The Case for Custom Homes

The Case for Custom Homes

We live in a pre fabricated world. Everything you desire ready in an instant, at the click of a button. Nine times out of ten, it seems we now opt for the quicker, cheaper, easier option. Even the home building world is trending in this direction. In true Henry Ford style, houses are now put together in a factory, shipped to site, and puzzled together on location. Imagine the thought of that hundreds of years ago, your house being built miles away from its final resting place. Houses built in a factory are no doubt cheaper, many decisions are made for you, and they can be move in ready faster. Is there any down side? Why would anyone choose to opt for a custom built home? Well I think we ought to explore that together...

Are you excited to build your forever home? Does that thought of getting exactly what you want thrill you? Most people would love to build a dream house at some point in time. On a perfect location, overlooking whatever topography they crave. For me, that would be a house on a hill, looking off my back porch at twilight, watching the deer come out and play in the setting sun. For others that's a mountain view or seaside by the salty ocean. Here is where you need to explore custom home building. We all know that real estate is LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Now imagine that the plan you pick out from a house factory doesn't fully capture the essence of your perfect spot. What a let down! Working with a custom home builder, you can tweak plans, or even start from scratch in order to bring your location into perfect encapsulation. Custom home builders will take the time to work alongside you and the architect to brainstorm ideas for your home. You may end up choosing designs that you have never seen before, just because they took the time to shoot around an idea. I'd say, if you're going to live there forever, you might as well like it.

Post frame house beautifully displaying the St Joseph River.

If you're still reading this post, I'm going to assume that you are a homeowner. If you are a homeowner, I'm also going to assume that you don't look forward to energy bills in the hundreds of dollars. If those both check out, than I know you would prefer to reduce energy costs if and when you buy a new home. Why in the world would you build a new house if it wasn't going to be sustainably energy efficient?! The last thing you would want is high energy bills on top of a new mortgage. Custom built homes offer you TONS of options to increase energy efficiency. You can choose the most energy efficient windows, doors, appliances, insulation type, heating and cooling systems, exterior materials, and the building system itself can produce changes in energy outcomes. For example, a post frame home is far more efficient than a stick built. Post frames offer a 10" cavity, with an uninterrupted 8' span. Stick frames by contrast will most often be 6" cavities with thermal breaks every 16" due to stud layout. With a factory built house, you're subject to the efficiency that they produce, nothing more nothing less.

Options, options, options. To some that is the most overwhelming and scary part of choosing a custom home builder. There are just so many choices. I've even heard people remark that they like prefab homes because a lot of the choices are made for you. There's something to be said for that too, but is that REALLY what people want? If you're building your forever home do you want Joe Shmo from the factory to make decisions on your house for you? Although it is a lot of decisions, working with an experienced and well qualified contractor will take away lots of stress. An experienced builder will know what decisions need to be made at what time, when to pursue options, and when to pull back and allow choices to be made at more opportune times. After all, the tile you pick to go in your shower now might not look the way you think it should once the house is actually built. With custom homes you can take samples right into the under construction home to view it firsthand. That itself is priceless.

Let's consider the fact that you may not live in the house forever. It actually happens a fair bit. Homeowners grow too old, or move closer to family. Houses that are less than 10 or 20 years go up for sale. If you build a house that may be going up for sale someday, wouldn't you want to maximize your return on it? Now what do you think will be sold for more money, a custom built house, or a pre assembled house from a factory that runs production at a breakneck pace? Taking into consideration all the paragraphs that we've just covered, it's very obvious to see that a custom built home will inherently retain value at a far better rate. The next buyer, will most likely fall in love with the very thing that you fell in love with about the house. The small or grand details that you chose to build into the house will grab their attention, and win them over. Most people don't "fall in love" with a pre fabricated house. They simply choose one that they like fairly well, and isn't too hard on the wallet. When the house goes to sell, you'll be hoping for someone else to fall in love with a house that you never even fell in love with.

To wrap everything up, let me just say that much more could've been said. In the interest of brevity, I chose to highlight only a few important pros to custom home building. The simply truth is that many will still seek a lower dollar pre built house, and that's okay. Custom building isn't for everyone, but if you're looking to built a "fall in love" house, a forever home, the house of your dreams, I think the choice is pretty clear.

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