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Spec Home vs. Custom Home: What Are the Differences?



Did you know that around 912,000 new homes were built in the United States of America in the year 2020? Building a home is a huge investment, and most people that choose to take this step do so with the thought that they’ll live there for many years to come. It is difficult to decide to go with a spec home vs. custom home when you decide to build your own place.

One of the big challenges that prospective homeowners face when it comes to building a home is learning what is a spec home and what is a custom home. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that these two housing options are the same thing.

The good news is that you’ve come to the perfect spec home guide to learn all about what sets a spec home apart from a custom home. Keep reading this article to learn more!

What Is a Spec Home?

Spec homes are types of homes that get built by a construction company or a general contractor on a building site at a real estate development. Spec homes are built before a buyer is in place. The most common course of action that gets taken is choosing a home model or a home design that the developers believe will sell well.

The goal is to stay within a certain budget for building supplies and materials. There is also a big focus on providing the amenities that the real estate developers believe the buyers would want in their homes.

There are few, if any, customizations when it comes to a spec home because the home was built without a specific buyer in mind. Most things are built to be basic and neutral so that they’ll appeal to a broad audience rather than cater to the specific needs of one family.

Spec homes are often move-in ready at the time of purchase, which is great if you’re ready to move out of your old place or your lease at your rental unit is up. You won’t have to do anything before moving in besides move all of your furniture and belongings into the place.

Pros of a Spec Home

One of the biggest benefits of choosing to go with a spec home for your next home is the cost. Spec homes are much cheaper than custom homes and they’re move-in ready. Odds are that the home will be finished and ready to go by the time that you’re looking at moving in and making it yours.

In the worst-case scenario with spec homes, you might have to wait a few months to move in due to the building process. These homes are also easy to resell if you decide that you want to move at some point in the future.

Cons of a Spec Home

There are also some cons about spec homes that you should know about. They have zero unique features to them and they use basic building materials in order to stay within the budget. You’ll have zero control over how the house is built and you might need to spend more money to upgrade it and make it how you want it.

What Is a Custom Home?

Custom homes differ from spec homes because the buyer will take the builder’s plans to a construction company or contractor with a custom home design. Most home buyers have a clear idea of what they want the home to look like and the features that they want access to in the home.

If you’re someone that wants a much greater degree of control over the building process then you should consider getting a custom home. You’ll get to choose the building materials and the interior finishes for the home and set your own budget.

You’ll have no problems with getting your dream home if you decide to go with a custom home over a spec home. If you’ve always wanted to live in a wooden yurt then you can work with an architect in your area and get the builder’s plans drawn up. You can add a loft or even add skylights if it fits within your budget.

You won’t get this degree of control over your home building project with a spec home. As long as your custom home is up to local code, you can add whatever features and amenities your heart desires.

Pros of Custom Homes

The biggest benefit of choosing to go with a custom home when you decide to build a new home is the degree of control you have. You can build the exact dream house that you’ve always pictured. You’ll have control over all of the features, building materials, and amenities that go into this house.

You’ll also have control over picking the location of the home since you’ll need to purchase land to build on. You can find that perfect lot that you’ve always pictured up on a mountain, or in a lush and green valley.

Cons of Custom Homes

Building custom homes does sound like an amazing time, but there are certain drawbacks that you should be aware of before you move forward with that option. You need to be ready to pony up the big bucks if you plan on building a custom home as this route is far more expensive when you compare a spec home vs. custom home.

Odds are that your home is also more of a niche home that doesn’t appeal to as broad of an audience. You could run into more issues when the time arrives for you to sell your home and move to a new one.

Now You Know All About Spec Home vs. Custom Home

Choosing between a spec home vs. custom home is a big decision, and it is important that you understand the benefits and drawbacks of each option.¬†Custom homes are much more expensive but you’ll have control over the entire building project and get to choose the building materials. Spec homes are built by developers and you’ll get no input on how the home is built.

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