Production vs. Semi-Custom vs. Custom: Understanding Types of Home Builders
When deciding to build a home, you’re embarking on a process that may involve a lot of choices. Room layout, size, fixtures, paint colors, flooring … the amount of decisions seem never-ending.
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make in the design-build process is what sort of builder to work with, which determines the type of home you’ll receive. There are three main types of builders: production, semi-custom, and custom. Here’s what you need to know about each type:
Production builders are often the ones you see developing entire new neighborhoods. They usually buy huge tracts of land and build the same small portfolio of home designs over and over again.
There are little (if any) possibilities for changes and modifications with production builders. So homes built by production builders look and are very similar. Many of these builders also develop neighborhoods and build homes before there’s ever a buyer involved.
Their limited portfolios allow production builders to give you a price quote quickly and easily, as they know every associated cost for a given plan they offer because they rarely, if ever, vary.
Due to their bulk purchases and rigid designs, production builders offer the cheapest homes and their product typically reflects that.
Semi-custom builders offer a wider array of designs and floor plans, but they still operate with a limited product offering.
There is more flexibility to modify plans and choose finishes than with a production builder, however the semi-custom builder will still demand that you choose from a standard set of specifications, fixtures, and finishes that they control. This approach gives you more choices to personalize your house while still demanding limits to your taste.
Semi-custom builders will typically build on your lot (spot lots) and sometimes have small groupings of lots that they control.
Semi-custom homes tend to cost more than production homes for several reasons. One, they aren’t mass producing in the quantity of production builders, so their cost of doing business is higher. Two, providing varying plans and finishes cost more money to manage and produce, and those cost are passed through to you, the consumer.
However, for many home buyers, semi-custom is a happy medium between a production home and a true custom home.
Due to the nature of the design-build process, it’s likely that a custom builder will never build the same house twice. While a custom builder may have some basic layouts and designs you can view as inspiration for a starting point, most everything in the custom design process is up to you.
True custom homes are nearly always designed for specific lots. So, you should decide on your lot first before beginning any detailed design work on the home.
Having a plan concept in mind is fine, but a custom home should be designed with the land in mind, not simply drawn and plopped on your lot. Your builder and design team should take topography, orientation to the sun and view exposures, and lot finishing costs into consideration as part of the home design process. If they don’t, they aren’t really “custom builders”.
In design-build custom homebuilding, you should have a say in every component to be in your new home as well as your design.
Whether it is flooring, windows and doors, exterior finishes, or heating and cooling system design and equipment, the builder should be receptive to your ideas and input.
Ultimately you should look to your builder for guidance in these decisions. After all, that is the experience you are paying for when building your home with a custom builder.
Custom Home Builders in Maryland & Virginia
At HURD Builders LLC, we pride ourselves on creating custom homes to fit you, your lifestyle, and your build budget.
Custom home building doesn’t automatically mean that the home must be expensive. Yes, you’re going to pay more than buying an “off the shelf” home product. But, you will receive so much more in terms of value by working with us.
Our hands-on approach to designing and outfitting your new home with you ensures that you are receiving what you want, and not paying for what you don’t want. We will steer the process as best as we can to meet your desires while staying within your budget.
Please contact us for a consultation regarding your plans and dreams. Or, check out our portfolio. We will be honest and polite…promise! We look forward to hearing from you.