Custom Versus Spec: How These 2 New Home Types Compare

The idea of purchasing a new home that has never before been lived in is one that is increasingly popular among today's homebuyers. But these prospective buyers may not fully understand the different types of new homes and the potential benefits they might gain by choosing one type over the other. 

If you are interested in purchasing a new home and are trying to decide between a custom built home and a builder's spec house, this information can help you decide which one is right for you. 

The spec house 

While both builder spec houses and custom homes have benefits for buyers who want a home that has never before been occupied, it is important that they fully understand what a spec house is.

Spec is actually a term coined by the residential housing industry for a house that a building contractor builds as a purely speculative venture. Without the input and designs of an involved buyer, spec houses are typically constructed to have a generic appeal that could work for most buyers. 

Builders commonly use new materials they already have on hand, as well as inexpensive ones that are sold as builder or contractor grade, instead of materials that are considered to be high end. Doing this allows the builder to keep the cost of the build as low as possible and pass on some of the savings to the eventual buyer. 

The custom house

A custom home is very different from the average spec home in that its design, building materials, finishes, and even the lot on which it is built can be selected by the buyer. Custom homes are often more expensive to purchase but usually hold their value better due to the higher quality of the materials used in the construction. 

In addition to offering better potential resale value, a custom home can allow buyers to choose features that accommodate specific needs or desires that are likely difficult to find in a spec house. For instance, older buyers might choose to incorporate elevators, roll-in showers, or other features that would make it possible for them to be comfortable in their home as they age and develop mobility or health issues.

Custom homes can also allow buyers to use environmentally friendly building materials and more easily integrate technology, such as solar power and smart features, into the design. To learn more about both spec and custom homes, interested buyers should contact a reputable home construction contractor in their area to ask questions and get the information they need to make the right decision.