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Custom Builder vs Project Builder - the winner - Property Unravelled

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Are you considering a custom builder or a project builder? Are you getting confused by display home visits, builders jargon and quotes.  What is the difference between a custom and project builder? There are so many decisions to make when building your new home.   The shape and size of the block will generally determine if you require a custom build. But can you still choose a spec home? Will a project builder customise plans for you?

Firstly there is no right or wrong in choosing a custom or project home builder. You need to choose the right builder for you and your needs.  All builders offer different homes, prices, specifications, time-frames and results. They must all build to the same building standards in your state.

Property Unravelled have put together the pro’s and con’s for each type of builder. This list is not representative of all builders so you will also need to do you own research.

Project Builders

  •  Display Villages – Project builders will generally have display homes grouped in a display village.  This gives clients an opportunity to see the type of homes, quality and finishes that the builder can produce.   There are usually quite a few different project builder’s grouped together.
  • Project Builders

  • Standard Plans – They will have standard plans which will allow for some changes depending on the project builder. By choosing a standard plan you will not have to pay for any architect costs which can save you $1,000’s.
  • Pricing – Most project builders generally will work with their set suppliers where you have limited choices of finishers. They will provide you with different packages depending on the finishers you would like.  There will be exclusions which could include footpaths, landscaping, air conditioning and various others.
  • Variances and Admin Fees –  If you do not read the contract carefully you can be hit up for variances and admin fees if you change you mind throughout the build.  If you have never built before these fee’s can definitely add up.  It all depends on the builder as to what fee’s they will add in your contract.
  • Exclusions – Most project builders will have exclusions in their contract.  These could include soil removal, footpaths, landscaping, tile (not to ceiling), mailboxes, clothesline.  When going through your contract ensure that you add all these extra costs into your budget so you can compare with other quotes that you receive.


Custom Builders

  • Display Homes – Depending on the builder they may have a display home but it is generally not in a display village. They will have a portfolio and a list of suppliers that you can visit to check out the their  finishers.
  • Customised Plans – A custom builder can build pretty much build anything you want depending on their experience.   You will need to fork out for an architect/builder designer but your home will not look like all the others in the street. You can get as creative as you want and design your dream home.
  • Pricing – Custom builders will quote for exactly what you want.  They will generally not have exclusions because it will be up to the client as to what you want to include in the quote.   They tend to be more flexible with the suppliers and finishers you choose.   Pricing will depend on what you choose.
  • Variances and Admin Fees –  Again because you have included what you want in the quote there are generally not many variances.  It will depend on ad hoc expenses such as soil or extra soil costs.  Custom builders will tend to add a provisional cost into the quote which will allow for any extra’s that may come up.

At the end of the day builder’s need to build to the state’s standards.  Property Unravelled believe that what set’s a professional builder apart is the systems they have in place, the relationship you have with the builder, their flexibility and the ease of the build.   Make sure you do your research and chat to others in your local area.

Would you like to join a community of like-minded people who are building or renovating in the local area?  We would love to have you over in our House to Home Hub where you can get tips like this and chat to others who are building and renovating in the Hastings area.