THE CASE FOR CHOOSING A CUSTOM HOME BUILDER IN HOUSTON
When planning to build a new home you normally have various reasons for building new vs. buying a pre-owned home. Most often, the reasons that tend to be the most common among many consumers are freedom, location and knowing the history of the home. They don’t want to spend months shopping around for pre-owned homes that have a lot of features they love, but also some they just don’t like at all. With a custom home, it is designed brand new and has your full input on the design.
Knowing the history of a home is important as well, as buying a pre-owned home is much like buying a car; you have no idea the way it has been cared for. Sure, you can see the surface and it may look great, but what if a tub overflowed above and rotted wood studs that were just covered with new drywall? You could be looking at thousands of dollars in repairs from the damage you can’t see.
Location is also a huge factor these days, especially with the ridiculousness of many developments restrictive HOA bylaws. Rather than go through all that hassle and take so many risks buying a pre-owned home, many consumers are going for something brand new, built just for them. But when it comes to building a home from scratch, you have a choice to make as well.
Custom Builder vs. Production Builder
When it comes to new home builds, you have two types of building providers; custom builders and production builders. The difference between the two is very simple and can be summed up as what some builders call custom vs. “custom-ish.”
A production builder builds within a development in bulk, from a catalog of different floor plans and designs. There are some personalization options that can be incorporated, but all of the homes will still look quite similar.
A custom builder on the other hand, builds only a home on a parcel of land the buyer provides. This home is full custom from the foundation up, with a unique design that allows for complete freedom in design.
While both new build methods produce the end result; a new home, there are stark differences in what you can expect from each:
- Is very much a cafeteria style process of design. You have a limited catalog of base designs to choose from that will be located within a development, often with HOA bylaws as a condition of purchase.
- The only personalization available comes from a style catalog where you choose a “style palette” to add to the build. Some upgrades are available but not many.
- Many homes in the development will look similar as well as the lots will be similar sizes, so not much individuality in the community.
- The builder does not provide land. You use the land you already own or purchase a lot to build on.
- You can supply your own floor plans or commission the builder to draw up a floor plan for you.
- You can also hire your own architect or work with a builder that has a designer on staff to manage both the design and the build process.
- Because you are calling the shots, you are much more involved in the construction and will have the freedom to make many decisions in the process.
- Rather than cafeteria style of customization, you can pick out everything from the floor tile to the countertops. There is nothing that does not have your fingerprint in the design.
The Production Build Process
A production builder can be less expensive from a cost per square foot perspective than a custom builder. This is because a production builder can leverage their building costs due to volume purchasing of materials and a systematic construction process. Since most production builders build in large master-planned developments with many lots, it makes that systematic construction possible and with more efficiency. The downside to this cookie cutter process is that no home in the community is unique and lacks the personality of the owners.
While a production builder works very closely with the developer to offer a variety of different models and styles, the core design concept is the same even if two homes look slightly different. It’s a way to appease the custom desires of a buyer, but keep costs down.
You typically begin the process by choosing from available lots in the area you are seeking to build. From there, you choose a floor plan from the builder’s library and select your desired elevation. Any upgrades such as an extra, specified-use room, can be discussed but as for the construction there’s not much more customization than that, the structure is pretty much locked in.
In the accent, features are where you have a bit more customization available but still, only from a catalog of defined options such as cabinetry, counters, flooring and windows.
The Custom Home Process
While a custom builder will charge more for a home of the same size, there is a reason for doing so. Since custom builders build homes with a unique design every time and in varying locations; they lack that economy of scale that production builders have with their systematic process. That being said, a custom home offers you much more freedom of location and design. You get a home that makes you proud down to every square foot, it is uniquely your own.
A custom home does not automatically mean it is going to be a sprawling expensive palace. Many custom homes run the gamut from the trending “tiny” homes to multi-story homes you’d find in most developments. The difference lies in the details, as each build will reflect the lifestyle of the buyer rather than developers ideas of what sells.
Once you choose a custom builder, you provide your floor plans (many can be purchased online) or commission an architect to design your home from scratch. Many custom builders also have designers and architects on staff that can work with you as well for an all-in-one solution.
The huge advantage of custom built homes over a production builder is the nearly unlimited options. The only constraints you will have to work around are your budget and zoning/code restrictions. Other than that, your imagination can run wild and the build process is much more exciting.
The key to a stress-free custom build is preparation and sticking to a realistic budget. You must scout carefully for building lots if you don’t already own your own land. There are zoning and building codes to adhere to when prepping undeveloped land. You have to have plumbing, water mains or wells, gas as well as grading the lot. There are some developed lots that are sold already prepped for home building and these may be an easier option. Either way, preparation and patience goes a long way and will yield a beautiful home.
Ready to Build Your Custom Home?
As you can see if you want the best possible home building experience and are willing to take the extra steps, a custom built home is the best option for your new home. Having the freedom to get your house exactly like you want it and where you want it will make a huge impact on how you feel about your home, post-construction. Picklo Homes can make your dream home a reality; contact us today to put the pencil to paper on the blueprints of your future.