Production builders are the most common type of home builders.
They typically buy a large plot of land, develop it, and create an entire neighborhood of homes, also known as a subdivision.
Buyers can choose from a set of pre-designed floor plans and interior finishes with limited customization options.
Production Home Builder Pros
These homes are typically considered a good investment of a purchase since they are all very similar in style and price point which makes them suitable for most people and it’s almost a safe-bet that you could re-sell it if you needed to.
Additionally, because the home exists in a builder’s development, the buyers have the assurance that their neighborhood will generally remain the same with no unpredictable changes or construction in the future.
Most subdivisions have some form of a homeowner’s association that will ensure that the exterior of all homes is similar, and everyone’s yard is maintained to a certain standard.
The process is generally simpler, takes less time, and costs less when compared to semi-custom or custom home building. Buyers go through a simple selection process, choosing from a limited set of options of exterior color, interior finishes, appliances, paint color, floor plans, and whether a space is finished or unfinished.
From a design perspective, a production level home creates the most opportunity for what we call “museum rooms.” These are the rooms that exist in your home, but you never use. This is because the footprint of the home was designed to be generally compatible with many lot shapes, allowing it to be replicated throughout the subdivision; rather than being intentionally designed to fit the functionality of your lifestyle.
Production Home Builder Cons
Production home design is not built to accommodate unique or specific requirements so buyers are locked into a set of floor plans with limited flexibility and major structural changes are not possible.
For example, if the production builder offers you only vinyl siding as an exterior material, but you want building stone, you may be out of luck. The production builders’ permit plans have been engineered with vinyl siding as the exterior material. To change that exterior material to building stone would require re-engineering the project to factor in the additional weight of the stone.
Production Home Builder Cost
Production homes typically cost around $150/Sq.Ft., not including the cost of the land.
Semi-custom builders generally offer buyers to choose from an array of architectural plans to begin the design process. Some semi-custom builders work with an architect on-staff and some outsource their design services to an architectural firm.
Once you select your preferred floor plan from their options, you have the ability to make some customizations to the design. The builder typically presents a model of your selected floor plan for a base price.
Then, the builder may allow you to choose optional features like additional rooms or minor structural changes, depending on what your builder offers and your selected floor plan allows. Any optional features selected will come at an additional cost to the buyer, on top of the base price.
Semi-Custom Home Builder Pros
Buyers have more flexibility to choose interior finishes and appliances in comparison to production, allowing them to create a more personalized home. You can add or remove unique features such as a covered patio, a sunroom, a finished or unfinished basement, attic space, wet bar, exercise room, or an additional laundry room in the basement.
Semi-custom builders offer a balance between flexibility and affordability, making it an attractive option for many buyers.
Semi-Custom Home Builder Cons
You’re not creating a brand new floor plan or layout and you have to maintain the original footprint and structural integrity of the design, so customization is limited when compared to a fully custom home.
Any significant modifications to the design may incur additional costs and could lead you to consider going full custom. Our rule of thumb is: if you want to change more than 50% of the set plans with a semi-custom builder, then you might want to explore an architect-led custom builder.
Many semi-custom builders market themselves as custom builders, which is why it is important for you to know the subtle differences as a buyer so you can make the right choice for your project.
Semi-Custom Home Builder Cost
Semi-custom homes are usually priced around $250/Sq.Ft., not including the cost of land.
Custom builders offer buyers complete flexibility and control over their home’s design and layout. Buyers can work with an architect, either on staff or hired by the builder, to create a custom floor plan, select unique materials, and incorporate any feature they desire.
Many custom builders show prospective clients floor plans of past projects as starting points to inspire them, but no element of said existing floor plan has to be used in the new design.
Custom Home Builder Pros
Custom homes can accommodate unique requirements such as multi-generational living, special accessibility needs, or a home-based business. Buyers have the freedom to make any structural or architectural changes to their design and choose between multiple design options before settling.
They can also provide a high level of luxury as they allow you to source and incorporate unique and high-end finishes and materials. You can play with the quality of certain aspects of the home and flex it where you want so if something is really important to you, you can go super high quality with it and more standard in other areas.
Custom Home Builder Cons
The design process for a custom home is more complex and time-consuming, requiring more involvement from the buyer. Some buyers find it challenging to find the right lot or land for their custom project. It will cost more and take more time than a production or semi-custom build, but it will be exactly what you want so if you have specific desires or wants for your home - custom may be right for you.