By John Rives
If you are considering the purchase of a new home, you may be trying to decide whether to buy a custom home or a personalized production home. There are very distinct differences between a custom home and a production home; therefore, you should spend some time learning the specific details of each before you make any decisions. Some of the questions you will need to have answered are:
Cost: What is the square foot cost for each type of home?
Time to Build: How long does it take to build each type of home?
Pros/Cons: What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of home?
Options and Selections: What options and selections will you get to choose?
Warranty: What level of new home warranty should you expect with each type of home?
Touch Points: How much personalized service will you get from each type of builder?
Learning everything you can about the different types of new homes selections available will allow you to make a more educated decision about which option is best for you and your family.
This article will focus on cost of custom homes vs personalized production homes. Please read our series of articles on this topic for more information and answers to the above questions.
Cost of Custom Homes
When building a custom home, you generally acquire your own land, design your own floorplan (or have it designed) and submit it to the builder. Additionally, you will be directly involved in the planning and development of every aspect of your new home.
It’s extremely hard to determine the cost per square foot for a custom home because there are so many variables. But as a general rule, a custom-built home will cost you twice as much as a personalized production home will. And the land cost is usually not included in that figure. You can expect the cost of a new home to average between $200 and $400 per square foot.
Hiring an architect to design a custom home will generally cost between 2-15 percent of the total construction costs, however the architect, or a representative from their firm, will usually oversee the project to make sure everything is done correctly.
It is possible to buy home plans online for less than $2,000 but it’s a good idea to pay an architect an hourly fee to review the plans before using them make sure they will work on your building site and meet the local planning and building department codes.
You will also need to pay for a building permit for your home which can add several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars to the building costs depending on the region where you are building. Most custom home builders will include this cost in their contract, but it’s important to verify this to avoid unexpected costs for your project.
Additionally, custom homes often cost more to build than the final appraisal amount, requiring a significant cash down payment by the homebuyer in order to procure a mortgage on the home.
Cost of Personalized Production Homes
When having a personalized production home built, it’s customary for the home and land to be offered as a package deal. You will have the ability to choose from a variety of home floorplans and new home options; therefore, with a personalized production home, you will still have the opportunity to customize your home to a certain extent.
A personalized production home is a great option for those who want to customize their new home but don’t want the expense of having a custom home built. Or spending the time and hassle of trying to find just the right piece of land, at the right price, in a convenient location.
Just like a custom-built home, the cost per square foot for a personalized production home can vary widely depending on the home’s variables. However, with a production home, you won’t be paying separate costs for the land and for the home. The average cost per square foot of a production home can range between $75 and $115 or more depending on the builder, the location and the quality of materials being used.
Production homes builders offer a variety of floor plans to choose from, so there is no additional cost for plans or architects. All of the floor plans have been built many times before so there won’t be any surprises or design problems as often happens with custom homes. Production builders have their floor plans modified to meet building codes for each region and neighborhood they build in, so all of the planning has been taken care of in advance. The building permit and all fees are paid by the builder and included in the cost of the home.
Additionally, production homes are priced to meet comparable homes in the area and therefore generally appraise at or above the offered price.
The Bottom Line
The decision about whether to buy a custom home or a personalized production home is a very personal one and one only you can make. You should take as much time as you need to study all your options, and then will you be able to make the decision that is right for you and your family.
If you find yourself torn about which direction to take, you may want to visit some personalized production home builder locations to get a feel for what they have to offer. If after that you don’t find anything that suits your needs, you can always contact a custom home builder to compare the costs and options they have available.