Best Houston Home Builders for Your Home Building Needs

09:43 Jul 2023

Houston home builders come in many sizes and produce a variety of different house building products.

Determining the best Houston home builders depends upon your housing need, the location you want to live, and the amount of mortgage you can afford.

Houston home builders can generally be separated by the price ranges of their homes, location, and their accreditations and reputation.

Although there are home builders in Houston that offer single-family products at multiple price point ranges, most of these new home prices vary due to location, size of the house, and land cost.

For a deeper dive into the impact of house vs land values influencing housing prices in Houston visit our link.

There are approximately 1,500 house construction companies in Houston according to the GHBA.

The number of active house building contractors varies from time to time. In the State of Texas house construction companies are not required to be licensed or certified by the state.

Although mechanical, electrical, and plumbing contractors are required to be licensed in the State of Texas.

Another matter that often surprises consumers is that many areas outside of the city limits of Houston do not require inspections.

The 5 surrounding counties in the greater Houston area require certain documents for new house construction, but not for house remodeling.

The typical authority on modifications to the exterior of a home rest with the approval of the Home Owners Association for each community.

Many Houston neighborhoods that have an HOA will also have an Architectural Review Committee (ARC).

The ARC reviews new home construction plans for deed covenant compliance before approving them for permitting.

They cover such restrictions as the size of homes, roof heights, and fence ordinances. This approval is necessary prior to submitting the permit in the City of Houston.

Another common element of building a house in Houston is the requirement for warranties on new work completed.

The State of Texas requires that all new house construction comes with the required minimum warranties on new & remodeled improvements; a Structural Warranty of 10 years, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing systems of 2 years, and a general overall warranty of 1 year.

Warranty response is only part of understanding the reliability of a new housing contractor. One of the real benefits of the internet is that consumers can share information on their building experience with the buying public.

New homeowners can share their good and bad home building experiences with the general public. This is a very powerful tool for homeowners to express their disappointment or satisfaction concerning their builder.

Although consumer reviews are an important part of the due diligence process of vetting contractors, it does not replace interviewing a short list of contractors to determine if they will be a good working partner in your building experience.

To learn more about new home construction please visit our link for construction resources.

As we have mentioned there are a number of similarities among new house construction companies, but there are some huge differences in things that really matter such as home price, service, building time, and the collective designing & building experience.

We will examine each of these features for the 3 basic types of Houston home builders, a production builder, a semi-custom builder, and the custom builder.



A production home builder and a semi-custom home builder are very similar in the way they generally design and build dwellings. Both builders produce a large number of houses each year.

They both use model homes to demonstrate their home products in a specific subdivision. They will often have between 4 – 8 different floor plans that will have 3 -6 different front elevations in their community subdivision.

For a deeper dive into the differences of home builders visit our link.  

The house building business is a competitive business for production & semi-custom builders.

The cost of building houses is fairly generic and requires these house contractors to separate themselves from their competition through subtle design features, services offered, and their location. 

Production Home Builders

As already noted, production builders have pre-designed houses for sale. They will either be already-built houses called specs or the buyer will select a dwelling they like from a small inventory of building lots in the desired community.

Houston home builders will typically have an inventory of building lots to use for constructing their products. Because there is a limited number of home plans to select from, they do not like placing the same home model next door to each home.

Production and semi-custom building companies normally consist of sales, construction, warranty, and management.

Each of these 3 departments plays an independent role in the building experience servicing the buyers. Production builders seldom have a design staff to make changes.

Making floor plan changes is discouraged by salespeople attempting to sell around these requests.

Service – The building contractor’s salesperson facilitates the actual selection of the finished products, and the purchase contract, and facilitates the financing arrangements.

During the sales process, the sales representative will typically be the buyer’s only contact until construction begins.

The construction personnel build the house from start to finish. Depending on the builder the buyer will interact with construction at several steps during construction.

Warranty personnel takes over after the buyer moves into their new dwelling. 

Building Time – The construction time for a production residence is typically 60 – 120 days from start to finish.

Weather can greatly affect the progress of the construction. Subcontractors base their prices to the construction company on efficiencies in the reproduction of familiar tasks a repeatable product.

Prices – New production houses’ prices can range from $120/sf to $200/sf. These prices depend on many factors such as the size and location of the building site.

