What Are Custom Homes?

Joseph Douglas

September 29, 2020


After talking with your loved ones, you’ve all agreed that the house, apartment, or condo you currently live in no longer fits your lifestyle. Whether you have a growing family and need more space or are recently retired and decided to downsize, wherever you live isn’t right for you anymore.

But as you’ve begun to research homes for sale, you’re having a difficult time finding something that meets all your needs. You also wonder: “Where’s the best location for us to move?” “How many square feet do we need?”  One of the most important: “What can we afford?” and, after walking through too many houses: “Will we ever find the ideal home?”

If you’ve become frustrated by your seemingly unending search for a house, you might want to consider building a custom home. But what are custom homes? And how difficult is the process of creating one?


What Are Custom Homes

You may ask: What are custom homes? The simplest explanation is that custom homes are brand new houses designed and built to a client’s unique specifications, starting from the ground up. A potential homeowner can choose from an array of house plans from the builder, make a few tweaks, or add significant modifications. Additionally, a potential client can bring in their house plan ideas or work with a builder, starting with a blank piece of paper. Each of the four choices varies as to how “custom” you want your custom home to be.

The choices also depend on which home builder you meet with, what they offer as a custom home, your budget, and your needs.


Building Your Own Custom Home

What are custom homes, and how “custom” do you want yours to be? As mentioned above, some builders define their homes as “custom” simply by offering you choices of flooring, paint colors, and countertop options. For other home builders, the sky is the limit!

Therefore, it’s important to know how many decisions you want to make, because the idea of building a completely custom home can start out being very dreamy. You look at websites and page through catalogs, save photos of tile samples, kitchen layouts, flooring, bathtubs, and more. You walk down the aisles of hardware stores and gaze at doorknobs, cabinetry, windows, and can’t stop smiling.

The fun part of designing a custom home is that the possibilities for making the final product uniquely yours are endless. However, potential stress can also be endless.  Without some guidance and understanding everything from budgets to timelines, it can quickly become overwhelming.

That’s why Joseph Douglas Homes is here to explain several topics regarding the building process. They want to help you understand custom homes, why you should consider building one, and the basic steps in the process.


Know What You Need Before You Build

The first step in deciding what kind or size of custom home to build is knowing what you need. When you walked through existing houses, what was missing? Were there not enough bedrooms or bathrooms? Was the yard too small? Do you want a laundry room next to the bedrooms for more convenience? Do you need a mudroom so your kids can toss their backpacks where no one will trip over them?

Whatever your needs, make a list. Whether you’re looking for a large open living area or a more compact layout, be sure to determine that before you speak to a builder. If you’re not sure what you need, understand that, too. Most custom home builders ask questions to create the perfect floor plan – for now, and in the future.

Changing around a current floor plan or designing a unique house plan from scratch is exactly what a custom home builder does best. Families come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s no such thing as a “cookie-cutter” house when a builder creates something just for you.


Why Build Custom Vs. Purchase an Existing Home?

As you’ve already discovered, you may have current needs that most older houses don’t meet. You should also think about your future needs: are you considering another baby, will your elderly parents move in, will you have visitors coming to stay; do you need an area to wash and groom your dogs, etc.?  The existing houses you’ve already seen may not have the flexibility and features you’re looking for.

Purchasing a house that’s “fine for now” or one you might “remodel in the future” puts you back in the same situation of living in a residence that’s not a good fit. Don’t settle for a house that’s still wrong just because you’re exhausted by the search.

Your best option is to hire a custom home building company that offers clients various floor plans and architectural styles from which to choose. That allows clients to customize both the exterior and interior of the structure.

Many custom home builders also have design experts on staff to help you select features and finishes for the house. This takes away the feeling of being overwhelmed and leaves the fun part of making decisions.


Specialized Floor Plans

What are custom homes? Some home plans are designed specifically for seniors, such as smaller ranch homes with easy access showers and wider doorways. Other floor plans are geared towards growing families, with more bedrooms and bathrooms, quiet areas for studying, or finished basements for teen hangouts.

Many floor plan options can customize an extra room into a home office or formal dining room; add a wing with a mini apartment for in-laws, visitors, or live-in nannies; or create flex rooms to use as needed.

Frankly, no matter what phase of life you’re in – downsizing after retirement, supporting a growing family, or something else completely – chances are, there’s a custom home that can be created just for you and all your needs.


Custom Built Homes on Custom Lots

Do you already own a plot of land? Maybe it’s a lot with a slope, or it’s very narrow, or it’s an unusual shape. This means you’ll need a custom-designed home to fit on it properly. If the home is built on a slope, you can have a walk-out lower level or the garage under the house. If you have a lake view, you’ll want the residence to be situated so you can see the water from just about any room. If you have lots of trees on the land, you can decide which ones to keep and how to build the house without damaging others.

If you already have land, be sure to let the builder know at your first meeting. This will be a huge factor in the design, size, and placement of your house.


Seven More Reasons to Build a Custom Home

If the above suggestions aren’t enough to consider custom building your home, here are seven more reasons to hire a building contractor:

  • The house is located where you want it.

