You've decided that it's time to purchase a new home. You're immediately faced with an important decision: do you purchase a production home or a custom home? Understanding the difference between the two is important to making this important life decision.

A production home involves using a house design that has been used multiple times by the home builder. Often referred to as 'tract' homes, they often appear in suburban locations and densely populated areas. They are built by large-volume home builders. Typically, all of the homes in a given tract will be owned by one production home builder. One of the biggest benefits of using a production home is that they are built at a variety of price points. They are built to be economical and provide a big 'bang for your buck.' Another benefit of choosing a production home is that you don't have to go through the stressful process of decision making that accompanies custom homes. The biggest drawback of purchasing a production house is that you'll have what many call a 'cookie cutter' home, since the design was used multiple times in the same area.

Conversely, a custom home builder creates a unique home that's typically designed and built from the ground up. Having a custom built home requires increased collaboration between the future homeowner, the architect, the custom home builder and other people involved in the logistics of creating a unique home.  The future homeowner will typically already own a plot of land that they want to put a house on. Additionally, the lot itself will be a driving factor in the designing and building of the home. Custom home builders are generally associated with creating higher quality homes than production homes. There are two massive benefits that draw people to having a custom home built: flexibility and choices. A custom home builder will allow the homeowner to decide upon everything used in the home building process. However, the drawbacks of building a custom home are that it takes more time and almost always has a higher cost than a production home.

There is another category that many refer to as semi-custom home. In this increasingly common type of home, a selection of floor plans are offered to the customer, who then chooses their favorite. They may even customize the floor plan to suit their specific needs. In some situations, production home builders simply build different floor plans to give potential buyers an option.