So you’ve chosen to build your own home? Congratulations! Building your own home is a very satisfying experience, and not one that many people ever have the pleasure of having. The first step, deciding to build your own home, is the easiest. Next, you must decide what home builder style you will need to accomplish the task at hand. Most home builders fall into one of four categories, but there are some that can fit into multiple categories. We’ll break down the four main categories for you, so you can decide what type of home building process will best fit your needs.
Production/Volume Home Builder
This type of home builder usually produces hundreds of thousands of homes each year. They may produce these homes regionally or nationally. Generally speaking, most production home builders will purchase a parcel of land, develop it out (i.e. create streets, gather amenities such as city lights, etc.), divide that piece of land into lots that can be purchased, and build their homes on these lots. Typically the homes that are built on these pieces of land are built based on 4-6 different plans designed for the neighborhood. The prices of these homes, as well as the size of the homes, will depend on how much land is purchased, the demographics of the area surrounding the land, and how many homes are built within the community.
Semi-Custom/Track Home Builder
These home builders are very similar to production home builders, but on a smaller scale. Another stark difference is that while they may have plans of their own, they may build on a piece of land you have purchased. Also, the home builder will have more say into the design of the home. Semi-custom homes, by nature, mean that pieces of the home are customized to meet the homeowner’s needs. These homes can be built on land that the home builder has purchased or your own land.
Custom Home Builder
The custom home builder is exactly that. Your home is completely unique and customized. While most of the time these homes are built on land that the homeowner is purchased, there are custom homes that can be built within a community that the home builder has purchased. In this scenario, you have complete say over the design of your home. The experience with a custom home builder can be much more personal, as they take on less jobs in comparison to semi-custom or production builders (somewhere around 10-12 custom homes in a year). You can have designs for your home drawn up by either yourself, an architect, a home designer, or sometimes the home builder themselves.
Some people opt to build their own homes. They may research the concept, and given each person’s unique background, they may be extremely handy when it comes to construction and engineering. You may find that costs of building your home yourself can be reduced by 10-20%. There are a few pitfalls that can occur, however, should you choose to build your own home. A licensed general contractor/home builder will be able to negotiate with subcontractors and material vendors. They will fully understand the engineering (structural) and aesthetic needs of a home. They will ensure that all subcontractors and employees have the proper liability insurance, worker’s compensation, and licenses. They will know which subcontractors to go to for each portion of the job. They will understand the permit and inspection process. Generally speaking, a home that is built by a general contractor will be developed faster than one that is built on your own. Check with your local county or city to see if it is legal for you to act as your own general contractor on your land.
There are many different styles of homes to choose from, and each has its own unique pros and cons. The major differences between the categories is how much involvement you will have and how much of your home will be customized.