Remember way back in 2019 when you could sell your home and buy a new one immediately for a predictable price? Well thanks to Covid those days are either gone or temporarily on hold. A lot of homeowners have started considering a custom home for the first time in their lives due to a lack of inventory in the real estate market. If that sounds like you, keep reading to learn more about a subdivision home versus custom build. I’m sharing my designer thoughts on all the things to consider, including:
- Customization Options
- Floor Plan Options
SUBDIVISION HOME VERSUS CUSTOM HOME – Pros and Cons
CUSTOMIZATION OPTIONS –
Now this is where it gets exciting! When you build a custom home the world is your oyster in terms of all your finishes from flooring, to exterior cladding. No detail is included without your input. You end up with the home that is absolutely, 100% you!
In a subdivision home you are buying the selections made by the previous owner or the builder. If you decide to renovate parts of the home you can customize it to your liking but that obviously impacts the overall cost of the home.
When considering between a subdivision home versus custom build it’s super important to ask yourself whether having complete control over the details and finishes in your home is important or not (link to 20 Luxuries post) . There’s no subdivision home that will satisfy you if you’ve spent your adult life on Pinterest looking at beautiful homes and dreaming of your new build.
FLOOR PLAN OPTIONS –
If you’ve toured all the subdivision homes that are for sale locally and you have an issue with the layout and floor plan of all of them, a custom build might be a good fit for you.
While subdivision homes do come in all shapes and sizes, they tend to be very similar in their floor plans.
A custom build gives you immense flexibility, even if you start with a purchased plan. You can extend the length and width of rooms. You can change ceiling height and you can put a main floor bedroom on the 2nd floor.
These are all changes that would require a lot of money and disruption to do to a subdivision home.
Like I said, not so long ago we could put an offer on a new home with an expectation of what it would cost. Currently homes are selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars above asking. And for purchasers who are turned off by this, they are suddenly finding themselves willing to consider a custom home.
The price of a custom home starts when you purchase the land. Next you’ll need a builder, architect or draftsperson and permits will need to be obtained. Before you’ve even put a shovel in the ground you’ve had a significant cash outlay.
The obvious pro to buying a subdivision home is that you know exactly what your costs of purchase are once your offer is accepted.
There is no certainty in terms of the number with a custom build because your finishes will determine the overall price per square foot. While there is certainly a range you’ll need to control your impulses if you want to stay on budget with a custom home.
On average, the variant between buying a new, subdivision home versus custom home is approximately 30%-50%.
Depending on where you live, waiting for permits can be an excruciatingly long wait. In a lot of urban centres the delay is close to a year. Even the best case scenario in a smaller community will result in a few to several months of waiting.
Once the permits are in place construction begins. There is no clear cut answer as to how long a build will take because there are a lot of factors at play. What size is the home, how available are your team of trades? And covid has caused such massive disruptions in supply chain that nothing is predictable. I’ve heard of appliances taking a year to arrive where a few years ago it might have been 2-3 months. You should anticipate 7 months to a year on average for a custom build.
If you’ve already sold a house you will need to rent something to get you through the long road ahead with a custom build.
On the other hand, buying a subdivision home means you can negotiate the terms of your move-in date. Usually, you’ll be looking at 2-3 months from the acceptance of offer to move in date. If you’re really uncomfortable with the idea of being displaced while you wait for your custom home, you might need to reconsider.
When considering a subdivision home versus custom home there’s not a clear advantage in location with either option. For both, it depends entirely upon what’s available at the time you’re ready to buy.
You could wait for years to find a subdivision home in your dream neighbourhood only to be disappointed with the home itself. Conversely, if you have your heart set on building custom in an area that you’ve been dreaming of you’ll need to secure the lot before that can happen.
Lots are not easy to come by. If you’re purchasing a lot with a home and tearing down the old to build your custom home, you can’t predict what will come along in the price range that makes sense financially. Even if you’re outside of a city and can buy a lot without any house attached, you won’t always get your desired location.
With every new criterion you add to your list, the wait will become longer. Need a waterfront lot? Prefer a pie shaped lot? These types of preferences are available but can you find it on the street you love? You might have to wait.
Subdivision Home versus Custom Build – Which One is Right for You?
As you can see, there’s no clear cut winner when it comes to the decision between a subdivision home versus custom build.
Do you have time, money or a long list of desires? They all lead to a different conclusion.
I can help you design the home of your dreams whether you go the conventional route with a previously owned home or a custom build. My Full-Service design will take you from concept to completion.