Back to Blog

Production Homes vs. Custom Homes – The Differences and Benefits of Each

Share this post:

One of the most important decisions you have to make when planning or buying a new home is choosing the right builder. Most builders can be classified as either Production or Custom home builders. What does that mean and how does one choose? In this post we will give you a run down of the differences and benefits of the two to help point you in the right direction.

The Difference Between Production Homes and Custom Homes

A Production home involves the same house design used over and over again. These are typically seen in neighborhoods that are built by large-volume homebuilders. These “tract” homes may appear in suburban locations outside more densely populated areas so larger tracts of land can be subdivided to support such construction. All homes in the community may be built by just one Production home builder who owns all the lots. There are a number of large, national Production homebuilders with good reputations, as well as local or regional builders that can fall within this category.

A Custom home is unique and one-of-a-kind, typically designed and built from scratch. This process involves collaboration among the homeowner, Custom builder, architect and various other parties involved in the design and logistics. Usually the home lot is a driving factor in the design and construction. Often the homeowner has found its own lot for sale, but sometimes it’s a builder lot. Custom builders tend to be associated with high quality work, and are focused on a smaller local or regional market.

Somewhere in between is the Semi-Custom home – often where a customized home is built based on an existing set of houseplans that have been altered to meet the buyer’s needs, but also a term used for some Production home builders who provide greater flexibility and a large set of options to customize their stock plans for the new homebuyer.

Production Home Community Under Construction

Production Homes: The Pros and Cons

Production homes are generally built at a variety of price points, but offer enormous value and cost-savings for homebuyers. There is a no-hassle benefit to these stock floor plans. There are typically several plan choices and options from which to choose, but without having to go through the stress and day-to-day decisions of building from scratch. Time is saved throughout the Production homebuilding process, allowing a buyer to move in relatively quickly.

Sometimes Production Homes are referred to negatively as “cookie-cutter” homes. Due to the homogeneous nature of these house plans, many times there are little options when looking at finishing touches (like cabinets or flooring) or room configuration, and low flexibility once the course of a plan has been set into action.

Here’s an interesting take on the history of American production homes, with a decade-by-decade look at production home types over time and how they were influenced by trends and events.

Custom Homes: The Pros and Cons 

Custom or Semi-Custom Home

Custom homes offer two enormous benefits – choice and flexibility. These homes offer a homeowner a choice in almost everything in the homebuilding process – from the foundation to the flooring to the doorknobs. Custom home builders are flexible in mixing styles and plans to construct a home that is molded to the owner’s needs and lifestyle. Some argue that this custom attention leads to higher quality.

Of course, all this flexibility comes with a certain price – time and cost. As either the homebuyer or the homebuilder you will be dealing with more decisions, more stress, more room for errors and possibly more setbacks than the average production home. All of the additions and unforeseen costs may not be clear at the start of a Custom home project, but can certainly contribute to the overall cost.

 

Evaluate your home construction options and decide the balance of quality, price, peace of mind and personalization that you want in building your home. Once you’ve determined which type of home suits your requirements and lifestyle – whether it be a Production home, Custom home or somewhere in between – make sure you’ve chosen a builder that meets your needs, is experienced and has a good track record.

Related Articles:

Discussion

  1. says

    Custom homes are designed specially for the clients in the specified location.These kind of houses are affordable than the others. thank you for sharing this article to the readers. Hope you will update more about the same.

  2. Ronald Swanson says

    My wife and I have been trying to decide between getting a custom made home, or a production home. What it finally came down to where the two huge benefits you listed for custom home, choice and flexibility. My son is in a wheelchair and we need a lot of flexibility to make a home that is in line with his needs. The custom home process works perfectly with that, because we get to decide the layout, and can add ramps instead of stairs where needed. In the end the process of getting a custom home is probably cheaper than getting a production home, and trying to customize it later.

  3. says

    Great post, when it comes to home buying you need to know the best option for you! Some people like the customization of building their own home and they are also willing to pay a little more. Then there are people who are fin buying a house that is the same as someone else. Overall it is always good to look at the pros and cons and weight your options!

  4. STEVE CARSON says

    BEFORE BUYING A TRACT HOME, CHECK THE REPUTATION OF THE BUILDER ON THE INTERNET FORUMS….YOU WILL BE SURPRISED TO SEE THE COMPLAINTS OF OWNERS REGARDING THE ABSOLUTE GARBAGE THAT THEY SELL. WITHIN TWO YEARS THE SIDING IS FALLING OFF, THE FOUNDATION IS CRACKED…THEY USE THE CHEAP EST WINDOWS AVAILABE AND THE LIST GOES ON. SAVE YOURSELF THE TROUBLE, SPEND THE MONEY AND HIRE A CUSTOM BUILDER

  5. says

    I’ve always wanted to have a custom home but I’m worried that after finishing, I’ll think of something that I wish I would have included. As mentioned, you have a ton of freedom to make a custom home exactly how you want it. It is more time consuming, but for many people it’s worth it. There are also a lot of beautiful production homes, but usually someone’s dream home is a custom home. Thanks for the article!

  6. says

    Thanks for this article – it is a question we are asked often! Although we do renovations as well, custom homes is where Alair Home’s passion lies. There’s just something special about creating someone’s dream home.

  7. says

    I appreciate the information on custom homes versus production homes. I agree that the best part about custom homes is that you can make the home your own, you don’t have to have a home that is just like everyone else’s home in the area. My mom is looking into getting a new home and she isn’t sure if she wants to build custom or just get a production home, I will be sure to share this information with her.

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *