Why is building a custom home better than a prebuilt home?

There is no question buying or building a new home is one of the biggest investments that opens a world of possibilities. However, deciding between custom build vs. prebuilt home is one of the many decisions that need to be made early on.

It’s crucial to understand the builder / new construction market and the preferences of prospective home buyers — which tend to be fairly evenly split when it comes to newly built versus prebuilt homes. Recent research reveals that home buyers in and around the western half of the USA are increasingly drawn to newly built homes.


But what option is best for you? What are the key differences between custom homes vs. prebuilt homes, and what makes one more or less desirable than the other? Are custom homes more expensive and if so, what advantages do prebuilt homes offer?

Both new construction and prebuilt have their advantages and disadvantages, and deciding the best approach to take depends on some basic factors including your needs, lifestyle, financial position, time, and desire to control the details. Thankfully, the differences are clear-cut — so if the above questions are bouncing around in your mind, worry not... we will be discussing everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

How to Decide Custom Home vs. Prebuilt Home

If you’re in the process of building a new home and still wondering which path is right for you: custom build vs. prebuilt home? It’s worth considering how specific you want to be in the design of your home, your spending expectations, as well as the pros and cons of the two options.

What is a Custom Home?

A custom home projectis exactly what it sounds like — a home that’s unique and one-of-a-kind; where you collaborate directly with an architect, homebuilding contractor or firm, and various other parties involved in the logistics to plan, design, and select every single detail about the home’s construction, layout, and finish. And when we say “EVERYTHING” we mean having the absolute freedom and flexibility to customize the home as much as you’d like and make it truly your own.

Why build a custom home you ask? Building from the ground up is perfect if you want a home that speaks to your aesthetic preferences and needs (both now and in the future) and generally not willing to compromise on your vision. What’s more, a custom home requires having a plot of land to build it on… so you’ll need to acquire that before anything.

Here’s a basic overview of custom build:

●        Land is purchased separately by the homeowner before the building process kicks off.

●        Homeowners choose and work directly with a trusted architect and homebuilder or design-build firm from start to finish.

●        Homeowners are more involved in the process of choosing the perfect layout, features and functional amenities that they really want and need.

●        For a successful outcome, all details must be considered, including building budget down to the type of materials and finishes used.

●        Custom home building contractor oversees the construction process based on final floor plan and homeowners’ in-home selection of colors and finishes — both interior and exterior.

What is a Prebuilt Home?

Simply put, a prebuilt home is a move-in ready residential property. This could either be a house that a builder has just constructed or it could be one that is older and has already had at least one owner.

Purchasing an existing home offers two primary advantages: convenience and cost. Essentially, the process involves getting pre-approved by your lender, shopping around, picking out a home that’s ideal for you and your family, and making an offer.

Engaging an experienced real estate agent to streamline the process makes it even faster. They will find appropriate properties based on your requirements and guide you through negotiations, home inspections, as well as paperwork. The convenience of getting an offer approved and being able to move in right away (within a month or two depending on the circumstances) is compelling enough for many property buyers to choose a prebuilt residential home over a new build.

Swimming Pool

Convenience vs. customization

While there are various steps involved in the purchase of a prebuilt home; everything from financing and viewing to making an offer and closing a deal, these can however be completed within a few short months, making it a more convenient option if you’re on a tight schedule and looking to move in within a short time.

Odds are, too, the home you’re purchasing is located in a particular established neighborhood — near work, school, friends, and/or family — and will likely have mature landscaping. If you can’t start from scratch or if time is of the essence, then prebuilt may be an ideal option for you.

For those who desire to build a new home, it’s difficult to give a precise timeline as every project is unique. Conversely, it may take about 6 to 8 months depending on its size, materials, and overall complexity. However, the sentimentality of living in a house designed specifically for you and your family makes the wait all worth it.

The downside of settling for existing residential property is that it can be very difficult to find exactly what you want and the house may be functionally obsolete, no longer meeting the needs of modern living and future expansion. On the contrary, working directly with an architect to conceive a new home will help you create precisely what you need — as close to perfection as you allow it.

Unless you find an existing home that ticks off all the boxes and is in perfect condition, you may need to factor in additional costs of any repairs, renovations, decorating, and/or landscaping to get the home up to standards. Building your own house allows you to choose the best materials, pay more attention to the little details, and keep a close eye on the construction progress and workmanship.

The pivotal question: Are custom-built homes more expensive?


Then there's the cost of a custom home vs. a Prebuilt home. If you decide to build a new home from scratch and wondering if it’s more expensive than shopping for an existing property? In many cases, yes…

It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that getting everything you want in a home is in herently more expensive. According to Home Advisor, many factors influence the bottom-line price, and figures aren’t the same for all new homes built across the U.S — however, the average cost of building a new house is $302,817 not including the cost of the lot, with most homeowners spending up to $452,309 to build a new home that meets their specific design and functional requirements — and labor representing roughly 40% of the project costs, while permits, design fees, and materials make up the rest.

Beyond the upfront cost, new builds generally have lower ongoing maintenance and running costs, which, in the long-term, saves you money, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). For some, using excellent quality material ensures long-term value — and eliminating all the renovation costs that a prebuilt home may present along with the legal fees of transferring the bond makes new build small potatoes.

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Advantages of Building a Custom Home


The start of the COVID-19 pandemic brought about massive changes and taught us just how important it is to have multifunctional and multipurpose spaces for living,working, virtual school, and relaxing.

