Home Building Terms – Custom Builder and Tract Builder
Researching building a new home? Before you start the home building process, familiarize yourself with home construction terms. Residential construction can be categorized into two groups, custom builders and tract builders. Other than building homes for people to live in, these two groups couldn’t be more different. Residential construction can be categorized into two groups, custom builders and tract builders. Other than building homes for people to live in, these two groups couldn’t be more different.
Let’s look at custom builders first. Think of these builders as the “no limit” guys. They are the ones who take your individual dreams and make it a reality. If you ask these builders, “Can this be done?” they are usually dynamic and can find a way to answer “Yes, it can be done”. Custom builders can build with any home plans. They may have a selection of plans they have built-in the past and can use to personalize and build to suit your needs. Or, they can build with plans you bring to them. Many custom builders also have a good working relationship with architects in their area and can work with you and the architect together to create home plans for you to build. A popular misconception is that custom builders won’t build anything smaller than a “mini-mansion” but that is simply untrue. Custom builders can build any size home. They can also build on your land, another significant difference from their tract home counterparts. The structure of these custom builders business is also very different. These builders tend to be more family owned businesses concentrating on smaller markets. This also makes them one of your local businesses – the type of business that emphasizes quality and a personal connection to the community that they serve.
On the other side you have tract builders. Think of these builders as the “limited” guys. They are the ones who only build from a predetermined set of their own plans on their own lot/land. If you ask these builders, “Can this be done?” they are not dynamic and will usually tell you “No, that is not in the list of options offered for this floor plan”. Although they can build any size home also, depending on the company and neighborhood where the home will be located, tract builders tend to concentrate on smaller square footage home. Tract home builders emphasize advertisements that promote extra low prices to get customers in the door. If talking to a tract builder be sure to pay close attention to what are the “standard options” in a home and what the cost of upgrades will be. Adding amenities to a home can be expensive and is the primary way they generate extra profit. And don’t think grand amenities are the ones that will cost big dollars, sometimes this could be as simple as an extra wall socket or cable jack costing you several hundred dollars.