It’s happened! You’ve FINALLY saved enough for a down payment and it’s time to buy the house of your dreams. But should you opt for a fixer-upper? Or a prefabricated home in a suburban development? To help you sort out what’s best for you, here are a few pros and cons of custom and predesigned homes.

Custom homes


A major bonus of electing to build a custom home is the level of choice and control you have. By choosing to build a custom home, you’re part of the daily decision-making process. From big structural choices to the smallest cabinet knobs, you have the opportunity to work directly with the architect and contractor on each and every detail of the house you’re building. Plus you have the luxury of getting to move into a new, fresh, never-lived-in (or totally redone) home that’s been tailored to your needs and choices.


Of course, the flip side of all that choice is the expense. Yes, it’s possible to seek out less costly vendors (custom doesn’t necessarily have to mean luxury). But working with custom vendors and workers likely means using smaller companies. And sometimes those contractors can’t get materials at the same low prices as the larger companies who make prefab housing developments. Additionally, working to build a custom home can mean waiting a long time until move-in. And the inevitable red tape of permits, materials, and even finding workers to take on the project.

Prefab homes


In contrast to a custom home that must be built or re-done before moving in, choosing a prefab home can usually expedite move-in times. Often, these homes are ready to go and available for move in as soon as possible. If you need to move quickly, a predesigned home may be just what you’re looking for.

This type of home could also be a good plan if your family relocates often due to work, or you aren’t sure if or where you’ll settled down for good. In addition to a quick transition and move in, another benefit to a prefabricated home is it can be easier on the bank account than a custom home. Plus, you don’t have to deal with the stress of all the decision-making that goes along with creating a custom home.


As always, there are 2 sides to every coin. Although the initial costs may be less, adding on “extras” (which can even include necessities such as a driveway or septic system) to a prefabricated home can end up costing more out of pocket — maybe even as much as a custom home. So be sure to do your research and compare pricing. You may get some autonomy over simple choices when moving into a predesigned home, but it’s normally from a designated list.

Do what’s best for you

There are pros and cons to both custom and predesigned homes. The most important thing to do is to assess what’s best for you and your family and be confident in your decision.

Here’s hoping you find — or build — your dream home!

Insurance 101 | Safe and smart


about Hannah

Hannah Fairbanks is a freelance writer living in San Francisco with her husband and 2 daughters. When she’s not writing, you might find her reading, packing bento box lunches for her kids, and making sure she gets in at least 10,000 Fitbit steps a day.