Friday, October 17, 2014

Custom vs production

While we have worked on our new home from the beginning of the planning stage, our previous two houses have both been "spec" homes. The builders started these homes without a buyer, so decisions on the floor plans had already been made by the builder. We discovered both homes in time to choose the flooring, lighting and hardware.

The toilets, sinks, countertops, cabinets, door styles, appliances, etc. had already been selected, so our opportunity to personalize these homes might be considered limited. I never looked at it as being limited though because the items we chose did make a difference in the decor.

The house that we are building now is more custom since we get to choose the doors, paint colors, trim, toilets, faucets, plus design every cabinet from scratch. We've spent countless hours on this home plan and on the decisions involved. It will reflect our taste and wishes even more than our other homes have.

Spec, custom, or production homes all have their advantages and disadvantages. A few of the most important issues involved in making a choice are probably:
  • How much time does your family have before needing to get into a new home? 
  • The available inventory of houses in your price range, in the location(s) where you want to live
  • How many decisions do you want to personally make to customize the home?
  • A production builder can help you save money because of their volume buying power
  • Are you determined to have a specific style of home and can not find it?
NewHomeSource has a blog that explains the details much better than I can. If you are considering what is best for you, this is worth reading. Whichever you choose, it can be a fun undertaking!

I am not sure you can tell a custom home from a production home in a neighborhood with acreage. Homes with land surrounding them tend to look a bit different from the homes of the neighbors, even if they are built by a company who is building the entire neighborhood. But driving around suburban neighborhoods, it is a bit easier to spot custom homes from production homes.
  • Custom homes are generally larger
  • Each house on the street is totally different from the other houses
  • Details are unique to the home
Production home neighborhoods tend to have:

  • More uniformity between homes
  • Have obvious design choices for buyers to choose from (i.e. elevation A, B, C, etc.)
    You might have a specific stone on 3 houses on the street, even though those houses would possibly not be next to each other. The builder was able to get a good deal on the stone by ordering a larger quantity than he/she would need if using that stone on only one house.
  • Details are standard in the neighborhood
.I visited a charming house that is currently listed for sale. While sitting in front, I was looking at the details of the facade and noticed something that I thought was unusual. Take a look at the brick pattern at the very top, left side of the garage. The masons left three whole bricks on the left side, and only 3 short pieces of brick on the right side.

MySouthernHome2014 photo

That seems out of proportion to my brain that likes symmetry. Then I realized the other side of the garage has this pattern in reverse. Soon I noticed that every house within my sight had the same brick treatment. Someone decided it was pretty, and used it on every home in that neighborhood.

MySouthernHome2014 photo

Suddenly, I wasn't bothered by the "strange" brick pattern any longer. It fit with the neighborhood. If these homes had been custom, they would have a variety of brick treatments from house to house. By-the-way, I think this house is adoreable and deserves some TLC so it will become a charming home for the new owners.

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