June 13, 2023
What’s the difference: custom home vs. spec home? And which is better: custom build vs. prebuilt home? Understanding the difference between custom and spec homes is a must for potential buyers. In understanding the difference between the common terms for homes, you can ensure you’re buying the right one for you - something we all want to be confident of with such a large purchase.
With each one having different benefits and downsides, our team at Zenith Design + Build breaks down the differences between a spec home and custom homes, so you understand what they offer before beginning your home search. Let’s dive right in.
A custom home is exactly what you would imagine - a completely customized “dream home” based on your specific needs and wishes. Custom builders will work with the individual buyer, giving you all the control of the layout and details, so every foot of the house is what you imagined. Whether you want an open floor plan, a large screened-in porch, or a gym space, the custom builder will work with you to design your ideal home.
When considering spec vs. custom homes, it comes down to the degree of decision-making the buyer has. A custom home is truly one of a kind and entirely up to you (with building best practices in mind, of course), whereas spec homes offer little choice in floor plan, appliances and design.
The biggest perk of a custom home is that it’s built just how you want it. Every detail of the home can be customized to your liking, which is about much more than just the number and size of rooms. From unique design features to little nooks and crannies and customized layouts that best suit your needs, there’s a lot of customization that can be had. This isn’t just about aesthetics, but the must-have essentials, too. Since you’re leading the way with what you would like with a custom home, you can ensure that you are getting all of the safety and storage features you desire!
If you’re debating between spec vs. custom home buying, there are a few key cons to a custom home. These include:
A spec home is a home that is built on a plot of land with design and floor plan layouts pre-selected by the builder. The name “spec” stems from the idea that the project was speculative as the builder bought the land without a buyer in mind. These move-in-ready homes don’t allow homebuyers to have a say in any of the design elements but do offer them a completely new, fresh space that’s ready to live in. However, sometimes homebuilders offer spec homes that aren’t completely built yet, which can mean there are a few months until the home is ready for move-in day.
When debating between a spec home or a custom home, there are some clear benefits to spec homes that set them apart from their custom counterparts. The pros of choosing a spec home include:
For those that don’t have a full idea of what they want in a home or are looking for a place to move into quickly, a spec home may be the way to go.
Spec homes are one of the better starter home choices on the market, but that doesn’t mean they come without their flaws. If you’re debating a custom vs. spec home, here are a few cons to consider before making the final decision:
With less control of a spec home, homebuyers need to do their due diligence before committing to the purchase.
Ultimately, the best home - whether it be a custom or spec home - comes down to how much of a say you want in the design. If you’re passionate about the floor plan and have unique needs or design ideas, a custom home is the best choice for you. However, if you would like the guesswork and decision-making taken out of home design, a spec home could be a great, slightly more affordable option. And lastly, if you’re a new home buyer or don’t quite know what you have in mind in terms of design, a spec home may be the best way to go.
Beyond design, each type of home offers a different price range. For this reason, nailing down your budget in advance is essential for ensuring you only look at options you can afford. A custom home vs. spec home cost can vary greatly, and with it being crucial to stay within budget, understanding the difference will help narrow down your choices.
Still debating about a custom vs. spec home or looking to further understand all of your options? No problem - our team at Zenith Design + Build has the answers. Offering everything from custom homes to remodels for our Des Moines-based clients, we have extensive experience with the different home options. To better understand your choices and chat with the top builder in your area, contact us at 515-585-1052 today.
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