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

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

Source: Unsplash

The prospect of building a new home is daunting, and right after choosing your lot or land, there are many decisions 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 and house plans for your dream home.

¿What is the difference between a custom and a semi-custom home?

In short, with custom homes, you have control over every detail of your house plan, down to the doorknobs. With semi-custom homes, you can tweak a few things to your liking so that it's still unique but follows a general home blueprint. Let us break it down for us all.

¿What is a custom home?

A custom home, as mentioned above, is a house design where you have absolute control over every detail of the house. From the architectural style, rooms location and their sizes, closets, windows and door sizes and door sizes, ceilings heights down to the electrical outlet types and their location.

Having this much authority over a project is not for everyone when considering the decision matters mentioned above- time, budget, and effort.

In terms of time, custom homes take much longer than semi-custom designs. The reason is that custom homes need to be designed by an architect or a home designer from scratch. Also, while in construction, more surprises will emerge, creating the need for onsite solutions that are more susceptible to setbacks in the deadlines. Also, you have to be careful and make decisions on every aspect of your house design because they all will directly affect the overall construction of the house.

These homes are more expensive in terms of the budget since they're designed, as mentioned above, from scratch precisely according to your needs. Lastly, in terms of effort and control, getting involved with the architect or designer for several months will make you part of the process, and this might be overwhelming and not for everybody.

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, a room arrangement for the house to take advantage of the views they want to see, or even a unique home office arrangement with other rooms such as a cinema room, gym, and other amenities. Whatever the reasons, a custom home will speak 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

Source: Unsplash

¿What is a semi-custom home?

A semi-custom home is what many call the "sweet spot" of home plans, right between a "Spec" home (ready to move in) and a custom. In this case, some house plan services offer house plan designs that are unique, beautiful, and efficient, that will also fit your needs, time, and budget constraints but still provide the home of your dreams.

On the other hand, this semi-custom alternative allows, if needed, to customize all interior and exterior finish products of the home design to fit your requirements and likes. Also, add-ons, such as a garage, etc., are part of the process.

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 not compromised 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. If you're going into the project with a flexible timeframe and budget with a specific vision for your future home, you'll likely be happier with the results of a custom home.

If your budget has restrictions and you'd like the project ready in a certain amount of time, but your vision is a bit more flexible, 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 a home design that is ready but fits your dream home aspiration and goals 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 love design processes and are always eager to create new design approaches using the latest architectural style trends and new and innovative floor plan approaches to offer outstanding home designs and fabulous lifestyles. These designs do not look like the classic "out-of-date" homes built all around us.

This means that you're getting a lot more bang for your buck with these home designs rather than choosing a more typical one and trying to customize it to a modern style, or going the custom route and ending up with a similar result and a higher bill. 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".

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