Spec vs. Custom

Have you ever heard someone referring to a “spec house” and wondered what that meant? What are they talking about- a house is a house, isn’t it? In short, the answer is yes… and no. A house is a house, obviously, but there are two major categories that new construction falls under- spec or custom.


A spec house is a newly constructed home that is move-in-ready. These homes are designed and built with all finishes chosen and completed by the builder, not the buyer. Generally, these homes are not purchased by those that will live in them until they are completed. Spec houses are easier and faster for builders to complete as they make all decisions for the house themselves, so they do not have to work with the owner on design or finishing aspects. Often times you will find spec houses in new developments and neighborhoods that are just getting started because of the ease and speed with which they can be built but also because once a developer has a couple houses done they can sell the next couple of builds that will have the same layout and aesthetic before they are fully completed as people can see the ones that are completed and decide if they are what they are looking to buy. Spec houses are a great option for a buyer who is looking to move in sooner rather than later, as they are very close to complete or already completed, and are often times less expensive to purchase than a custom house.

A custom house is a newly constructed home that is owned and funded by the person who will be living in the home. These homes are designed by the owner-tenant with the guidance of the builder and additional professionals. This allows the owner-tenant to have a say in every aspect of the home, starting with the design and layout following all the way through to the paint colors and appliances. The biggest appeal of a custom home over a spec home is that you get a say in everything that goes into the house- layout, siding, paint colors, heat sources, window styles, cabinets, countertops, storage, even the number of outlets in each room. With a custom home you can be as involved, or not, as you choose and feel comfortable. A custom house does usually cost more and require more money up front than a spec house, but if your budget allows, it can make you dream home come to life.

At Handy Homes, we are proud to say we do both spec and custom houses. We pride ourselves on our quality and high standard of work in all of our builds. We also enjoy adding custom touches to our spec homes that most other builders do not do, in order to make every house we build a step above the rest.

-Handy Homes