The Difference Between Custom, Tract and Production Homes
When you start the process of building a new home you’ll find that the options are endless – until you factor in the budget. Just about everyone loves the idea of having a custom home, but what does “custom” really mean? And how will customization affect your timeline, budget and design decisions?
To help you better understand the options for building a new home, we’ve put together a quick guide that explains the different types of homes you can build from the ground up.
Custom Homes vs. Customizable Production Homes vs. Tract Homes
A truly custom home is one that the owners design from scratch. The homeowner makes every single decision from the layout to the type of screws used. Any and all materials can be used and the floor plan can be configured in just about any way you want.
While going completely custom means you get exactly what you want, there are three distinct downsides: uncertainty, cost and build time. A one-of-a-kind custom design is expensive to build because everything is unique and has never been done before. That’s where the uncertainty part also comes into play. There are a number of unknowns and factors that may have to be worked out along the way, which adds to the budget and build timeline. It’s not uncommon for custom home builds to take between 6-12+ months to complete.
Some people also find the custom home build process overwhelming. Making every single decision with no basis to work off of can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never built a home before. Building a custom home also requires a high level of trust and good relationship with your builder. You need to be confident they can take your unique ideas and bring them to life exactly like you expected.
Customizable Production Home Plans
Customizable home plans are the middle ground between 100% custom homes and tract homes. They are very popular with today’s homeowners that want to create a unique home without spending a fortune.
Many developers and builders offer a variety of customizable home plans within new communities. Homebuyers can select the home plan they like best then modify it in a variety of ways. How much the layout can be modified varies, but usually the homeowners can make most of the design choices like flooring options, countertops and cabinets. You’ll even have options for structural components such as the shingles, exterior finish and insulation.
Typically, customizable home plans are much quicker to build than a completely custom home because the builder is familiar with the plan. Also, the plan has already been tried and tested so there are fewer surprises during the build process. Selecting finishes is quicker as well since there’s a narrower range of options and they’re easier for the builder to source.
Since many developers and builders have model homes you can tour, you can get a much better idea of what the end product will look like, which is a luxury you don’t have with custom builds. Just keep in mind that the more you modify the home plan the less it will look like the model, and that’s a good thing when you want a home that’s made specifically for you, by you.
However, new tools are being developed that can help you envision what a customizable production home will look like once it’s complete. With myHouseby you can utilize online tools to discover, design and see your home in 2D/3D/AR from anywhere. These tools allow users to understand what their home will look like as they make changes, which is something you can only do with myHouseby.
While tract homes are newly built, they offer little in the way of customization. These are what people often call “cookie cutter homes”, because each one looks very similar to the next. In some cases, such as townhome developments, each tract home looks exactly alike.
Affordability is the main draw. Because every home is built nearly exactly the same using the same materials, it lowers the overall cost for the builder. As you may imagine, tract homes are also quicker to build for these reasons.
The sacrifice is you’ll have to make due with the layout and features that the developer has chosen. You may be able to make basic design choices, for example paint color, however even those options may be very limited in what you can select.
A community may have several tract home designs, which offers a little variety. Two other downsides are quality and resale. Tract homes may not have the highest quality features and materials. Paired with the lack of individuality and high competition from others in the neighborhood, resale value is often lower compared to other types of new homes.
At myHouseby you’ll find personalizable home plans that you can design for your lifestyle, budget and timeline on your own. Add additional rooms, include an island or change the elevation. You’ll get to see the results and price changes in real time. Once you’re done you can save your personalized home plan and compare to others to find the best home for your needs.