If you’re a Northern Virginia homeowner or renter looking to upgrade to a newly built home, you have three options available to you: buy a home that has already been built on spec; buy a semi-custom development home; or have a custom home designed and built to your specific requirements. The choice is not an easy one, but can often be arrived at through asking questions that ultimately guide you to the option that best suits your family’s needs and current lifestyle.
When we first meet with homeowners, they are often hesitant to commit to one choice or the other. We understand. Your dream home is most likely the biggest financial investment you’ll ever make. It stands to reason you want to research location, price, market trends, and other related house-hunting factors. That’s why at Foley it’s one of our top priorities to make sure homeowners feel confident is making such an important life decision.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each available option, so let’s take a brief look at each type.
Buy a Spec House
Spec homes are usually built with no particular buyer in mind. Most often they are fully completed, though you may find one still under construction, in which case you might have some input on some selections such as paint, countertops and tile. Otherwise, the builder has already made most of the design decisions, and those decisions will tend to be fairly conservative so as to appeal to the widest market.
Assuming the builder is reputable, spec homes are usually well-built, balanced in terms of upgrades and amenities, and located in good neighborhoods. Because they’re completed, they’re ready for immediate occupancy. On the other hand, spec homes are definitely someone else’s idea of what your home should look like. If a spec home does not contain everything on your list of wants and needs, you’ll have to invest in those changes yourself.
Buy a Semi-Custom Development Home
Semi-custom development homes are built from existing blueprints, but you can typically amend the plans to meet your personal preferences. However, once construction begins, there will be less flexibility for changes. You’ll find many modern conveniences and design elements, but your opportunity for expressing your indvidiuality will be limited. And while you’ll be able to choose from a set palette of finishes and upgrades, it’s possible you’ll be stuck with a lesser grade of quality or functionality.
Build a Custom Home
If you’ve long dreamed of someday owning a home with a personal game room, cozy book-filled library, or chef’s kitchen, then a custom home may be your best option. Designing and building your home to your own specification elevates the home buying experience to a whole different level.
Perhaps the biggest advantage to a custom home is that you are much more likely to get exactly the home you want. For many homeowners, this alone is enough to choose a custom home over an existing one, but there are other great advantages. Custom homes tend to be built more efficiently, and the buyer controls the lot purchase, so location is within their control. Some homeowners may worry about their ability to find the perfect builder, the perfect floor plan, the perfect products, etc. The flipside is that they are much more involved in the actual construction process, which many find downright fun.
The Bottom Line
We hope this post has helped you get a clearer picture on the pros and cons of whether to build or buy a custom home in Northern Virginia. In our next post, we’ll go into more detail about situations and questions to ponder if you decide to go the custom home route. No matter what you decide, working with a qualified and experienced professional will ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.