Building Your Dream Home – Custom vs. Neighborhood Home Builders in Columbia, SC

  • Posted by: Adrian La Fosse
  • Category: Blog
You may have to decide whether you’re going for a custom built home or neighborhood production built home. It often comes down to your needs, budget and time table. This could be pretty difficult on your part, so to help you decide, here are some important points about custom builders and neighborhood production builders to consider.

Custom Home Builders in Columbia, SC

Custom Home in Columbia SCIf you already have a dream home in mind, then a custom builder may right for you. Generally, the starting price for a truly custom home in the Columbia, Lexington, Irmo and surrounding areas is in the $300's though it may be possible to get in below that. Custom builders can build a one of a kind structure on the land that you own, land that you buy at the same time as you start construction on a new home or more rarely on land already owned by the builder. Homes built by custom builders offer the home buyer a choice in almost everything in the building process from the flooring to the doorknobs. Custom home builders are flexible in integrating different plans and styles to construct a home that is built to the owner’s needs and lifestyle. Aside from that, here are the other benefits of having a custom builder:
  • You Can Customize Your Needs
These home builders can provide you with different choices in almost anything that concerns the building process, from the foundation of the house, materials for the flooring to the doors. In short, you can select everything you want for your home and place it inside. Aside from that, as you design everything about your house, they may even allow you to keep the copyright of your own plans. Custom Builders Quote
  • Budget-Friendly is Possible
If you are a budget conscious individual, you should set a meeting with a custom builder because they are the ones you need to pursue your dream home even in a tight budget because these builders can help you achieve a smaller space floor plan but with a bigger impression. For these builders are more capable of producing your desired designs for they are not restricted to follow an “already set” layout. Custom builders will provide you a quote on the home that could either be based on what you want for the home or it can base on the budget. They will also inform you on the items you can actually save on such as design options, lesser expensive materials, tiles or carpet, finishes and fixtures.
  • Building Management and Client Relationships
When you hire a custom builder, they will manage the building process from the beginning to the end which includes all necessary permits, ordering and buying materials and hiring contractors. Of course, you will have a say so in regards to their work. Much more so than working with a neighborhood builder. Custom builders frequently ask their client to meet them at the building site for updates on their home's progress. Because they believe that an open engagement with a client can make the work easier. With open communication, the builder and home buyer can prevent misunderstandings as well as allow you to track the progress of your home.

Custom Home Built by Fortress Builders

Important Note About Building with a Custom Home Builder It is very important to know that there are more upfront and ongoing costs during the construction of a custom home. Of course, there is the cost of your land or lot. You will also have to fund the construction cost. Most people do that with a construction loan. This usually requires a significant down payment and/or earnest money. Some loans will take the owned land as the down payment. If you don't own land and want to purchase it at the same time as acquiring a loan to fund the construction, there is a specialty product called a Construction Perm Loan in which you can do that. With any type of construction loan, there will be payments to be made during construction to pay for the funds used to build the home. These are interest only payments and only based on the money that is drawn during the construction as needed. The build time for a custom home could be 5 to 6 months or much longer so you'll need to budget for that. Once construction is done you can convert the construction loan into a totally new permanent traditional loan, even a VA or FHA loan.

Neighborhood Home Builders in Columbia, SC

New homes for sale in Columbia SC Homes marketAre you a typical homeowner that wants to finish the home building in a short period of time and quite possibly a lower price tag? If you are, then you should go with a neighborhood production builder. Not only will there be a lower price tag but there will be less money up front as there is just a minimal earnest money requirement (0.5% to 2% of the sales price) and no needed outlay funds during construction, unlike a custom home. The neighborhood builder funds the home's construction. A big money saver for you. Here are some items to consider when hiring a neighborhood builder to build your new home:
  • Cost of Building
Neighborhood builders commonly deliver the same home size but with lesser costs. As they produce hundreds of houses, they purchase their materials in bulk which lessens the overall cost. As a result, the price of the home is lower and less expensive compared to a customized home. But don't think this lower price means they skimp on quality. A production builder home can be quite a looker and have a lot of personalized features! Also, these builders typically only build in their own neighborhoods on their lots. That way you don't have to buy your own lot. A big savings for you! Neighborhood Builders Quote
  • The Design and Layout
Production builders have their own set of home design plans. They typically only allow small changes to take place. This still may include structural changes like unique exterior features, adding windows, an additional bathroom or converting a guest bedroom into a second master. You typically are not allowed to move walls or extend the width or length of a home's footprint but you can always ask. Each neighborhood or home has its own standard features. Most builders give you a plethora of choices of items that you can change, add or upgrade. This may include flooring, cabinets, countertops, lighting, plumbing fixtures and more.
  • Seeing the End Result in Advance
In working with a neighborhood builder you have a chance to glimpse their work and check out everything you would want to know which includes the flooring, materials and the finishing touches so that you can have an idea on what your home would look like. Because they have built the same plans or similar ones, over and over you will be most likely able to view complete versions of the homes you are interested in. That is quite a bonus to working with a neighborhood builder.
  • Time Tables
As you hire a neighborhood builder, you can guarantee that the home building process will consume less time. You will often make your choices of structural and exterior changes right at the time of writing the contract to build your home. You might even make all your color selections and upgrade choices at that time though often you will have a separate appointment at the builder's design center within a week. After that, there are no other decisions for you to make. Typically build times from contract to closing are 4 to 6 months, usually 7 months maximum.

Bonus INFO on Custom Homes vs. Neighborhood Builder Homes

There is an alternative to a truly custom home or just neighborhood builder's home in the Columbia area. That is a neighborhood builder that will build their home plan on your land or lot. There is still the added expense of buying the land and funding the construction loan but the overall price will be lower because you are building their plans that are likely a lot more cost effective than creating a new home from scratch. Local examples of neighborhood builders that build their plans on individual lots are Mungo Homes and McGuinn Homes.

Built on Lot Home by Mungo Homes

Now it is Time to Build Your Dream Home

Happy Home Buyer in Columbia SCWith the information provided above, hopefully, you have more insights to be able to choose between a custom or neighborhood builder in Columbia to construct your dream home. Remember the Columbia New Home Buyer Team doesn't represent builders but buyers of new homes. This ensures you get the best deal and quality representation. Our goal is to inform and empower new home buyers so they can buy their new home with confidence. Don't hesitate to contact Team Leader Adrian La Fosse for all your questions about building a new home in the Columbia, Irmo, Lexington and surrounding areas. He can be reached at (803) 622-9731 or emailed at Also, feel free to fill out the form below.