Custom Home Model

Customs homes are not for everyone; however, if you are focused on building adaptable rooms that can change and grow with your family — something that became so imperative while living through a pandemic and spending more time than ever in our homes — as well as built exactly to your liking, then building from the ground up is a better option.


Here are the benefits of building your own home:

1.       Floor plan and customization that fits your lifestyle

one enormous benefit of building a new house is flexibility. The freedom to design your floor plan and customize the most fundamental parts of your home allows you to meet every facet of your expectations.

A higher degree of personalization means every detail will require your input, from the initial layout and modifications — moving walls, putting in vaulted ceilings, adding closets, windows, and doors, etc — to the materials used to build as well as finishes used internally including flooring, lighting and plumbing fixtures — not to mention an even greater opportunity to dial in-home energy efficiencies such as underfloor heating, lighting, and landscaping, which usually leads to substantially reduced monthly energy bills.

2.       Explore more of the latest technologies

Further more, custom quality homes allow homeowners to explore more of the latest technologies that cater to modern living. Integrated home technology ; everything from smart appliances and lighting to multi-room entertainment and home automation is all on the table if you’re building a modern custom home, and will make it possible to efficiently manage busy days for the whole family.

3.       Opportunity to choose where to build

Custom construction is all about choices, and one of the top benefits of building a house is the freedom to choose your preferred location. Whether you already have an existing lot, plan on purchasing land, love new-home communities, or prefer an already-established community, or looking to settle in a more secluded area, you can build a custom home in a place that’s ideal for you.

4.       Assured construction quality

As building engineering and innovation increasingly improve, a new house ensures that you use the only quality material with higher durability, meet current building codes, and have up-to-date technology for the best dream home possible. This in turn reduces the worries and costs of big repairs, add-ons or appliance upgrades, and any sudden remodeling throughout the first 10 to 20 years.


5.       Quality and budget control

Purchasing a prebuilt house can feel like a gamble, unforeseen maintenance pitfalls that present themselves a few months or years after can get pricey, fast.

It’s worth repeating: building a new home means everything in it is new. New home materials and finishes, appliances, and quality furnishings mean there will be less to watch out for. Additionally, the limited warranty offered by homebuilders if something should break greatly contributes to the benefits of new construction homes.

6.       Low to no competition

With new homebuyer confidence rising, multiple offers for existing homes are prevalent. Having land and building a new home ultimately gets rid of the stress involved in winning a bidding war that occurs amid an intense seller's market.

Zero competition makes owning a truly custom home that will hold its value for years to come to an intangible asset. What’s more, working with an experienced realtor to find the best lot in long-standing or up-and-coming neighborhoods and managing all the details for a seamless transition from concept to structure while staying within budget takes away the stress of carrying all the responsibility.

Better for the Environment and Recouping Investment

As a new homeowner, you can also take it a step further by incorporating the most efficient and sustainable materials available right off the bat, such as appliances and fixtures with high energy-efficiency ratings, bamboo flooring, and solar panels, as well as choosing local plantlife for gardens and landscaping.

Of course, all the flexibility provided by building your own home often comes with a large initial investment — time and cost. However, the ability to tweak the design, substitute different materials and fixtures before the building commences, and maintain good communication with your homebuilder can certainly save thousands of dollars and ensure that the project runs more safely, efficiently, and appropriately so you can begin moving in sooner rather than later.

Newer homes on the market are typically more desirable than an older house that wasn’t recently built from the ground up. So, when life’s milestones come and go and you’re looking to sell, that on its own can result in a significant profit.

Why Building New Custom Home in California is Cost-effective?

Owning property in California opens you to a new world of possibilities. As one of the biggest states in the USA with natural beauty, fantastic weather, a wide array of outdoor activities, and easy-going culture, there’s something for everyone hence a cost-effective home building sounds like a dream come true. Below are some of the reasons why owning property in California may be the best decision:

Custom Home Exterior

●        Thriving and growing job market

Also known as the Golden State, California job market continues to thrive with an offering of countless variety of employment opportunities. Being home to huge companies like Apple, Google, Amazon.com, Tesla Motors, and The Walt Disney Company, the diverse collection of industries contribute to its robust economy. Even more attractive is its gross state product of $2.7 trillion, which captures the hearts of many people looking to establish their roots in the sunny state.

●        Owning property is a good investment in California

With the many amazing cities and scenic areas California has, there’s no mystery why owning property would be a great investment. Seal Beach, Santa Barbara, Irvine, Lake County, and Palo Alto are just some of the few places to get established or retire and build a new custom home. More importantly, the last couple of years have seen arise in property value, which means owning a residential property can net you a great return on investment.

●        Full of city neighborhoods

California has lots of diversity and numerous neighborhoods where families can make lifelong homes. The state is a melting pot of culture and neighborhoods are filled with characterful local stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and cocktail bars. Plenty of public and private schools makes it ideal for new couples looking to start a family and lures families seeking to relocate from a different state.

●        Packed with entertainment options for all ages

Some of the best cities to settle in — San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento — are home to the best beaches, deserts, world-class ski resorts, forests, and lakes that offer boating and fishing opportunities. If you’re on the search for an active lifestyle, owning a home in California is your best bet.

●        The weather is fantastic year-round

Favorable weather year-round means ample chances to spend more time in the great outdoors enjoying sunny weather, family outings, concerts and abundant beach activities. For this reason, California is one of the popular cities to reside and retire.

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