There are essentially 4 types of newly built homes you could choose from if new construction is what you have to have.
1.) Fully Custom Built Homes –
Just as its name states, custom homes are as YOU want them. As the prospective home owner you would be expected to hire an architect whereby with regular meetings you, your architect, and home builder would design a home according to your direction, and vision. After you have signed off on the design of your home it then has to be stamped by a licensed engineer to make sure its design features are structurally sound. Beware of a fully custom home because they take much longer to build, and they require many many meetings with a plethora of different people all of which are there to make sure you get exactly what you want. Also, here in Charleston, South Carolina, downtown specifically there is an ARB (architectural review board) which oversees the construction of every building in historic Charleston. However, there is a good reason for this. Aside from the normal responsibilities of ensuring the safety of each property, it too is responsible for preserving the look and historic significance of one of the United States most respected and historically relevant cities in the country. If you are considering building in Mount Pleasant, Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, or surrounding areas there is less chance you have to be too concerned with having each phase of your design and construction signed off on from an aesthetic point at least. However, many newer suburban communities also have restrictions and rules that have to be adhered to there to preserve a consistent feel of the neighborhood. For instance Kiawah Island home builders have to make sure their customers know that they can not use white for their exterior trim color.
- 1.a Next are the finishes, i.e. type of cabinets, trim, hard wood floor species, stain colors, electrical fixtures, plumbing fixtures, tile, exterior materials, carpet styles, paint colors, and many more options. It is common for your builder (general contractor) to have a few design partners that will help you when choosing from the hundreds or thousands of options available to you with each phase of construction. It is fairly safe to say that the more elaborate and detailed your home is with design elements the longer it will take to build.
- 2.a If you’re building in a PUD with an HOA even though you want a completely custom home you still have to build according to the building design rules of the neighborhood by laws which may preclude you from doing some of the things you originally wanted exactly the way you wanted.
2.) Semi-Custom –
A semi-custom (similar to spec) home usually refers to a type of new construction home whereby the builder will either provide you with a multiple different home plans to choose from if they (may or may not) already own the dirt. Yet the home buyer can make small changes to the plans, but usually not to the structural elements as well as they get to choose the finishes mentioned in 1.a. This kind of home is probably your most commonly used option, and many of your local & national home builders prefer to offer this as it is the most flexible to most people who want a “nicer” option but don’t want hassle of custom. Here are examples of SC new construction homes.
You feel as if you are getting a fully custom home without having the additional time, and expense of hiring and meeting with an architect. Since the builder is familiar with the floor plans they usually are fairly confident with giving you a estimated close date and cost depending on the finishes you choose.
3.) Spec (Speculative) –
Spec homes are where a builder (national or local) will pre-build a newly constructed home, choose the floor plans, and the finishes, landscaping, etc. hoping that a prospective buyer will be interested in buying it as he or she designed it. They are “speculating” that there are enough interested buyers in the market, hence the name “spec home”. These homes are usually built in established neighborhoods often times in nicer communities consisting mostly of custom homes.
4.) Tract Home –
Usually your most affordable option – As defined by Wikipedia – Tract housing is a style of housing development in which multiple similar homes are built on a tract of land which is subdivided into individual small lots. Tract housing developments are typically found in North American suburbs that were modeled on the “Levittown” concept and sometimes encompass large areas of dozens of square miles.
These types of homes although new are usually of lesser quality than the first three options because the builders know exactly what it costs them to build each home as cheaply as possible because believe it or not their profit is in the land. Most of the national builders whose names you’d recognize such as: DR Horton, Beazer, Pulte, Toll Brother and Centex, are considered tract builders. The expense and “power” is in the dirt. If you own the dirt or tract of land to build then you have the power because buyers have no other choice other than to buy your product if they want to live in certain areas. These home builders like DR Horton will buy large pieces of land all over the country and develop the dirt, but in order to compete with local builders will many times offer a semi-custom feature into their plans. Whereby, they will have usually offer 6, sometimes 8 floorplans to choose from, and offer a hand full of different finish options. Such as: 3 types of prefinished hardwood flooring, 4 types of ceramic tile or vinyl, 3 styles of carpet, 3 different exterior wall coverings, etc. This is the most standard commonly known options for buying new homes in Charleston, SC or wherever.