Designing a custom home to suit your specific needs and wants is a dream for most, but is not necessarily for everyone.
There are several factors to consider before making the decision about whether to design and build a custom home or opt for a pre-designed one.
If you have a specific deadline for handover, for example you need to vacate from your rental property by a certain date, or you are simply time conscious, you must understand that the time involved in designing and building a custom home is greater than if you were to go with a pre-designed one. Your builder will already have most of the construction documentation for a pre-designed home, therefore the design process is much more streamlined. When designing a custom home, designers and builders essentially start from scratch. The time it takes to build a pre-designed home is also generally quicker than building a custom home, simply because a pre-designed home has been built before and many construction hurdles have already been overcome in the past.
The amount of time and involvement needed by you is also far greater when designing a custom home. As you have much more choice, you need to conduct more research to ensure your design team meets your specific needs and wants. There is a lot more back and forth between yourself and your design team, to ensure your design brief is hit. Expect more meetings, which will result in time off work or a babysitter for the kids.
When comparing a pre-designed home with a custom home (factoring in the same requirements), you will be paying more to build a custom home. There is also a level of unknown in terms of contract price, as you cannot fix a price for a custom designed home until the end of the design process. If you are after a “starting from” price upfront, then you should be looking to choose a pre-designed home. Expect to pay more upfront if you decide to design a custom home, as the costs involved are greater for the design process.
If you have very specific needs and wants, then you shouldn’t settle for a pre-designed home (so long as your budget is permitting).
The advantages of building a custom home are quite obvious – you are able to design a home that meets your family’s specific requirements, without compromise. Be patient with the process and remember that your involvement is much greater than if you were to choose a pre-designed home, therefore any delays in getting back to your design team, will result in a delay to construction commencement.
If time, your budget or required level of involvement does not allow you to design a custom home, but you aren’t interested in living in a home that hasn’t been designed for your specific needs and wants, then choose a builder that will allow you to make changes to their pre-designed homes. Not all builders allow this, but if you find one that does, then you are able to manipulate the design that best suits your needs, so that it is tailored to your requirements. This can be a good compromise to designing a “full custom” home and will provide the comfort of cementing a “starting from” price at the beginning of the process.