Custom Construction vs spec vs Existing Home (investment, prices, very expensive)

Custom Construction vs spec vs Existing Home (investment, prices, very expensive)

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I am curious if there is a well understood relationship between the value of going with a custom built house vs the exact same house that is already built as a spec house vs the exact same house a couple of years old.

I would imagine that a new spec home would be worth more than a lived in house exactly like it, but I am not sure how much is usually lost there and how to compare both of those to a custom build.




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Custom will be more expensive than spec which is more expensive than existing home… the only real value of these homes is the land where they are sitting on… build in the middle of nowhere, you can maybe get what you paid for… build it in a desired location, you can sell for more than what you paid for…



Location: Florida –

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Unless the ‘custom’ upgrades are commonly accepted among buyers as adding value, a “custom built” home label doesn’t mean much more than advertising “home made” in a restaurant.

If a new spec home were sitting near the same exact 2-3-year old home, I would probably take advantage of a significant discount on the existing home (assuming there were no obvious problems). In my experience, every new home involves a punch list of of seen and unseen items that need to be fixed. Also, an existing home would likely include amenities such as window treatment, landscaping and other things the seller had discovered were needed. Why re-invent the wheel?



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To simplify…..

– One house brand new
– One house brand new
– One house is two years old

The new houses would likely be priced the same. But maybe, the custom one is higher, because material prices have gone up since the other house was built. Not sure the time frame.

I would assume the new house would be priced higher than the used one if they are exactly the same. The other house is “used” Some people prefer new houses.



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I prefer the house that has had a few years to have things go wrong with it (with those things being fixed). I feel there are less unknowns with the settled house.



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We’re currently under contract to sell our 10 year old spec house, and I’ve long been curious about something…

Does ANYONE attach any value to mature landscaping these days? Is it all NEW NEW NEW, the newer, the better? The house is in a wooded location so it has always been surrounded by forest (unlike many spec houses) but when new it was otherwise totally “unrooted.” No foundation plants, no accent shrubs, no flowers, nothing. Now it’s had a decade for the shrubs to grow and it looks lush and lived in and HOMEY. We found the right buyers who love our house inside and out, and it’s been very well maintained. But, we were extremely realistic with our price, and it’s going for about $20K-$40K less than what is being ASKED for similar spec houses (which have been sitting for a year or more while we got a full-price offer in days.) *Edit… I was referring to the lush landscape when I said lived in and homey. The interior is also live in and homey, but those words can conjure up images of clutter. It’s extremely edited, probably 2/3 of our stuff in storage, new paint, staged but not overly staged, etc.. It went under contract in approximately 1/25 of the average time….

To me, a lived-in house with mature landscaping, as long as nothing is too taste-specific and it has been meticulously maintained, is better than a brand new spec house (or custom house, for that matter, unless custom is spectacular.) Our house was never “perfect,” even when it was new. Nail pops, paint drips, ceilings which were only ever primed, not painted, poorly installed trim, etc.. We actually have a much better house now.

Last edited by cowbell76; 06-13-2014 at 01:19 PM..



4,567 posts, read 9,105,633 times

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Originally Posted bycowbell76View Post

Does ANYONE attach any value to mature landscaping these days?

Unless the house is selling in a very expensive area, there is no return on investment for landscaping. Lets say the house might typically sell for $200k with no landscaping or $200k with $20k in landscaping.

Thinking as a developer…. why bother to spend the money?

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