It should come as no surprise that “custom home builder” is actually a pretty loose term – it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Your expectations of what you want, for example, could be very different to what the company actually specialise in. It’s important to remember that not every builder is right for every project. In this article, we have outlined the pros and cons of the 3 main types you have to choose between.

Estate Development

Once almost unheard of, estates seem to be cropping up everywhere these days. As the name suggests, this is an existing floor plan within a predetermined neighbourhood that you can add your own personal touches to. Although some customisation might be possible, your design choices are typically limited to a selection of fixtures and finishes (for flooring, cabinetry, counter surfaces, lighting, hardware and so on).

·         Pros – This is a good choice for those who are budget-conscious, don’t want a whole lot of input during the design process or who need to move into a brand new home quickly.

·         Cons – If you take this route, you’ll need to be prepared to make some trade offs in your home. Customisations (such as making rooms larger or ceilings higher) are rarely allowed.

Cookie-Cutter Home

These sorts of builders will typically have a selection of floor plans that you can choose from and they will build on land that you already own. What sets these sorts of homes apart from estate developments is that some customisations will be allowed – expanding square footage, adding an island to the kitchen or even adding garage bays is generally no problem. You have the freedom to add a bit more space or a few more features.

·         Pros – Using one of these builders can actually save you time by limiting the amount of design decisions you need to make – simply choose the floor plan that best meets your need and tweak it.

·         Cons – These builders are more likely to have relationships with a select number of suppliers. This means that you may not have as many options in fixtures and finishes as you would like.

Premium Design

These custom home builders offer you the freedom to build whatever you want, wherever you want. Most of these companies will have an in-house architect and design team, which simplifies the process and ensures that the home is exactly as you envision it. Although these customers will have existing relationships with trusted suppliers, you can also choose fixtures and finishes from a larger selection of suppliers if you desire.

·         Pros – Your home will be completely unique and tailored to your lifestyle. You also have complete freedom over the design of the floor plan, plus your choice of fixtures and finishes.

·         Cons – There will be more design decisions to be made, which may lead to a longer design process and build time (it typically takes 8 to 10 months for the whole process to be complete).

So, which type of custom home builder is right for you? We hope that the information provided above has given you a better idea of the three main types and how they differ from each other. At the end of the day, the builder that is right for you will depend on a number of factors, including your budget and how much control you want over the design. If you’re still not sure, it doesn’t hurt to meet with a few companies to see what they have to offer and estimate the costs of hiring a custom home builder.