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Differences Between Spec, Tract, and Custom Builders

There are many different kinds of builders in the home building industry. You may hear the terms Spec Builders, Tract Builders, and Custom Builders, so it is extremely important to know the differences, so you will know the type of builder that you need to build your home.

Tract Home is usually built onto land that has been purchased by a builder, and broken up into lots. The homes are built from a specific set of plans, determined by the builder, and generally, you cannot make changes to the design. The builders usually build all kinds of housing, such as single-family homes, condominiums, and townhouses. The subdivisions will usually be built out relatively quickly, and there will usually be very little confusion about what the house next door will look like upon completion. Price point will be a major consideration, so quality can sometimes be compromised. Obvious things like paint and carpet grade, cabinets and appliances are where money may have been saved. It is not unusual for building materials, such as shingles and framing elements to be another area. If a buyer isn’t familiar with building methods, and or materials, they may be unaware of these things. Tract homes may be somewhat inexpensive, and not best for a short-term investment. Resale value is a big disadvantage, as price is usually the only thing that makes one different from the exact same house down the street.

A Spec Home is usually, like a Tract Home, built onto land purchased by the builder. The builder purchases the land, and ‘speculates’ that they will build and sell by building a custom, or semi-custom house on it. It may be purchased before, or at the beginning stages of construction, which will give the purchaser opportunities to choose some of the finishes, or to make changes. Often times, it is a medium sized home with custom features, but they can be anywhere between a condominium, or a small home, also with custom finishes, ranging all the way to a large, luxury mansion. Whatever the case, if the builder purchased the land, and built a house specifically to sell it, it would be considered a Spec Home.

A Custom Home is a one-of-a-kind house, built on land that you already own. They can offer you anything from building/design services, or general contracting services. Specific features can be added by the buyer, such as larger doorways and or rooms, higher ceilings, or an extra garage, for example. A custom home allows for you to have the home of your dreams!

Often, when people hear ‘Custom Home,’ they think of an extremely large, extravagant house. While this may be true sometimes, a Custom Home can also be a small house. It can be very standard in many ways, and still be a Custom Home. Generally, the Architect, the Builder, and the Homeowner will decide on the plans, and choose variables that will make it differ from other houses. It will be customized to the owner’s desires and tastes for features, size, amenities, style, and creative touches.

A Custom Home is, simply, a location specific home, built for a client, from a specific set of plans.


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