When I sit down with a prospective customer for an initial consultation, we always discuss whether or not I am the right builder for their personal needs and situation. Consider it a "mutal interview" to discuss expectations, visions, and objectives. This conversation frequently leads to two questions. "As a custom home builder, how do you compare to tract home builders"? And, "what makes custom home builders different from larger corporate tract home builders?". I would not be honest if I told you that I am the builder that can meet the needs for everyone. One shoe does not fit all when it comes to building a person's home. However, if you can relate to the three following considerations, then a custom home builder may be the best type of builder to partner with to build your home.
1. Personalization - The essence of building with a custom home builder is uniqueness. When you custom build you get what you truly want. The very nature of a custom home builder is that we are flexible and creative so you get the home you envision. Custom home builders build with your personal needs in mind. Larger corporate tract home builders build for the masses by using cookie-cutter facades, limited floorplans, and reducing your choices to predetermined options. Also, one last note regarding personalization. Personalization adds marketability to your home for resale value. Which do you think would be the easiest to resale - a custom home that is unique to all others in the neighborhood or a tract home that very closely resembles every other home on your street?
2. Pricing - A common misconception is that custom home builders are higher priced than corporate-owned tract home builders. However, when you compare tract to custom, you get more for your money with custom home builders. Many times tract home builders advertise a low price for a bare-bones, basic home and then charge a premium price for options and ammenities. These options and ammenities are status quo for custom home builders and are already included in our price, giving you more value for your dollar. We include the options upfront so you know exactly what you get for the price you pay. Additionally, when comparing custom to tract, take the time to truly compare the details of homes. Are you getting an "apples to apples" comparision? For instance, the standard height of the bathroom vanity/cabinet in many tract homes is 31" and it's 36" in custom homes. How does the quality and types of building materials compare? Are the homes built with prefabricated trusses or onsite? What is the thickness of lumber used in the framing?
3. Personal Service - What are your expectations when it comes to discussing your vision, expectations, and concerns for your new home? With a custom builder you will always know who to contact about any situation - ME. My job is to focus on you, your home, and keep you well informed throughout the entire construction process. I'm dedicated to serving you to the best of my ability because I own the company. Who do you contact with a corporate tract home builder when you have questions or concerns? Will an employee of a corporate tract home builder be as motivated to address your questions and keep you well informed on the status of your new home? Just consider this - where do you receive the best customer service - a large national retailer or a local family-owned store?
Lastly, it would not be fair to completely generalize every tract home builder and custom home builder. Even custom home builders can vary. However, the one thing I can promise is that I will commit to meeting and exceeding your expectations in each of these categories. It'll be one of the first things we discuss when we sit down and discuss partnering together to build your new home.
Craig Williams is owner and custom home builder in residential construction for J. Craig Homes. J. Craig homes builds custom homes in Mobile, AL, Daphne, AL, Spanish Fort, AL, Fairhope, AL, Semmes, AL and West Mobile, AL and other areas located inside Mobile and Baldwin Counties of Alabama.
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