This article will focus on the amount time it takes to build custom homes vs. personalized production homes. The time needed to build a house is an important aspect of a home buying decision especially if the buyer is selling their current home and/or is relocating to another area for work or military reassignment.
If you are considering the purchase of a new home, you may be trying to decide whether to buy a custom home or a personalized production home. There are very distinct differences between a custom home and a production home; therefore, you should spend some time learning the specific details of each before you make any decisions. Some of the questions you will need to have answered are:
Cost: What is the square foot cost for each type of home?
Time to Build: How long does it take to build a house?
Pros/Cons: What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of home?
Options and Selections: What options and selections will you get to choose?
Warranty: What level of new home warranty should you expect with each type of home?
Touch Points: How much personalized service will you get from each type of builder?
Learning everything you can about the different types of new homes available will allow you to make a more educated decision about which option is best for you and your family. Please read our series of articles on this topic for more information and answers to all the above questions.
Custom Homes: Time to Build
The time it takes to build a custom home will depend on the size and complexity of the home, where it’s being built and the time of year. It could take anywhere from 10 to 16 months to build, depending on its size and assuming everything goes according to plan. This time frame is based on the lot (land) being clear and ready to build on and that there are no construction delays due to weather conditions, change orders or any other factors beyond a builders control.
One of the biggest variables in custom home build time is the customer. There are many decisions that have to be made along the way, and if they are not made in time to get selected items when they are needed, the contractor can lose weeks of time during the build process. Change orders will usually extend the build time as well, and can cause substantial delays if they occur later in the build process rather than near the beginning when the structure has not yet been built.
In addition to the time it takes to build the home, you will need to account for time to have the home designed, or purchased plans modified, as well as having the plans approved by the local building department. For an architect-designed custom home, the design process can take three-to-six months or longer plus an additional month for permitting. If you are having purchased plans modified and checked by an architect, the timeline is considerably shorter, but can still take two-to-three months including permitting.
Personalized Production Homes: Time to Build
The building process of a personalized production home usually takes between three and four months to reach completion; however, it can sometimes take up to six months, depending on the weather, construction supply delays and any requested customer design changes that are implemented along the way.
Because the floor plans offered by production builders have been built many times before, there are usually no delays in getting them through the local building department and starting home construction. The contractor knows exactly what materials are needed to build the home as well as the subcontractors that will be used. The subcontractors know what materials they need for the project as well because they have worked on the same or similar floor plan before. This allows all materials to be ordered at the proper time to ensure that the home construction flows smoothly.
The production home builder, or their selections coordinator, will meet with the home buyer to go over new home selections and options before the home construction is started to ensure that all selection items are ordered and will be available when they are needed to avoid delays.
Just as in custom homes, the buyer is the biggest variable in production home building, if they buy the home before it is built. If they are not available to make selections in a timely manner, or make changes along the way requiring change orders to be generated and produced, there can be delays in the build time.
Most production home builders have developed good processes to avoid delays and can get a new home built with final inspection complete before the projected close date so the buyers can move in when needed, especially if they are on a tight schedule because of relocation or the sale of another home.
The Bottom Line
If you are on a tight schedule, or have a specific date that you need to move into your new home, but you still want to have a home built so you can make personalized choices, going with a personalized production home is a safer bet as custom homes can often take longer than expected to build.
The decision about whether to buy a custom home or a personalized production home is a very personal one and one only you can make. You should take as much time as you need to study all your options, and only then will you be able to make the decision that is right for you and your family.
If you find yourself torn about which direction to make, you may want to visit some personalized production home builder locations to get a feel for what they have to offer. If after that you don’t find anything that suits your needs, you can always contact a custom home builder to compare the costs and options they have available.