When you decide you’re going to build a home instead of buying an existing one, it’s a big undertaking. The decisions you will need to make could seem endless. It will start with the decision to build either a custom home or a production home. Then, this decision will lead to the purchase of the right lot for your new home.

The right lot will make a different, especially if you choose to build a custom home. With some lots (usually found in subdivisions or housing developments) you won’t really get the option to build a true custom home. Sure, you might get to pick a few features and choose from a handful of layouts, but you’re basically stuck with a production home.

Before you make the decision to build your own home, it’s important to understand the differences between custom homes and production homes. Here’s a look at the differences, which will help you to make the right decision.

What is a Production Home?

A production home is basically a cookie-cutter home where the layout is very similar, if not the same, as the other homes in the neighborhood. These homes come from large-volume homebuilders and they are also known as “tract” homes. Often, production homes are found in subdivisions and all of the homes share basic design elements.

Usually, the builder will own the lots and will build all of the homes in the subdivision. Many national and regional homebuilders create production homes and have excellent reputations.

What is a Custom Home?

A custom home is just what it sounds like. It’s a home you have built to your specific needs (within reason). When you choose to build a custom home, you get to choose the unique features, layout and design elements you prefer. The process starts completely from scratch and you have an entire world of possibilities instead of just a handful.

The one thing that will either limit you or open up additional options, when building a custom home, is the lot you choose. Usually, the homeowner will find their own lot with a custom home, but in some situations it’s a lot owned by the builder. Usually, a custom home is associated with luxury and higher quality work.

Pros and Cons of a Production Home

Production homes certainly fulfill a necessity within the market. However, they also come with a handful of disadvantages. This type of home can be built at a wide range of price points and the process isn’t nearly as involved. Since you’ll be selecting from a handful of floor plans and options, you won’t be designing the home completely from scratch. The process tends to move a bit quicker, as well.

The major cons of production homes start with the “cookie-cutter” design. You may find out your neighbors are basically living in the same or a very similar home. You will also be limited on the options and upgrades you can choose, such as flooring, cabinets or even the configuration of specific rooms. The builder won’t provide much flexibility in the materials used or the finishes, either.

With production homes, the process may be quicker and less stressful, but you don’t get to build a home to fit your specific needs. Instead, you choose from a handful of options, colors and layouts.

Pros and Cons of Custom Homes

Custom homes come with many benefits and some are huge benefits. When you find your own lot and you decide to build a custom home, you gain the ability to choose what you want and the flexibility to build on your terms. With the right lot, you can choose the view you want from the master bedroom, the living room and even the dining room. Since this type of home is built from scratch, you have full design freedom.

The uniqueness of your home is completely up to you. Of course, the team assembled by the builder will help to guide you through the process, but you will ultimately be in charge of choosing everything from the size of the home and the layout to the doorknobs and the flooring.

While custom homes give you all types of design freedom, they do come with a few disadvantages compared to production homes. Custom homes take longer to build, in most cases, and the design process comes with more stress. There’s more room for errors and setbacks since it’s a custom home and not the same home the builders just finished next door.

Which is Right for You?

One isn’t better than the other, overall. However, if you want to build your dream home, it starts with choosing the right lot. Then, you need a builder willing to create a custom home for your specific needs and wants. It will be very difficult to get your specific dream home from a production home.

If you want to build the home of your dreams and you have a large enough budget, the custom home option is probably the right choice. However, if your budget is smaller and you just want a brand new home, a production home may be the right choice for your needs.