For first time home owners or want to be home owners that are considering going NEW then there are some things to consider.
There are essentially 4 types of new homes you can choose from.
1.) Fully Custom - It is what it sounds like. Just as its name states, custom built homes are as YOU want them. As the prospective home owner you would be expected to hire an architect whereby with regular meetings you, your architect, and builder would design a home according to your direction, and vision. You would choose all the materials, finishes, colors, mostly everything to be done as YOU want it.
2.) Semi-Custom – A semi-custom home usually refers to a type of new construction home whereby the builder will either provide you with a multiple different home plans to choose from. Yet the home buyer can make small changes to the plans, but usually not to the structural elements as well as they get to choose the finishes mentioned in 1.a. This kind of home is probably your most commonly used option, and many of your local & national builders prefer to offer this as it is the most flexible to most people. For instance here in Mount Pleasant SC one national home builder has 60 lots they purchased from a very large Charleston South Carolina construction company. The builder has 8 plans, that more or less all look the same from outside, and you as prospective home owner can choose, some exterior differences, like type of siding, where the siding goes, if the porch is 12 ft or 18 ft. Then you can also choose your interior colors, list of fixtures to choose from, list of counter tops, trim packages etc. Make sure you have a realtor who has a knowledge of new construction and building when going this route.
3.) Spec (Speculative) – Spec homes are where a builder (national or local) will pre-build a newly constructed home, choose the floor plans, and the finishes, landscaping, etc. hoping that a prospective buyer will be interested in buying it as he or she designed it. They are “speculating” that there are enough interested buyers in the market, hence the name Spec Home. These homes are usually built in established neighborhoods often times in nicer communities consisting mostly of custom homes.
4.) Tract Home – Usually your most affordable option – As defined by Wikipedia – Tract housing is a style of housing development in which multiple similar homes are built on a tract of land which is subdivided into individual small lots. Tract housing developments are typically found in North American suburbs that were modeled on the “Levittown” concept and sometimes encompass large areas of dozens of square miles. These homes are also usually built on a Spec basis, but tract homes are more commonly cheaper, and much larger communities with lesser quality finish materials.