Home New Construction; Definitive Guide for Houston Builders

09:39 Sep 2023
Home New Construction

One of the most exciting times in a person’s life is embarking on a home new construction journey.

Home new construction requires an owner to assess their needs for a new house and choice the type of house they want to build and the process that home builders offer for home new construction.

Unlike new automobiles, a new house is not mass produced, but rather individually built to certain specifications that come from the house designer, the Houston builder and the owner.

That is the purpose of this article is to share the different types of Houston builders that exist and explore their house building process.

At the point that you are interested in selecting a new house building path instead of just purchasing an existing house, you will need to evaluate the information we are sharing about house building and Houston builders.

Selecting the type of home for new construction first depends upon your financial ability to finance the construction and secondly the ability to qualify for a mortgage that will allow you to make monthly payments.

Qualifying for these loans requires a lenders requirement for a specific income and assessing your other financial resources.

This home construction process alone can normally restrict your available options, but we will continue with the idea that your financial limitations is not an issue and discuss your Houston builders’ alternatives.

A Houston builder is essentially a general contractor that hires specific skilled trade contractors to construct new houses per detailed plans and specifications.

Home builders can typically be categorized as production builders, semi-custom builders and custom builders as a primary source for professional house contracting services.

We will continue a brief discussion of the most appropriate Houston builder for your possible home new construction needs.

Learn about choosing the right Houston home builder for your home new construction needs

Home New Construction

Major Home Builder Categories

General Contractor

A General Contractor or often called a prime contractor and is a contractor that hires specialty skilled trade contractors (subcontractors) to perform larger complicated projects with multiple scopes of work.

The owner will contract with the general contractor and the GC will contract with the subcontractors to fulfill the contract for construction of a new house.

  • Advantages – The homeowner has one responsible party to facilitate the house construction of the project.

The product and service pricing that general contractors receive is generally more advantageous than the owner’s ability to secure independently.

The hiring of a general contractor will normally mitigate the financial, operational and contractual issues associated with hiring independent contractors on your own.

  • Disadvantages – If the scope of work are small home improvement projects instead of a home building project like uncomplicated tasks that only require 1 or 2 independent contractors, it is questionable if these projects justify a general contractors fee.  

In these situations, the total cost will normally not warrant the use of a general contractor.

Home Builders

This is a broad category incorporating many types of housing alternatives. There are production home builders, semi-custom home builders and custom home builders.

Although these types of Houston builders conduct business much like a general contractor by hiring skilled trade subcontractors, they typically limit their business activities to the house building services niche.

Production Home Builders – Typically provide a group of standard plans for home new construction and build in a strictly defined area such as subdivisions.

Sometimes the houses will be built as specs, while other times the customer can select a house and a lot of their chose.

These Houston builders were formally called tract builders, because they would build small cost effective cookie cutter houses on a subdivided tract of land.

The typical price range for these types of houses in Houston are commonly $150/sf – $200/sf. The closer these houses are to metro Houston, the more expensive the price tag due to land cost.

  • Advantages – Simplifies much of the decision-making process of purchasing a home for new construction. It is also a much faster process of obtaining a
  • Disadvantage – Production builders often will not allow structural changes to their plans such as moving walls or modifications to the exterior profile of the house. They limit the selection of product chooses to customers to stream line the process and keep the cost down.

Semi Custom Home Builders – The semi custom builders are commonly a hybrid between production builders and custom builders.

Although they have standard house plans, they will have the architectural ability and operational capability of making some modifications to their plans for a price.

The price range for these types of houses in Houston are commonly $200/sf – $250/sf.

  • Advantages – The best of both worlds have the ease of a production house with the ability to make some major changes to their plans. An affordable alternative to custom homes.
  • Disadvantages – The buyer is still required to purchase their new house construction from the stock plans that the Houston builder provides. These are not one-of-a-kind homes even with modifications.

Custom Home Builders – The would-be new house construction owner must turn to custom home builders if they want a one of a kind custom house built. The price range for custom homes in Houston are typically between $250/sf – $800/sf and up.

  • Advantages – These Houston builders will provide the would-be homeowner with a formal proposal for either house plan documents already prepared or the facilitation of a design build new house construction project.

Custom homes reflect the personal lifestyle and personality of the designing homeowner.

These house designs are usually one of a kind custom home design. As discussed below, the process is often different depending if the owner has house plan documents.

  • Disadvantages – Custom builders are often far more expensive than the alternative new house builder types. Custom homes also require a great deal more time on behalf of the builder and owner. The length of time associated with the design and construction of a new one of a kind home can often take 1 – 2 years or more.

Houston Home New Construction

Building a New Custom Home

When undertaking the building of a new custom home there are many factors to weigh and consider.

A few questions you are likely to be asking yourself are; Have you identified a building lot?

Do you have an idea of the architectural style of the house you want?

One of the very first questions you should be asking yourself is what home builder should I trust to do business with?

This is a key question early in the home new construction process. Your Houston builder is a professional adviser in the house building process.

Their role is simply to look after your interest while guiding you through the house building experience.

Building a new custom home is a complicated process. A logical approach on where to start would be if you have a home site or have developed house building plans.

Selecting a Houston Builder with New Home Plan Documents

If you have already commissioned a home plan designer to prepare your house building documents, you will have likely provided your plan designer a targeted budget and a building site as qualifying conditions.

At this point you will need to interview and screen a small collection of Houston custom builders.

This process is approached differently by everyone, but it is common to talk to as many as 5 potential Houston builders and to invite the best 2 to 3 builders to prepare you a formal bid.

As a best procedure it is a common practice to require the architect to establish the finished product quality selections or to establish the finish product allowance schedule.

This provides the future homeowner a uniform dollar amount for house finishes that may or may not be selected.

This provides the owner a level playing field for assessing apple for apples comparisons when competitive bidding.

Another area for homeowners to concern their selves is the inclusions and exclusions of the bid proposal.

These line-item conditions are commonly associated with building site conditions such as fill dirt, fences and other items that are not necessary in finishing the house to substantial completion.

Home New Construction Houston

Selecting a Houston Builder with No New Home Plan Documents

It is also common that would be homeowners wanting to build a new custom home has not selected a Houston builder or architect.

In these cases, the general contractor can be an effective trusted advisor in the collective process.

The general contractor can be very valuable in the house building site selection process.

They can assist in home placement strategies, tree preservation, lot drainage plans and the application process for Homeowner Association approvals.

They can help with determining the additional cost associated with the lot improvement cost.

The general contractor can also be a strategic partner of the design team. They bring value to the design process concerning constructability issues and pricing feasibility valuations.

Both of these issues can commonly require a homeowner to redesign their building plans and cost additional expenses if not caught early in the design process.

Understanding the different types of Houston builders can save you time and money when searching for your new house needs.


Learning to understand the right Houston builder services to select for your new home construction project will save you time and money.

Choosing between production builders and custom builders comes down to your lifestyle needs, the preferred area of Houston you want to live and the amount of money you want to invest in a new dwelling.

Building a new home can be a challenging process, so selecting the best Houston builder for your new home construction needs is critical to the project’s success.

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