What Makes a Custom Home Different Than a Spec Home?

There are two levels of being a homeowner. Many people work hard to reach the point of buying a previously owned home built by someone else. There’s nothing wrong with this, and it’s certainly an achievement that anyone can be proud of. 

The next level is reserved for people who hit exceptional financial goals. The highest level of homeownership includes the owner designing the house themselves, customizing it on every level, and having a team of construction workers complete the process. 

For homeowners that have homes built, there are two main categories that this type of construction falls under. There is a custom home, and there is a spec-built home. The latter is also known as a speculative build. 

The main difference between the two is that a speculative build is designed and constructed with the goal of flipping the house for a profit. A custom-built home is normally intended to house the owner for a long period of time. This could be considered a type of dream home, with all the bells and whistles the owner drew up over time as they worked towards achieving this goal. 

Differences Between the Two

Speculative Build

A speculative build has less thought put into it by the owner. Normally, a speculative build is designed based on current home-building trends. Consumer preference is normally adhered to when these homes are constructed since the intention is to sell them as fast as possible so the owner can turn a profit.

These homes are most often built in larger developments or sub-divisions. Many of the design and layout elements of the home will be fairly generic. 

Custom Build

The custom build has a lot more planning involved. The owners take a much more hands-on approach during the planning phases of the home. Owners will plan out every element from the land the house goes on to the foundation design, the electrical and plumbing layout, all the way down to the most basic finishing touches. 

Owners normally aren’t in a hurry to sell a custom home. Years of thought and planning are put into the design. Because of this, these homes are normally resided in by the owners for a very long time. It may end up being the final home they live in. Retirees make up a large portion of the population that has custom homes built.

Pros and Cons of Each Build

Pros of Spec-Build

  • Fast construction
  • More affordable
  • It can be more appealing to buyers because of the trendy designs 
  • Builders take care of permits and all the legal details

Cons of Spec-Build

  • Not as many location choices
  • Fewer design options

Pros of a Custom-Build

  • You choose the land and area the home is built on 
  • The entire house is customed from top to bottom based on your design requests
  • You know what materials and work was put into the house 
  • If you decide to change certain elements, it’s easier to make changes or additions to your own design

Cons of a Custom-Build

  • Can be more expensive
  • Requires a lot more planning and pulling permits on your own

What’s the Best Decision for You?

If you’re planning on building a brand new home, you’ll have to make the decision between a spec-build and a custom-build. It might seem like a tough decision, but answering a few important questions can help you make your decision. 

  • Do you plan on profiting from the home immediately? Is it an investment property?
  • How long do you plan on living in the home?
  • Do you have the budget to design and finish the construction of a custom build if you plan on making the home permanent?

Custom homes can be a great decision for retirees and homeowners that plan for a more rural environment. However, spec-builds can be great for younger homeowners who want to invest and profit quickly, allowing them to build their portfolios. Take your time planning it out, and go with what suits your budget and future the best!