Owning your lot means you can build a custom home and stay in the current neighborhood you love. Or you can find an area with great schools and settle there instead. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of country living – or moving to the city – it’s all up to you.

Existing homes are built without your specific needs in mind. You might have found a great dwelling but in the wrong location. Or located just the right street, but not the ideal house. By building, you can have both. Your builder can even help you decide how to situate the home on your lot for the best view.

  • What are custom homes? It’s made for you and nobody else.

There’s no substitute for being surrounded with choices made by you, for you, in your own home. With a custom-built home, you’re not just decorating rooms. This home will be a place for your family to live, entertain, dine, and express themselves. You can create your home into something no one else has.

  • Designed for your family’s lifestyle.

What are custom homes? Do you want an open floor plan with space to entertain large groups? Would you prefer quiet, cozy rooms with lovely views and lots of sunlight? Perhaps your family includes artists or musicians, and you’d like a special place for them? Maybe you enjoy grilling out, so you want a big deck and lots of yard space.

Whatever your family needs, you can have it with a custom-built home. When you meet with your builder, go through your list and make sure everyone understands what you’re dreaming of and hoping for. No two families are alike, so neither should be your houses.

  • Live efficiently.

Existing older homes may require costly maintenance, such as a new roof, water heater, appliances, etc. within the first few years of moving in. Older houses can also cost more to maintain and run—especially if they have old windows, bad insulation, and ill-fitting doors where the cold wind blows through.

Custom homes are built with more energy efficiency, which means lower utility bills for you in the long run. Spend your time doing the things you love, not using the time to fix something every weekend.

  • Built for today and tomorrow.

Most existing homes aren’t designed for both the present and the future in mind. Whether you need a big kitchen for hosting holidays, quiet nooks for reading, or flexible spaces for a growing family, a custom builder can design a house that meets your needs for today and what may happen tomorrow as well.

  • Built around your budget.

When you purchase an existing home, you might pay for features you don’t need or even want. When you build a custom home, you get to choose where you invest your dollars. Whether you want a chef’s kitchen, a large porch, hardwood floors, a media room, or something else, you have total control of where the money is being spent.

  • What are custom homes? A good investment.

When you build a custom home, you can be sure of quality construction and materials because you’re the one who picked them out. You can watch while the structure is being built and see the quality craftsmanship.  In an existing home, there’s wear and tear.  Plus, you don’t always know what’s happening behind the drywall. Is the plumbing okay? How’s the electrical wiring? With a custom home, you invest in a high-quality, energy-efficient home that can save you money.


Steps to Designing and Building Your Custom Home with Joseph Douglas Homes

You’ve decided to build a custom home. What’s next? Here are some steps to turn your dream home into a reality.

Step 1 – Talk to Joseph Douglas Homes

Contact the professionals at Joseph Douglas Homes. Discover the possibilities of building a custom home and choosing a perfect floor plan for your lifestyle. The staff will explain the cost, as well as timelines, and answer all your questions. There will never be any surprises when you work with Joseph Douglas Homes.

Step 2 – Determine Your Budget

You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you realize that building a custom home can be very affordable. Talk about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need, what kind of finishes you prefer, architectural details, etc. This way, you’ll get a complete bid with no unexpected expenses or upcharges.

Step 3 – Add Your Personal Touches

Now the fun begins! Keeping your budget in mind, you’ll meet with the Joseph Douglas Homes professional design team. They will assist in the personalization of your custom home and help you choose appliances, countertops, flooring, etc. Feel confident, knowing that your finished product will be the ideal blend of style and substance.

You can use Joseph Douglas Homes’ unique, in-house design experts to individualize one of their portfolio homes or design a custom home tailored just for you and your family.

Step 4 – Walk Your Site

Before they break ground, a Joseph Douglas Homes professional will walk your lot with you to discuss the placement of the home and site considerations (setbacks, clearing trees or brush, the view, etc.). They will also answer any questions to be certain that you are comfortable with the entire process.

Step 5 – Review the Project

Before Joseph Douglas Homes begins construction on your custom home, the final step is to go through every option, customization, timeline, costs, approve your plans, and answer all of your questions.

Also, before it’s even built, Joseph Douglas Homes has advanced three-dimensional software, which allows you to see your custom home from every angle, both inside and out. This in-house custom home design service is offered at no additional cost to their customers.

Step 6 – Realize Your Dream

This is the exciting part!  You get to watch as the home you’ve always dreamed of starts to take shape.

During construction, the professionals at Joseph Douglas will manage all the details of your home build and stay in touch to keep you informed of the progress.

Finally – Move into your dream home and start living your life!


Joseph Douglas Homes

Since 1998, Joseph Douglas Homes has built and remodeled homes in southeastern Wisconsin with award-winning craftsmanship. They are proud to bring their clients’ visions to life by building custom homes with competitive prices and superior design.

With Joseph Douglas Homes, you can build a custom home from one of their plans or yours, or design a one-of-a-kind dream home from scratch. What are custom homes? They’re where you’ll live your best life. Call Joseph Douglas Homes today!

Meet the Author

Joseph Douglas

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