Is a Custom or Production Home Builder Right for You?building a new home.
As you plan the build of your new home, one of the first questions to consider is whether working with a smaller, custom home builder or a higher-volume home builder (also referred to as a production builder) is the best choice for you.
Both types of builders are excellent options and each can deliver a great new home for you. Much of the decision will rest in how many choices you wish to make – as well as how much design input you’d like to have, in partnership with your builder, during your home’s construction process.
At its core, the difference between a production builder and a custom builder is simple:
A production builder simultaneously builds multiple homes based on a library of home plans. Each home is customized in several key respects. Buyers personalize their home by selecting products in many categories (such as appliances, cabinets, countertops and flooring) from a menu of options offered by the builder.
A custom builder typically creates a one-of-a-kind home that offers an even greater range of design choices that’s often built on a single lot. Buyers who wish to select most details of their new home often decide to work with a custom builder.
This difference in approach between custom and production builders will help determine what product and design choices you’ll make and also shape how you and your builder will work together.
In this article, we will talk about production builders.
Production BuildersThere are two main types of production builders: locally based/regional firms and national companies.
Locally based production builders construct homes in multiple new home communities in a specific city or region. National builders construct hundreds or even thousands of homes per year, often in large master-planned communities, in many states and cities across the country. While the scale is different, the basic process that local, regional and national production builders use is similar.
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), most production-based home builders:
• Offer home and land as a package
• Offer a range of house plans to choose from
• Allow buyers to select their favorite style/design from a menu in several product categories
• Build homes priced for first-time, move-up and luxury buyers
A production builder can usually deliver the same size home for less money than a custom builder. The reasons lie in volume purchasing power when buying building materials and land and a higher volume, often systematized approach to construction.
Buying the right type of land is a big part of a production builder’s strategy. Many larger builders construct homes in large, master-planned communities. A production builder’s scale and access to a large number of lots (building sites) in such communities also allows the construction process to be fine-tuned for great efficiency.
Higher volume builders can also pass on cost savings by purchasing building materials in bulk. Just as large airlines can lock in low fuel prices by ordering in volume, production builders can use their size to order materials for hundreds of homes at a time, often at lower prices.
In addition to using scale to generate cost savings, production builders are highly focused on quality. The top companies deliver carefully designed, highly engineered, solidly built homes whose components and systems are designed and optimized to work together. With up-to-date, appropriately sized heating and cooling systems, such new homes are much more energy-efficient and comfortable than older homes.
An advantage of large new home communities is that the developer will often give careful thought to protecting open spaces. The developer may also provide an enticing array of community amenities – such as a clubhouse, fitness center, swimming pool, hiking trails, sports fields and more.
The community developer also works closely with each builder to insure an attractive mix of homes. In addition to mixing models or floorplans from several builders, each home plan typically offers multiple elevations to vary the look of the front of each home. By changing the placement of windows, gables, and the size and shape of the front porch, a single floorplan can be built in several different looks.
To add further design appeal, each elevation can usually be constructed with a differing type and color of exterior. A given model home can be built with various in brick, siding, stone or stucco and varying shades of color to offer pleasing diversity and individuality.
The Production Builder ProcessAs a buyer working with a production home builder, you’ll typically start by selecting a lot for your home and your favorite floor plan from the builder’s library of plans. The next step is to select an elevation. Many production builders also offer the opportunity to specify the use of a bonus room; based on your needs, a bonus room can be built as an extra bedroom, a study or even a media room.
Next, you and the builder will work together – often in a Design Center – to further personalize your new home by selecting design options.
While the process varies from one builder to another, you’ll typically select your favorite style (such as contemporary or traditional) and your favorite colors and finishes for key products in your home such as appliances, cabinets, countertops and carpet and flooring. In most cases, you’ll also select bath and kitchen faucets and sinks and fixtures as well as lighting fixtures for your home.
Buyers who select a production builder typically cannot change the basic structure – the floor plan, layout of rooms and square footage – but each model has a wide array of attractive options to choose from to personalize your home in many respects. In addition, many builders offer a series of "good, better and best" options at corresponding price points to help simplify your product choices.
Production builders work hard to make building a new home fun and exciting. In addition to model homes where you can experience the look and feel of the various rooms and options, most larger home builders also have a well-defined set of steps to help guide you through during the steps to buy, design and build your new home.
Take a look at some currently advertised new construction homes for sale.
Continue reading about Custom Builders.