The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines a custom home as a home that is designed to meet the specific wants and needs of the homeowner. A future homeowner will typically hire an architect or team of architects to design their custom home, be it a small architectural firm or a large firm that specializes in designing custom homes. For the most part, potential homeowners feel that “custom home” is synonymous with “dream home,” so one may think that there are only positives to this type of venture. While the number of drawbacks of purchasing a custom home is much less than the positives of purchasing a custom home, potential homeowners may still have to deal with a few issues that may arise — typically during the design process and when the time comes to sell the home.
The drawbacks of purchasing a custom home are related to costs, commuting, and time. The price to design and build a custom home may be several thousand and in some cases, several hundred thousand dollars more than purchasing a pre-existing home or pre-existing house plans. More importantly, the length of time it may take to unload a custom home, in case you decide to sell it years down the line, may be considerably longer than the amount of time it takes to unload other types of homes for several reasons. Remember, a custom home designed by you and your team is your dream home. Chances are your idea of a dream home is not the next guys. So some of those personal touches and “amenities” may actually work against the sale of your custom home. Keep in mind that the longer your home stays on the market, the more money you may lose.
Most people that opt for a custom home may very well have the means to pay for it, but there are also those that may be taking out a substantial loan to pay for it – a loan that may be difficult to pay each month. The difference between costs for existing homes and costs for custom made homes is that those opting for an existing home do not have to pay designers and architects to create the perfect custom home and they do not have to pay to have the home built. Keep in mind that custom homes can cost up to $300 per square foot or more to build, with some of the country’s most respected firms. This means, at $300 per square foot, a 2,000-square-foot custom home will cost $600,000 to build.
The amount of time it takes to create house plans for a custom home can be considerably longer than the amount of time it takes to simply order existing house plans off the Internet as well. Because there are thousands of house plans to choose from, there is a good chance buyers will find the “custom home” they are looking for from existing plans. If time is a factor, this may be considered a drawback of purchasing a custom home for potential homeowners.
Another issue that typically arises when purchasing a custom home is related to material costs/estimates. Unfortunately, material costs may remain a mystery until late in the design or building process. This means that you can easily go over budget during the design or building process without even knowing it. Existing house plans typically include a materials list, so buyers will know way ahead of time just how much their materials will cost.
One of the more obvious drawbacks of purchasing a custom home is that you have to purchase the land to build on. Of course this means there are permits to acquire and pay for and zoning requirements, and depending on where you plan to live, you may even have to dig a well! But one of the more costly aspects of buying land, especially in remote areas is, the extra money you will have to pay to transport your builders and the materials to the location. Remember, all costs are your responsibility!
If you are serious about purchasing a custom home, you will have to tap into your patient side and be prepared to plunk down a pretty penny. And, if/when you decide to sell, keep in mind that you will have to find a very special buyer with your same taste and style.