When people look at homes to build or buy, the two biggest issues are usually cost per square foot and features or upgrades. Usually, these concepts don’t work well in the true custom building environment. When building a custom home, the client is more in control of the costs. Instead of just taking a preset price for a standardized model, everything is tailored specifically to the client. If the phrases “standard features” and “custom home” seem contradictory, it’s because they are. The “standard features” are set by the customer!
A true custom home is customized from the ground up. The floor plan should be designed specifically to take advantage of your lot’s unique views, orientation, and topography. But most importantly, the builder/designer team needs to understand how the client is going to live, and tailor the design for that lifestyle. A variety of elements, including fixtures, finishes, appliances, and type of heating and cooking are all choices that affect price, design, and style.
Many home builders use standardized floor plans with some variations. They offer options and upgrades, but this is not a true custom home. Many times, by the time a customer adds all the features they want, the cost ends up being more than going to a custom home builder in the first place.
Sometimes, people will first have their plans drawn by a home designer, and then seek out bids. Care must be taken that all builders are bidding the same amenities and construction methods. Even if the plans have a great amount of detail, there can be significant variations in what is included. Too many bids can be very confusing.
The best recommendation is to use a design/build firm where the architect that draws the plans works hand in hand with the builder. That way everyone is on the same page, and no surprises pop-up during construction that can increase your costs significantly simply because something wasn’t clear enough on the plans to begin with.
One of the biggest benefits of a true custom homebuilder is the level of attention clients will receive. No matter how much money someone is spending, it should always be clear who the customers contact is with the homebuilding company, and who is responsible to make sure all the concerns are addressed. Most unsatisfied customers can be traced back to a problem in this area. By choosing the right builder, a custom home can be one of the most rewarding purchases of a lifetime.