The Difference Between Production Builders and Custom Home Builders
When meeting with a new client, we are often asked what sets a custom homebuilder apart from production or semi-custom homebuilders. The answer is simple but has large implications for the homebuyer.
Brackets Give Production Builders Control Over Decision Making
Production and semi-custom builders create predetermined specification “brackets” that keep customers from venturing into fixtures and finish selections that extend beyond a pre-determined price point. The brackets can be set at differing levels of luxury: basic selections for entry-level buyers, moderate upgrades for the average family homebuyer, and higher-end finishes for the luxury homebuyer. There is nothing wrong with this approach, but you will find that no matter the level you choose, these brackets are designed to control the buyer’s decision making. Brackets really only work for pre-established designs. Builders who use brackets have priced each plan “as-is”. Making design changes to a stock plan will affect construction costs. The builder is often unable to accurately quantify those variables without re-pricing the entire house from scratch. Because re-pricing takes time, most builders will either deny the change or charge excessively for the alteration. For some buyers, the bracket system is fine. They may not enjoy the design process or perhaps they don’t have time to dedicate to it. Some buyers find it easier to select a pre-existing plan and fit their lives around it. 
Custom Home Builders Give Additional Freedom in Building Decisions
We find that our buyers want the freedom to choose how they spend their money. We work with them to shape the home they want to live in. For instance, they may want upgraded cabinets and countertops but may not be as concerned with other components. Our clients decide what is important and that determines how we write the specifications. They are in control of every aspect of the house and budget. Our guidance and experience will help them create the perfect home solution for their budget.
Custom Home Builders and Production Builders have the same Margins
In the competitive world of home construction, a misconception has been reinforced that a custom home means greater expense than a production or semi-custom home. In reality, our margins are no different than theirs. The real additional investment is the time it takes to work out the details of creating a one-of-a-kind home. We work with buyers to establish a budget, not only for the house but also for the entire project. Surveying, land-clearing, well, septic, fencing, swimming pool, driveway, and/or entry gates; these items vary in cost from one project to another. Identifying them accurately is another advantage a custom homebuilder can offer. We begin with the end in mind; what are our customer’s needs and what is their target budget. Discussing these items beforehand ensures that our customers will achieve the perfect level of luxury they desire for their new home.