Building your own home can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but let’s face it, it can also be completely confusing right from the get-go. Before you even begin constructing your home, you’ll have to decide on the design that you want. And with so many different designs out there and hundreds, if not thousands, of floor plan configurations, where do you start?
The best place to start is by asking yourself this simple question… Do I want to build a house off a design that is already created or do I want to create my own design?
The difference between custom designed and predesigned house plans
Before we go into the benefits of custom home designs, let’s talk about the difference between custom home designs and predesigned house plans.
The difference is quite simple. Predesigned homes are house designs that have already been developed. These designs are usually created by large scale builders who build hundreds of houses each year and offer a limited number of home designs to their clients. Having only a select number of house designs available helps the builder estimate costs, order material in quantities and streamline the building process. It’s effectively a cookie-cutter method of building.
These builders have researched the market, have an understanding of what their clients are looking for in a home and have developed house plans that are designed to appeal to the majority of people looking to build a home.
Custom Home Designs on the other hand are completely custom to the individual homeowner’s needs. Custom designs are developed from scratch and are based on the specific needs of the family that will be living in the home. Other factors such as the block of land and solar orientation are also taken into consideration. These two factors are not often considered in predesigned plans.
Of course, we’re not saying that one is better than the other. There are some great predesigned house plans available that will be ideal for some families. Particularly if you’re building on a flat standard block and your budget is very tight. But if your family is not standard, you want something a little unique (or your block is a little unique) and you want a more bespoke finish, then a custom home design may be a better option for you.
Benefits of a custom home design
One of the biggest benefits of a custom home design, and the reason most people choose this option, is that you can design your home exactly how you want it to be.
This means you can put the rooms in the location that you want. You can make the rooms as big or as little as you want. You can add angles and curves, higher ceilings, bigger windows and so on. With a custom home design, your options are endless and you are only limited by your budget (and the size of your land of course).
Making alterations to predesigned house plans is also possible but often it comes at a cost and large volume builders generally don’t favour changes.
Another thing that most predesigned homes don’t factor in, and we touched on it briefly, is that the details of your block of land are not considered. This is simply because pre-designed homes are often sold along with the block as a house and land package. In this situation, most of the blocks available are of a standard size and shape and are usually flat. Perfectly created to fit a pre-designed home.
If you already own a block of land and that block is not standard. It may be an odd shape or have a slope, then a custom home design would be a better option for you. You will be able to design your home to fit nicely on the block and make the best use of the features of the block.
You’ll also be able to design the orientation of your home to best capture the sun throughout the day and increase the passive design of your home.
For our climate here in Australia, being able to heat and cool your home through the design and materials used can make a significant difference to your comfort levels and the energy costs of running your home. Passive design is harder to incorporate into a cookie-cutter design approach.
While it may not seem like a big difference, being able to move a window slightly to one side or making the window a little bigger (or smaller) could mean you get more cross ventilation throughout the home… Or the sun warms the home in winter just that little bit longer. This, to us, is one of the greatest advantages of custom home designs compared to predesigned houses.
It should also be noted that predesigned homes often come with preselected colour and finish options. This means that you may only have three or four roof colours and profiles to choose from or the front facade design could be limited to only one or two styles. Kitchen cabinetry, tile choices, colour schemes are also normally preselected and limited in options.
With custom home designs and choosing to build beyond a predesigned house package, your options for design combinations are again, endless. This means that your home can be truly customised to your style, your personal taste and requirements for your family.
Another great benefit of a custom built home is the increased resale value of your home. While you’ve designed your home to perfectly fit your family, there may be a time when you need to sell and move on. If you haven’t made significantly drastic design choices, then there is value in a custom home design.
If there are a lot of houses on the market and most of those homes are pre-designed homes that all look exactly the same and yours is unique, then this is going to give you a distinct advantage.
Downside to custom home designs
We could talk about the benefits of custom home designs all day, but it wouldn’t be a fair article if we didn’t mention some of the downsides. Fortunately, there are only a few.
One of them is the cost of custom homes. While it is possible to build a custom home on a strict budget (anyone who has watched Grand Designs would know this), it is fair to say that in most cases custom built homes can cost more to build than standard home designs.
Creating designs from scratch does take longer. There are often several rounds of design changes and tweaks to get the perfect design. Pre-designed house plans on the other hand are already complete and ready to go.
Building the home can also take a little longer, and the cost of construction is often more. How much more will depend on the choices you’ve made. This can be considered a downside but there is a strong argument here that the quality of the finished product will be much better. And in a home where you’ll be living, playing, creating memories, who wouldn’t want better quality?
Choosing the best design for your new home
The great thing about having different design options is that there’s going to be an option for everyone. Predesigned homes are going to be the ideal option for some families and they’re going to be very happy with their choice. But for other families, predesigned house plans are simply not going to be suitable and choosing a custom home design is going to be a better option.
To determine the best alternative for you and your family you need to consider the following factors
- How long do you plan on living in the home?
- At what stage in life is your family at? Is your family still growing? Will there be significant changes that you will need to factor in when designing your home?
- What are the details of your block of land that will impact your home design? Is your block of land flat and relatively standard? Or is it a unique block that could benefit from a unique home?
- How important is passive design and energy efficiency to you when building your home?
- How much involvement do you want with your home build? Do you want to be fully involved with the design of the home? Do you want to be completely hands-on with the selection of the colours and materials or are you happy for it all to be preselected for you?
Looking for a custom home design?
We love the flexibility and customisation that comes with custom home designs. If you are looking for a more customised home and are wanting a bespoke finish that is perfectly suited to your family and your style, then we can help you out.
Blue Strike Constructions are custom home builders specialising in custom home designs, timber frame construction and cladded homes. If you are looking to build your home in Perth and want options beyond the double brick standard designs, give us a call and let’s talk about building you a custom designed home.