As you start to look around at options for your new home, you may or may not notice there are several different types of new home builders out there. I’ve classified them into five general categories. Let go over each one so you can start to get a feel for the type of builder that might be best for your situation.
Homebuilders who build production-built homes, sometimes called tract homes, usually build several homes that are similar in look, feel and size. They also usually build homes that are located within a planned tract subdivision and, in most cases, build all the homes being built in the subdivision.
The builder usually utilizes a series of floor plans (or a slight variation thereof) for each house offered for sale. When selecting a floor plan you can usually select an exterior package that changes the façade of the front of homes. Builders do this for a couple of reasons: 1) gives buyer’s more options to chose from; 2) city and sometimes subdivision ordinances require it; and 3) so all the homes don’t look the same on the street. Oftentimes the builder is not allowed to have two of the exact same looking homes next to each other or across the street from one another.
Production home builders keep costs lower by utilizing the same style of fixtures, cabinets, heating and plumbing systems, truss systems, windows, carpeting, paint, doors, etc. for all the homes. In some cases, the builder will allow the home buyer to upgrade certain features at a more expensive price. However, it’s more difficult to find a production builder who will allow you to alter the footprint of their floor plans.
These homes are popular with young couples or first-time homebuyers due to the lower cost. The homes are usually sold by utilizing a series of models. Builders like to equip these homes with every upgrade they offer to make the home look its best. The builder also utilizes an interior designer to select furniture, paint and decorations to make the home as appealing as possible.
It’s critical if you’re interested in this type of home that you ask what items are standard and what items are upgrades when viewing. You’d be surprised to find out how much the upgrades add to the base price of the home. Plus, in most cases you’ll be getting a home with standard white walls and may look nothing like the home you imagined when walking through the model.
Production builders build single-family homes, townhomes, coach homes, condos and more.
Semicustom builders, like production builders, usually offer a series of standard floor plans, with one substantial difference. You can modify the plan to a large degree.
But keep in mind that the more changes you make to the floor plan, the more it’s going to cost, and especially if you make extensive changes.
Speaking of cost, most semicustom builders have a base price for each floor plan they offer. Within that price the builder creates an allowance for different categories such as lighting, flooring, cabinets, faucets, etc. You then work with the builder to select items according to your style. If you work closely with the builder and are somewhat flexible, you can usually stay within your allowance. But you always have the option to upgrade to premium choices if your budget allows.
As far as lots, most semicustom builders will build on your lot or they may have lots you can purchase within a subdivision. In most cases the base price of constructing the house does not include the lot.
Semicustom builders build single-family homes, town homes, coach homes, condos and more.
Custom Home Builders
Custom homebuilders build one-of-a-kind homes unique to your needs and lifestyle.
Some custom homebuilders offer professional design service. These builders are called design/build custom builders. What this means is they have a certified professional home designer on staff that can create the plan you’re looking to achieve—saving you money you would spend hiring an architect or purchasing blue prints elsewhere.
A custom home can be big or small, and range in pricing according to the final design. The builder will quote you a price based on your final design and will usually set up allowances just like what was explained in the semicustom process.
Custom builders will build on your lot/land of choice. Sometimes the builder will have an inventory of lots to select from or will help you find a lot based on your requirements.
Custom home builders build single-family homes, townhomes, coach homes, condos and more.
Also, some custom home builders specialize in a particular style of construction. A good example is a builder who specializes in building homes with logs or timber. Another good example is builders who specialize in energy-efficient green homes. If you have a particular style you’re interested in, let us know and we’ll connect you with an appropriate Partner Professional who specializes in the niche you’re interested in.
Modular Built Homes
Modular built homes are built in controlled factories as opposed to on the homes location site. This differs from Production, Semicustom and Custom homes as they are all built on site. Modular homes are prefabricated in sections/components in an assembly line-like fashion, delivered to the building site on flatbed trucks, lifted off the trucks by a crane and joined together at the building site by a builder. Modular homes must meet the same regulatory standards of local and state agencies, and are regulated the same as homes built on site.
Modular homes come in many designs and floor plans including ranch, two story, Cape Cod and modern, just to name a few. Most plans can be modified to a certain extent. As mentioned already, much of the home is constructed in a factory. But some of the home is prepared on site including a portion of the interior, foundation work and utility work.
Oftentimes construction costs for a modular home are less than homes built on-site. But this isn’t always true and due diligence is necessary. Financing for modular homes is usually not treated similarly to site-built homes, but you’ll need to check in your local area.
Manufactured Built Homes
Manufactured built homes are also built in a controlled factory and delivered to the site and installed. Manufactured homes conform to a federal code called the HUD code, rather than to the local building codes at the site. However, all work done at the site such as electric hook-up will be inspected by local building inspectors.
Manufactured homes are built on non-removable chassis and are usually towed behind a semi-truck. Most manufactured homes are in two pieces and hauled by separate trucks. Once at the location, the axles and tongue are removed and the sections are set and joined. Sometime the homes are set on concrete foundations, and other times they are not placed on a permanent foundation.
Manufactured homes can be more difficult to finance, but not impossible. In general, manufactured homes are less expensive than all the homes discussed to this point.