: Once you choose a custom builder, work together to select the features of your home. Try to set a realistic budget and stick to it.
  • Make Adjustments: Review the plan once again and make sure everything is in line with your desires and budget. Work with the builder to make the necessary adjustments.
  • Build: Building a custom home might take longer than building a production one, but the results will be well worth it.

Choosing between a custom home builder and a production one is not a simple decision to make.If you would like to learn more about custom homes, we here at Belman Homes are more than happy to help you.