Custom vs. Semi-Custom Homes - What's the Difference?

Created by: Federica Chacón
Date: May/09/2022

The prospect of building a new home is daunting, and right after choosing your lot or land, many decisions are yet to come. One of them is whether you want a custom or a semi-custom home. That decision will ultimately rest on a few matters, such as your budget, time, and effort to be invested in selecting and hiring the right architect or searching and selecting the right house design style and floor plan design for your dream home.

¿What is the difference between a custom and a semi-custom home? In short, with custom homes, you hire an architect to design from scratch the complete home. The house plan will contain every detail down to the doorknobs. With semi-custom homes, you purchase a design home plan, and you can tweak a few things to your liking so that it's still unique but follows a general home blueprint. However, you'll be able to purchase from various house design styles and plans. You still will get what you want in no time and at an incredible price.

Let us break it down for us all.

¿What is a custom home?

A custom home, as mentioned above, is a house design that is totally designed according to your needs, aspirations, and lifestyle. You have absolute control over every detail of the house, from the architectural style, floor plan orientation, room location and size, closets, windows and door sizes, and ceiling heights to the electrical outlet types and their location.

These custom design processes are only viable for a reduced group of people. When considering significant implications such as design time and construction costs.
In terms of time, custom hose plans take much longer than semi-custom ones to finish. The reason is that custom homes are designed by architects or home designers from scratch.

Also, while in construction, many surprises might emerge, creating the need for onsite solutions that are more susceptible to setbacks with deadlines. Thus, you have to be careful and make decisions on every aspect of your house design because they will directly affect the overall construction process of the house. This reality affects the building processes of homes, pushing their construction costs up.
Additionally, we must understand that architects generally go the extra mile in searching for the best design solutions. This is another additional cost factor.

Lastly, in terms of effort and control, getting involved with the architect or designer for several months will make you part of the process. This might be overwhelming and only for some.

A custom home is for people who have an exact vision of the house plan design they want to build, the time and money to do so, and do not want to compromise their dream home. Maybe they want a particular design style for the home, a room arrangement, or a specific orientation to take advantage of their desired views. Even a unique home office arrangement or additional activities like a cinema room, gym, and other amenities. Whatever the reasons, a custom home will speak out genuinely of the owner's personality and lifestyle. Again, these homes are for those with ample time and budget to match the design time needed by the architect and the builder's work costs.

Semi Custom Home - Homboo Homes


¿What is a semi-custom home?

A semi-custom home is what many call the "sweet spot," right between a "Spec" home (ready to move in) and a custom home. However, if you decide to go this way, you must take the time to search and find the house plan that is right for you. Now, it needs to be mentioned that many stock plan providers are on the Internet. However, many of them offer very similar designs. So, you must do your homework and search thoroughly for a high-quality house design style with a friendly and simple floor plan that fits your needs and lifestyle. Designs that are unique, beautiful, simple, efficient, and, most importantly, that also fit your needs, time, and budget constraints but still provide the home of your dreams.
On the other hand, the semi-custom alternative allows, if needed, rearranging minor walls and customizing all interior and exterior finish products to fit your requirements and likes. Also, add-ons, such as a garage, etc., are part of the process.

On the whole, semi-custom homes always offer the possibility to be customized. Thus, allowing for some degree of customization –albeit from a limited roster- making the new home somewhat different without the burden of designing a home from scratch. These projects usually are also built-in less time and lower budget. So if timeframe or a limited budget is a concern, semi-custom is the way to go.

This semi-custom option is also for customers who will not stress out from the many decisions that need to be taken throughout the process but has limits on the budget and time. However, the envisioned dream home is intact because of the variety and high quality of home designs and floor plans found on the market (as an \example of these, visit

¿Should I choose a custom or a semi-custom home?

Ultimately, the two more determinant factors are time and budget. Suppose you're going into the project with a flexible timeframe and budget with a specific vision for your future home. In that case, you'll likely be happier with the results of a custom home.

Suppose you have budget restrictions and would like the project ready in a certain amount of time, but your vision is a bit more flexible. In that case, you'll likely feel more satisfied with a semi-custom home. You still make it look unique to what you want but with a smaller budget and less time.

Our recommendation

Our pro tip is to go for an architect's ready home design that fits your dream home's expectations and aspirations and will save you time and money. The trick is choosing the right one. At Homboo, we offer residential house plans designed by architects and home designers who are always eager to create new design approaches using the latest architectural style trends and innovative house floor plan approaches to offer high-quality home designs and fabulous lifestyles. These designs stand out from commonly found traditional homes found on the Internet.

Ultimately, you're getting a lot more bang for your buck with these house plans rather than choosing a more traditional one and trying to modernize it to a trendy style. As we like to say… "The effort, time, and money needed to build a new house using a generic home blueprint design vs. building it with an outstanding one are about the same... However, the return on the investment is not".

Click here and visit us at to learn more about what we do.

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