Lot prices vary dramatically among different communities, depending on the community’s amenities.

Another major factor that drives prices is the interior finishes. The more expensive the finishes, the higher the house’s price.

Production builders attempt to take advantage of the standardization of their construction products (repeatable designs) and the production house volume to achieve lower building costs than the other types of builders that do not warrant the same efficiencies.

Semi-Custom Home Builders

Semi-custom builders are also production home builders that will allow limited changes to their pre-designed house plans.

Depending on the construction company, the changes that will be allowed can be as basic walls being moved or more significant modifications.

Much like production builders, semi-custom builders use predesigned model homes but often have the staff to accommodate design changes.

Services – Again the services are very similar to production builders with the exception being the architectural design features they allow.

In most cases, semi-custom builders will not welcome substantial changes that cause them to re-engineer the structure.

The second factor that is different in their services is that the semi-custom builder will have a greater amount of interior finish products to select from. These are products like flooring, countertops, cabinets, and wall tile.

Building Time – The construction time for these houses is typically slightly longer ranging from 90 – 180 days. This is due to those architectural custom features and more time-consuming finish products being installed.

Prices – The building prices like construction time normally are in the range of $150/sf – $250/sf. The finished products on these homes can be on the higher end depending on the buyer’s finishes and budget.

These dwelling prices are also influenced by more expensive architectural design features and the building site location.

Production & Semi-Custom Home Builders Additional Common Factors

Lot Inventory – Most of these types of new building companies maintain an inventory of available ready-to-build lots. Although the semi-custom builders will also serve clients by building the client’s lot, the price of the house will normally be more due to the cost of supervision. Lot inventories allow builders to meet their immediate demand for new construction.

Spec Homes – A spec is a house that a builder will construct without a contracted customer. These are homes that a builder may build for anticipating future buyers in a shorter period of time than it would normally take. This allows builders to better compete with the inventory of existing buildings, then the buyer does not have 60 or 120 days to move.

Model Homes – These builders normally operate with models representing their products for a specific neighborhood. This is a great advantage to the buyer because the buyer can see the product in greater detail than blueprints or visual aids offer.


Custom Home Builders

One-of-a-kind builders are very different in many respects from production home builders & semi-custom home builders.

Some of these differences are the way they acquire their home building projects; the way home plans are designed and the service a client can expect. 

Custom builders are normally associated with building architecturally designed one-of-a-kind houses.

These new contractors typically do not build models but will build specs from time to time. For a comprehensive article on the custom building process visit our link.

Service – One of the key factors that a client will pay a higher price for building a house is for the expected professional service from the custom builder.

Because of the nature of custom building, every finished item of a custom house becomes a discussion point. From brick to shingles to floor patterns through paint colors, the customer will have a say before the installation.

This is a concierge service that custom builders provide their clients throughout the construction process. These services require more supervision and more customer service extended to the buyer.

Building Time – The construction building time for an architectural one-of-a-kind home plan is likely to take 9 months – 18 months, depending on the size of the dwelling and the details of the finishes. These types of houses dictate a greater amount of attention to detail due to the unique features of a one-of-a-kind home.

Bid or Negotiated – The element that separates custom builders from production builders is that nearly all their work is acquired through either a formal competitive bid or a negotiated contract.  In both these cases, the construction documents must be completed and product selection allowances establish for the general contractor to establish an accurate price.

Because of the personalized services and the uniqueness of these structures, uniform pricing is not an effective pricing tool.

 Prices – Since these are one-of-a-kind, there is no way to pre-determine a price for the houses like semi-custom homes & production homes offer. Houston custom home buildings require each structure to be engineered, construction documents designed & detailed, and complicated finish schedule products selected before establishing a justified sales price.

Understanding the essential differences can help you determine the best Houston home builders for your personal needs. Knowing your building needs and desires will ultimately save you time and money.

Selecting Home Builders–When interviewing your short list of Houston home builders, it is very important to have confidence that you can trust the builder. This becomes even more important when you are building a custom home. We have provided a list of relevant questions to use during your vetting;


When looking for the best Houston home builder for your specific building needs it begins with understanding what type of house builders you should be researching.

New house construction companies have much to offer buyers seeking new construction. If you are a premium buyer, we recommend you read our all-inclusive article on the custom home building process.

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