Investing in Your Perfect Home: The Difference between Project and Custom Building


Building a new home is one of the most significant steps you will ever make. As such, it is not a decision you should make lightly. It requires considering all of your options, reviewing the pros and cons, and seeing what fits your budget and needs the most. The most common turning point is choosing between a project home and custom building. As it happens with all things in life, both of these options have their advantages and disadvantages. If you are having some doubts about which one is better for you, this article will help you figure that out.

Budget considerations

Let’s start with the first thing people think about when they decide to construct a house: the price. While the cost may vary depending on the size of the house, location, amenities, and many other factors, it is believed that project homes can save the buyer up to half the sum. However, if you find a good custom builder, you may be able to negotiate a fair offer. Also, custom builders construct the home to suit the client. Unlike project homes, they have no hidden extras. Everything is calculated into the final price.

Time needed to build the house

Houses are not something that you should buy in a hurry. Still, in some cases (e.g. a growing family), you will need to take that into consideration, too. Due to working with standard designs and limited planning requirements, project homes are faster to build (between four and nine months). Custom building requires extensive planning and consultation, and it takes between twelve and eighteen months for your new home to become move-in ready.

Degree of customization

It is impossible to expect the same house plan to be equally adequate for every occupant. While project builders do their best to create a home that will meet all the average needs, they can rarely go beyond the ordinary. Sometimes you will get the chance to modify the floor plan, or require additional amenities for a higher price, but basically that’s it. Custom buildings, on the other hand, are highly customizable. There are some great examples of luxury home builders in Sydney, which build handcrafted homes tailored to their clients’ needs to the degree of exceeding every expectation. This way, you can be sure your home is fully functional and built with every occupant’s necessities on mind.

Site meetings

While project builders always have a display home to show their clients, they rarely allow the buyers to visit the site during the building process. As opposed to that, custom builders usually meet the clients on the construction site throughout the project. This will enable you to be involved and feel like a part of the process. Your opinion is valued as you get to see how the work progresses and have the chance to give your input.

Consultation and change

As it is already clear to you, project builders have their pre-established floor plans, which can be added some pre-established extra features. On the other hand, custom builders allow for the property to evolve through the mentioned site meetings and consultations. You will have the chance to communicate with project managers who might share new ideas with you regarding functionality, design, and appearance as the project moves forward. This creates a trustful client-builder relationship where you can see how invested the builder is in your project.

Location and construction site

Project home builders most frequently deal with volume, and therefore they tend to avoid complex sites. If you have a specific block where you want your home to be, this can be difficult to pull off with project homes. The flexibility of custom builders is reflected not only in their ability to build a house to your exact wishes, but also in being able to create it according to your block requirements. This is particularly useful if you want to construct a property on a narrow or sloping site.

Work included in the price

Building a home doesn’t only come down to setting the foundations and climbing your way up. It requires more extensive actions in the form of demolition, earthworks, tree clearing, asbestos removal, retaining walls, etc. With project builders, these works are generally not included in the price. Sometimes they can be negotiable, but project builders rarely take on complex construction and prefer sticking to standard homes. Unlike them, custom home builders consider all this to be a part of their job.

The sales pitch and negotiations

When considering a project home, you will meet a sales agent who will probably push for a signed contract and try to upsell big floor areas and upscale amenities. While custom built homes are often considered to be a more expensive option, you actually have the chance to ask about money-saving features in conversation with builders and architects. For example, they can build a small floor plan that is functional and appears larger, or group the plumbing together, etc.

The question of using a custom builder or a project builder is far more complicated than saying “one is better than the other.” It requires taking all the pros and cons of both options to see which ones matter the most to you, but generally speaking, custom building can provide you with a greater number of possibilities at a fair price.

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