The Benefits of Building a Custom Home
By Mark J. Donovan
||What’s the major advantage of building a custom home I am often asked. My answer is always the same. Building a custom home allows you to design and own a home that meets your specific needs and interests. Yes, building a custom home costs a lot more than buying a newly built “spec” home. However, the “spec” home usually uses lower cost materials to increase the home builder’s profit, and it most likely will not meet many of your personal desires and tastes. With a “spec” home the builder typically installs “builder grade” materials everywhere possible. In particular, cabinets, flooring, doors and windows are notoriously low quality products that are included in a “spec” home.|
A custom built home on the other hand, typically includes high end building materials, appliances and other amenities not found in “spec” homes.
Building a Custom Home Benefits
First, building a custom home allows you to have the total liberty to define each aspect and feature of the home, including everything from its size and shape, down to the last knob installed on a bathroom vanity cabinet door. In-between, you’ll specify kitchen and bathroom cabinets and countertops, flooring materials, wall colors, ceiling textures, lighting fixtures, heating/cooling system, etc.
You’ll also have the ability to pick your own plumbing fixtures and other bathroom amenities, and include specially designed rooms such as man-caves, billiard rooms, wine cellars, home theaters and more.
Building a custom home doesn’t come cheap, however. Most high end appliances and home building materials are not as readily available, and thus are priced significantly higher than builder grade home building products. So don’t be surprised to have to spend two to three times more per square foot on building costs when building a custom home.
|Often the builder will give you an allowance budge to work from. Be forewarned, however, that often the allowance budgets are for builder grade appliances and materials. So make sure you negotiate either higher allowance budgets or specify in the Purchase and Sales agreement what specific materials will be used in the home’s construction. Also, with “allowances” if you don’t spend all of the allowance, the builder keeps the residual funds. So again, make sure to negotiate allowance budgets for the various building materials that are consistent with what your true costs will be.
Deciding on building a semi-custom home also often gives you the ability to specify large features such as the inclusion and size of a garage or family room addition, a finished basement, or the specific features of a deck.
To conclude, by building a semi-custom home you can have the ability to somewhat customize your home without having to spend as much money as building a custom home.
Electing to build a custom home or semi-custom home is a major decision and commitment. It means that you will need to do a lot more up front planning and decision making, in regards to the design of the home and building materials used in it.
|Even if you hire an architect and general contractor, if it is a custom home or semi-custom home, you will need to be much more active in the actual building of the home. So be prepared to be committed to the effort. You’ll have to plan on visiting bathroom supply stores, lighting stores, home improvement centers, flooring stores, kitchen design centers, and appliance stores, just to name a few. The more you customize the home, the more work and decision making that will be required of you.||
This said, having the opportunity to build a custom home is a fantastic experience and an opportunity that most people don’t get. So if you are fortunate enough to have the opportunity, jump in with both feet and be creative and active in the design and building of your custom home as much as possible. This way, when it’s all done, you will truly have the home of your dreams.
For more help on how to build a custom home, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s New Home Construction Bid Sheet. The New Home Construction Bid Sheet provides you with the knowledge you will need on how to plan for the building of a custom home, and what to look for when hiring contractors for your new custom home building project. It also includes a detailed cost breakdown table and spreadsheet for estimating your own new custom home building costs.