Home Builders Custom Homes – Marwood Construction

07:57 Apr 2024
Home Builders Custom Homes

Purchasing home builders custom homes is a social statement of professional achievement. Although the experience is likely to be long and demanding for even the most decisive home buyer.

Home builders custom homes are much different than most houses built by home building companies. They are unique one of a kind house plans that are copyright protected and tailored to the lifestyle and personal needs of the owners.

There are builders of custom homes that are derived from off the shelf design plans or represented by sales spec model homes that are marketed as custom homes. Although they are technically custom houses because the housing construction contractor is willing to make changes to the design plans, these efforts represent semi-custom home construction. 

This article will focus on the one of a kind custom homes that are built to the specifications and lifestyle of the purchasing owner. We will also explore the various approaches of custom houses and building companies and their processes for designing and building custom homes.

Home Builders Custom Homes


Custom Home Builders Qualifications and Processes

Understanding the qualifications of custom home builder that is right for you depends on many different factors surrounding your house building needs.

There are many different custom builders that offer house building construction services, but vary greatly in both their qualifications, delivery methods and business practices and procedures.

The quality of a custom builder begins with their qualifications which are a product of direct relevant experience and business and vocational educational training.

Assessing Custom Builders Qualifications

The primary differences in the quality of custom builders are their career education, their direct construction experience and their business acumen.

A builder’s career education is relevant to their ability to understand the technical nuances of building sciences and the fundamentals of structural engineering elements, electric principles and plumbing and mechanical essentials.

Obtaining special certifications like NAHB Master Builder accreditations and State Licensing Certifications separate the class and expert knowledge of the builders.

Continued education is also important because building codes, product technology and means and methods continue to change and develop.

The home building companies that the builders have worked for in their past has a major influence on their professional abilities as well their customer service culture learned.

Their former house construction companies also contribute heavily to the actual home building and applicable direct experience of the custom builder.

The exposure to challenging architectural designs and various methods and means of construction practices will add to their problem-solving skills and different technical methods for unique structural applications.

A house builders business acumen is also developed over time through past experience of working for professional building companies. How these building companies conducted business with their customers creates a significant impression on their employees. This is where ethical business practices and transparent business transactions take place.

Custom House Building Process

Each builder has their own unique house building process defined. Although they may prefer one method of delivery over another, seasoned custom home builders have direct experience in many delivery processes.

For the owner, selecting a building delivery method is critical early in the pre-design process. That is because the 2 main delivery processes require making either a commitment to a design build contractor or directly hiring an architect.

There are essentially 2 methods of construction delivery when it comes to designing and building your dream dwelling. The first we will cover is called the design build delivery method. The second is called the design to bid delivery method.

Design Build Construction Method

The design build construction method is when the owner hires a design build contractor to design and build their custom house.

The general contractor may have designers on staff or work with a 3rd party architectural firm. During the onboarding pre-design the builder will meet with the owners to learn about their vision and preferences for architectural styles.

They will discuss the homes size and floor plan needs, while developing a target budget which is used as a guide when designing the house.

The architectural house design process consists of 3 phases; concept phase, working drawings phase and the final phase to complete.

The architectural design process is similar in each delivery method with the primary difference being that at the acceptance of the completed architectural plan design process, the design build contractor prepares the formal construction cost and construction contracts for building the house.

There are also various types of construction contracts to meet homeowners needs.

  • Fixed Price Lump Sum – A fixed lump sum dollar amount
  • Cost Plus – Typically based upon a % of total cost
  • Construction Management – Fee based dollar amount to manage house construction and business matters
  • Time & Material Not to Exceed – Normally a fee-based rate for services with a total cost that will not be exceeded

Once the owner enters into a construction contract agreement, the builder will commence construction.             

The house building phase consist of the owners interacting with the builder on each phase of construction. These interactions are used to get the owners approval on product types, colors, textures and general construction assembling depicting the design documents.

Home Builders Custom Homes Kitchens


Design to Bid Construction Method

The design to bid delivery method is the traditional house building approach when the owner directly hires an architect to prepare architectural plans that can be used to solicit bids from several builders.

The house design price is essentially the same process for both house delivery methods. The difference is generally what happens with the architectural plans after the architecture and engineering is completed.

The problem that frequently happens is when the architect designs what the owner wants while essentially ignoring the actual construction cost budget. This happens frequently and is not discovered until the owners solicit bids from the house builders.

Once it is realized that the custom house has been overdesigned, the owner can only choose to redesign the architectural plans or build to the higher price.

This type of event results in time delays and frustrating the selected building contractors who now have to rebid the house plans.

Normally owners will have vetted 2-3 custom home builders to bid these design plans. The owner will need to carefully compare proposals for a comprehensive scope of work and verify that the product selection allowances are consistently similar.

When the owner is confident that they have the custom builder they will enter into one of the agreements already presented and commence construction.

Home Builders Custom Homes Bathrooms


Where Do Custom Home Builders Build Homes

One of the things that distinctly defines house builders from other types of builders is where they build houses.

Custom building companies will traditionally construct houses in one of the four of the available locations. 

These locations are either on the owners selected building site, on an estate lot of a planned development, or a lot of a tear down house raised for building a new ground up dwelling.

On Your Lot Home Builders

Owners will purchase a building site before they begin the architectural design process. This is generally the best practice so the house can be designed to fit the property.

The design team will review the property survey and deed restrictions to be certain that the house design complies with them before they begin the design process.

Once the house plans are completed, a structural engineer will prepare both the foundation and the framing plan. A drainage plan will also need to be prepared for permitting as well.

Depending on the contract, the builder may temporarily purchase the building lot from the owner as a method to conform with state lien laws and then resell it back when construction is complete.

Planned Development Estate Lots

Another option available to custom home builders and owners is when large residential developers will create estate lots in gated communities within their master planned developments.

Developers will solicit a select group of custom builders to purchase options on their estate lots and the developer assist with marketing the builders.  

The general contracting company may or may not build a house to represent their building quality and design style.

If the lot buyer selects a building site of their choosing, they have the option of selecting one of the house builders or in some cases, selecting their own builder.

Builders Purchasing Old Homes for Property Value

It is common for custom home builders to buy an older house for lot value for the primary purpose in the metro area of large cities like Houston Texas, to build new residential construction.

They purchase these lots for the purpose of selling the residential site to a buyer that wants to build a house on that specific property site.

This is an effective strategy if the lot is desirable and the builder has a good reputation for residential construction.

The builder may have already designed a custom house for the lot or they may design architectural plans from scratch for the owner. 

Spec Custom Home Builders

Builders will on occasion buy a building lot and build a speculative custom house on that property. This house building strategy is not regularly employed due to the financial risk of carrying an expensive property for a builder.

This strategy is used when the inventory level of new homes is low and demand for custom homes is rising.

The advantage to a spec custom house is that if the buyer falls in love with the house the owner receives the befits of a new house without all the work and time required for building ground up.


Selecting home builders custom homes for consideration for your custom home requires a clear understanding of their qualifications, the best house building delivery method and location for your future dream property.

Having the confidence to do the necessary research on custom builders will lead you to the best fit and right residential construction company for you.

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