What is a custom home?

Custom builders create homes designed for each owner individually or from their own, private stock of designs. While production builders build communities by restricting design to a group of preselected home types lots they have picked and purchased themselves, custom builders tend to build on land owned by the customer and start fresh with each design. Custom builders also spend more time on each project and often work on fewer than 10 homes a year.

Benefits of a Custom HOme

Custom homes stand out from the crowd. They are each one-of-a-kind and are typically upscale with luxury upgrades and unique architectural design. These homes can be more stylized than many production homes—a buyer can contract anything from a luxury log cabin in the woods of Vermont to a pueblo-style home in New Mexico.

Home buyers choose their ideal location and environment, so custom homes often incorporate elements of the landscape into the design and can be built to fit each sites' outstanding feature; whether that is a view of the ocean, a natural stream, or the distinct colors and plants of a desert landscape.

Trends in Custom Homes

Green Building

Concern for the environment is growing among U.S. households-and so are energy costs. Because of this, many custom builders are embracing green building techniques. Features like solar panels, water-saving appliances, insulation to improve heating efficiency and the use of renewable or recycled building materials are all popular techniques to improve a home's efficiency. Custom builders allow buyers to include a wide range of green products and give them the opportunity to weigh each cost and benefit to create a home that is stylish, comfortable, but also eco-friendly.

To find out more about green building you can visit NAHB's Green Building & Energy Efficiency page.

New Amenities

Specialized amenities really set custom homes apart. Today home owners like to see features that will improve their lifestyle through health, entertainment or comfort. Yoga studios, resistance pools and fitness rooms can be added to encourage healthy living; game rooms, theaters and even a bowling alley can be added for fun; and for comfort, breezy, screened-in porches or warm hearths can make your home feel cozy and welcoming.

Custom amenities are also taking a turn to the world of tech. In world where there's an app for everything, buyers are beginning to expect a custom home to do more and be "smart." Nowadays you can control many features in your home using a phone, controlling energy usage, security systems, lighting and even the music playing in each room.

This nook is an example of the unique architectural details often included in custom homes.

Multigenerational Living

Whether it's aging parents moving in with their adult children or young adults living back with Mom and Dad, multigenerational households have specific needs when it comes to a home.

Custom builders are seeing an increasing need to tailor homes to this lifestyle. According to a 2011 study by the Pew Research Center, 39% of adults ages 18 to 34 have had to move in with their parents in recent years. In the same year, the U.S. Census reported that 4.3 out of 76 million households were made up of at least three generations.

Multigenerational families often build homes that include the traditional "mother-in-law suite" or even feature a locked-off living space within the home. These apartment-style spaces can have their own kitchenette, full bathroom and living areas to provide a sense of privacy and independence.

Universal Design

As the country grows older and many baby boomers look to retirement, Universal Design (UD) features are an ever-growing priority for many custom buyers and builders. UD is used to ensure that features like wider doors, lower countertops and fewer stairs are used to create a home that everyone can enjoy comfortably. An accessible home allows owners to age in place, prolonging their ability to stay in the house independently and can also increase value by opening the market to any future buyer, despite age, stature or ability.

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