Buy New or Custom Build? How Do You Decide?

Jenks New Construction

Buy New or Custom Build? How Do You Decide?

You Have a Choice

When purchasing a new home, you have lots of choices to make. Location, size, layout, and amenities are just the beginning. The problem is that once you decide what you want, you have to find it. That’s why many people are choosing new construction.

However, all new home builds are not alike. Some builders build what are called “spec” homes. Many people gravitate toward these builders because they perceive them to be less expensive. Custom home builders, on the other hand, build homes to suit their customers’ specific needs. How do you know which option is best?

New Construction Costs Less

Many people never consider building a new home because they assume they cannot afford it. The truth is, new construction, in general, costs less. According to, the average cost of building a new home in 2017 was around $103.00 per square foot. That’s compared to an average of $148.00 per square foot for an existing home. That’s 30% less.

In addition, a new home should have almost no maintenance costs for the first ten years or so. By contrast, when buying existing construction, factor in a new roof for $5,000.00, a few thousand for plumbing and electrical, plan for that kitchen remodel, and…well, you see where it’s going.

So building a new home costs less up-front on average, but isn’t it cheaper to buy a new “spec” home than to custom build? Not necessarily. You may be able to buy a new home for less than custom building if you are willing to buy it just like the builder has it planned. However, if you get involved in the building process with a spec builder, your costs can skyrocket.

What is a “Spec” Home?

The term “spec” is short for a “speculative” home for sale. Some builders specialize in this type of home building. This means they prefer building homes without the complication of working with a customer’s involvement. These companies build homes for sale with no particular buyer in mind.

When dealing with one of these builders, it is often possible to customize certain aspects of the home. It’s likely the design choices will be fairly conservative hoping to create a home that will appeal to the broadest market possible. Most people will want to make changes. Simple changes such as carpet or paint color may be changeable without significant cost increases, but buyer beware.

Many spec builders make even these basic choices based partly on volume discounts they receive for using the same materials, styles, and colors in all their homes. Therefore, when you make a change, the discount no longer applies, and you pay the difference. Start making more significant changes like cabinet styles, fixtures, and appliance finishes, and costs can go through the roof!

Change Order Fees

These cost increases are called change order fees. Change orders are one of the biggest money-makers for many builders. They are also one of the primary causes of legal action between builders and their customers. This is usually due to the failure of builders to clearly communicate with customers about the cost increases associated with change orders.

Change orders fees are the reason many people feel stung after buying a spec home. Many customers begin the process of buying one of these homes based on their apparent low prices. However, by the time move-in day arrives, costs have often risen well above that originally attractive

What is a Custom Home?

A custom home is one built specifically for you. Since you, the homeowner, are involved in the process of designing and planning your home, you have much more input. You become an active participant, not just an observer, and that means you should end up getting what you want.

Since you control the lot purchase, location is never completely outside your control. In addition, your ability to make decisions can be helpful in staying within your budget. You can choose to include the amenities you find important, and leave out things less important to you. This can significantly improve your bottom line.

The custom home building process is a partnership between you and your builder, rather than just a company-client relationship. You get to see your new home come together day by day, giving you a real feeling of satisfaction at what you have accomplished. In the end, you should get the home you want.

What Makes Lamb Homes Unique?

At Lamb Homes in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we have designed our entire custom home building process with you, the homeowner in mind. We know that you want your home to meet your specific needs and reflect your vision, style, and personality. That attention to customer satisfaction alone makes us stand out among home builders in the area, but that’s not all that makes us unique.

Our “no-change-order” guarantee means that once we have agreed on your budget number, we won’t surprise you with extra charges. You will not receive charges above the cost of the upgraded product or additional service. We will not charge you extra for changing your mind and will only require that any additional expense of materials or outside vendors be covered.

We don’t depend on change order fees to pad our profits. We work with you to design what you want and help you realize your vision within your budget. We offer you not only the ability to have the home you want but to know what it will cost you from the beginning.

Custom Build With Lamb Homes, Inc.

At Lamb Homes in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we specialize in building you the home you want. We work with you throughout the process to design, plan, and construct your home according to your desires, and never charge you change order fees. Now you can enjoy the process of designing, planning, and building your new custom home without the worry of skyrocketing costs.

Working with our team, you’ll find that we thoroughly enjoy the custom design process, are attentive to all your input and concerns and have unmatched attention to quality control down to the smallest detail. We will build you the home you want, and you will know in advance what it will cost. Call us today at 918-289-3595 or click here to contact us for a free consultation.