Saturday, September 29, 2012

Custom Home Vs Semi-Custom Home

I am often amazed when I show homes in South Florida that buyers actually plan to tear out the cabinets, junk the appliances and replace the flooring in homes that are relatively new. They are reacting to South Florida builder's choices; inexpensive items bought at bid prices in bulk. Between what is thrown away and the cost to replace the discarded items, South Florida buyers are often paying much more than the home is worth, assuming it is purchased at market value.

To avoid this problem, buyers should think about building a home that is designed to fit their personal desires, requirements and style preferences. A custom home gives buyers the advantage to choose quality products such as flooring, appliances, cabinets and lighting. The buyer also has the freedom to decide location, layout and design features of the home.

There are some drawbacks to having a home built from scratch in South Florida. It takes a lot of time to find an available location and the right builder. In addition, these homes typically cost two to three times more than a development home; they are not built using an "assembly line" approach where all the materials are purchased at bulk rate prices. As a result, it tends to take more time to build. South Florida buyers also must be able to effectively communicate to the builder exactly what they want the home to be inside and out, from room sizes, overall square footage, down to the smallest detail of every room.

An elegant solution to this problem is to look for a builder in South Florida who sells semi-custom homes. These homes are a compromise between custom homes and developer homes. They offer many of the benefits of a custom home but are much less expensive. The builder provides a basic floor plan whereby the interior layout can be modified by the buyer to suit their own desires. The exterior can also be modified slightly. Then the buyer selects all their own appliances, flooring, lighting etc.

Most builders of semi-custom homes have a prepared selection of these items; it is necessary to have these items for the construction loan. The buyer can choose from the builder's selection or pick his own. For example, the refrigerator might be a stainless steel GE unit with a water center, but the buyer would rather have a Kitchen Aid product. The buyer gets what he wants and pays for the difference between the refrigerator "allowance" and the cost of his Kitchen Aid. The same concept applies to all the design options.

The semi-custom approach has much of the same flexibility of a fully custom home. Features like a deck or pool can be added, floor plans modified and features added.

Your perfect South Florida home may have already been built, and is in the process of being sold as a Short Sale. You may be able to work through a Short Sale purchase in less time than building a custom home in South Florida, and save tens of thousands of dollars.

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