Drawbacks to Custom Built Homes

Who doesn’t love the thought of buying a home and being its first resident? As the first resident of a home, you can take comfort in the realization that there is no mystery dirt left by the previous resident in the corners of your humble abode. No improperly patched pipes, or nasty secrets under the rug.

These days, custom homes can make that dream come true. Custom homes are pre-designed homes that are mass produced by certain builders. With custom homes, the builders have the process worked down to a tee. A buyer can choose from 3-7 different home designs, pick their countertop materials, number of outlets, flooring, etc. Custom homes have a tiered pricing list with basic materials included in the base price of the home and better materials (i.e. granite countertops instead of Formica) considered an upgrade. Choose your layout, your plot of land, and your upgrades then have your own custom home built. So what about the drawbacks of custom homes? There are some severe limitations and sacrifices to be made when you decide to buy a custom home. Before you decide if a custom home is the right choice for you, you should be aware of these drawbacks.

Construction time

Once you have met with your builder, chosen your land and housing design- and given your down payment, it is time to begin construction. Although the “pattern” for the house is already established, and has already been built several times by your builder, the construction of your home will still take five to six months. Building will be scheduled based on the builder’s availability and may not commence immediately. Inclement weather, supply shortages, and changes in zoning/ codes can increase this time even more. While you wait for your home to be completed, you may be paying two mortgages (since you have to live somewhere while your home is built). You may be paying rent and storage fees. This can be an expensive time. *

Lack of individuality

Custom homes are predesigned. You get to choose the same style as thousands of others have chosen. You get the same colors, same kitchen layout, same alcoves. The outside of the homes are generic in design and can appear dated in a short period of time. While this type of home may appeal to some buyers, others may feel that the mass produced look and feel of their home makes it a little less…well…homey.

Deed restricted neighborhoods

Most custom built homes are built in deed restricted neighborhoods. Not everyone enjoys living in a neighborhood in which you must get permission to paint your house, change your landscaping, install a fence or pool, and get a new mailbox. Deed restricted neighborhoods are run by committee and they are permitted to fine residents who are found to be out of compliance.

Size matters

I challenge you to find a custom designed home with less than 2,100 square feet. Many couples and small families prefer a smaller home. Larger homes are more expensive to heat and cool. These homes are also more time consuming to clean and maintain. It can be more expensive to repair, repaint, buy furniture for…the list goes on. Bigger is not always better.


In an effort to cut costs, your builder may not choose top of the line materials to construct your home. With a custom home, you do not get to decide what grade of wood, what brand of drywall, etc. Custom homes have also been slow to introduce some of the environmentally sound building methods that are becoming popular. Solar panels, environmentally friendly paints, insulation and materials, and recycled materials are rarely offered or used in custom home construction.

Buying a home is never a quick, easy process. Hopefully, armed with this information, you can make an informed decision that will help you choose the house of your dreams!

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