First of all, it's important to understand the differences between custom homes, spec homes, and tract homes.
CUSTOM HOMES – The term “custom” should refer to a home that was built completely to the specifications of an individual client and his or her family including the architectural design, floor plan, lot choice, selection of colors and materials, and all the fixtures that are included as part of the final product. Done properly, custom buyers are active participants who achieve a level of satisfaction when building their homes that no other process could possibly accomplish. We like to view the custom home building process as a partnership with our clients. It is imperative that this partnership is fair, honest and worthy of the trust necessary to accomplish the mutual goals. The best advice we can offer is to get to know your builder on a personal level before you begin your project.
SPEC HOMES – The term “spec” is short for speculative home for sale. Builders, even custom builders sometimes build homes for sale with no particular buyer in mind. A custom builder may choose to build an individual spec home for a variety of reasons including a desire to showcase their own design skills, creativity and quality of homes they can build. These homes are often completed fully, but occasionally a buyer is able to purchase a spec home while it is still under construction. Depending on how far along the building process is, it is sometimes still possible to customize certain aspects of the home.
TRACT HOMES - Tract houses are homes built usually by larger companies specializing in building many homes at once, all with identical or very similar styles and floor plans to those of all other houses in a development. Tract housing can usually be delivered to the market at a much lower cost per square foot. Volume building makes it possible for the builder to purchase materials and contract for labor at a much lower rate than conventional home building methods. Each plan might be reversed or include different basic option packages, but they are essentially the same houses built over and over, sometimes hundreds of times. The price is often the best selling point in track housing but just how much savings might be at stake depends on which builder the tract builder is being compared to. There may be a significant difference in price when compared to a higher-quality custom home builder but the craftsmanship, specialty skilled tradesmen and products used are not intended to be the same. Elements like cabinets, hardware and appliances are the more obvious areas where money may have been saved, often at the expense of quality. Other areas might include framing components, insulation, paint grades, shingle weight, and carpet grade to mention a few. These components are not obvious to the typical buyer, especially someone not familiar with construction methods and materials. Lastly, resale value is the greatest disadvantage to a tract home. There is enormous competition when selling a tract home. Price and/or major renovations are usually the only things that make one more appealing than another identical house down the street.
5 Good Reasons to Build or Buy a Custom Home:
- It's yours. Creating your one-of-a-kind custom home to fit the needs of your family and your unique lifestyle is the top reason to invest in a custom home. The ability to have a deep understanding of the construction of your home from the dirt up and to have a choice in everything from the wiring to the materials used gives you the peace of mind that your dream home will be exactly as you dream it to be for generations to come.
- Energy efficiency. Custom built homes can allow for updated technologies for energy efficiency. Better windows, better insulation options, passive solar and more all contribute to the long-term benefits of having a custom built home.
- Custom appliances, fixtures and hardware. Being able to add the appliances and features in the house that you want can help you save more money in the long run as they are more likely to be high quality and long lasting. Picking out the appliances and customizing them to fit your needs for your family is a huge benefit to building a new custom home. Buying a previously existing home may cost you more money when you factor in that walls, wiring, drains, or pipes may need to change to accommodate your updated and energy efficient appliances.
- Privacy and personal space. Building your custom home to your specifications can be built to maximize the amount of privacy and personal space that you need. Often tract home builders boast "open floor plans" because it's what first-time home buyers are most likely to seek out. However, many people soon realize that, as their families grow, there are other issues to consider such as noise, storage space, clutter preferences and privacy. Your custom home builder and architect can help you figure out which orientation is the most beneficial for achieving the results you want for the personal space that you need. They can also help you come up with creative ways to maximize natural light and views while still maintaining plenty of storage and wall space and a private layout for your home.
- Saving money in the long run. An older home or a cheaply built tract house may cost you more money when you’re constantly needing to fix, update or upgrade certain items and parts of your home or if it's not energy efficient. The key to comparing home prices and price per square foot is to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Do they have the same features and built-ins? Were they constructed with the same quality of materials and upgrades that influence energy-efficiency and the longevity of the home?
Rocky Point Custom Homes has been a small, boutique builder in Calgary for over 15 years allowing us to build strong and honest face-to-face relationships with each of our clients. We also take great pride in maintaining excellent working relationships with the best trades and companies in the province. As a company, it is our top priority to make sure that every step of the way is as easy as possible for our clients and we are among only a handful of builders in the country that make full use of cutting-edge web-based technology so you can participate in every step of your build 24/7.