Spec Home vs. Custom Home – Which Is Right For You?

If you’re thinking of building a home, you may consider either a spec or custom home. Exploring the differences between each home type, plus their advantages and disadvantages, can help you choose the right home for you and your family.

What Is a Spec Home?

A spec home, or speculative house, is a home that is already designed but not yet built. Homebuilders may purchase property and create a blueprint before placing the property on the market. Once you close on the deal and issue payment, the company builds the home as listed in the blueprint.

Home builders typically create spec home blueprints based on current buying trends. They may consider what types of homes are already selling in the market to ensure buyer interest. They’ll also typically include amenities and features that buyers are currently searching for, such as large yards or open floor plans.

What Is a Custom Home?

A custom home is a house built to your exact design. You’ll usually work with a custom home-building company to discuss every detail of your new home. You may work with an architect to create a layout that you love. You may even plan the home’s floors, walls, hardware, and lighting.

Spec House Vs. Custom Home

Here are a few important considerations when choosing between a spec and custom home:


The price of both a spec and custom home varies, depending on many factors. These factors may include location, size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, yard size, materials, and buyer demand. A smaller custom-built home may be more affordable than a larger spec house. A smaller custom-built house in a highly desirable location could be more expensive than a spec house in a more rural destination. You can also work with a licensed real estate agent when buying a custom build or spec home, which can help control costs.


When it comes to customizability, custom-built homes are a clear winner. When you choose a custom-built home, you can choose materials, colors, layout, and location. You’ll typically have less control over a spec home. Spec homes are designed to appeal to a larger group of buyers, and while some builders may allow you to make minor changes, anything that significantly changes the floor plan or price typically isn’t allowed.


The timeline from purchase to project completion for a spec home is typically much faster than for a custom-built home. Spec homes are already designed, so the builders can break ground as soon as you issue the payment. A custom-built home requires that you plan each room within the home, which can take much longer. When planning a custom-built home, you may also have to work with multiple professionals, like an architect or interior designer. However, customization takes time, and if you have always dreamed of designing your own home, a custom-built one may be worth the extra time.


Builders often have multiple spec homes, meaning your and your neighbors’ homes may all look similar. If you want a home that stands out, you may prefer a custom-built one. Spec homes are usually generic and have the same floors, countertops, counters, and wall colors. Of course, you could always change these to match your style preferences better as you live in the home.


You may also have more control of location with a custom-built home. Spec homes are already planned on certain lots in specific neighborhoods. This means you’ll have to choose your home from one of the available locations. A custom-built home allows you to design your dream home on almost any vacant lot. Having more control of the location also allows you to negotiate or price shop for the best deal on a vacant lot, which can help reduce the costs of building a new home. You can find a custom-home builder anywhere in Ontario, including in the beautiful Muskoka Lakes.

Visit Carlisle Homes if you are interested in home builders.

Resale Value

Both spec and custom-built homes can offer good resale value. Regardless of which one you choose, you’ll be the first owner, and newer homes tend to sell for more. Spec homes are designed based on current buyer trends, which can help if you plan to sell within the next few years. However, remember that housing trends change frequently, meaning you may have to update some features. Custom-built homes are designed around you and your family, which could make them less appealing to buyers unless you consider resale value when planning your build.

Spec and custom-built homes are both excellent options in today’s market. Today’s housing market is extremely competitive, making finding an affordable home that meets your needs difficult. When you choose a speculative or custom-built home, you have more control over the home you purchase.

Amanda Flemings

An accomplished content writer with a talent for weaving words into captivating narratives. With a keen eye for detail, impeccable research skills, and a passion for diverse subjects, they craft engaging, informative, and authentic content. Their ability to adapt and connect with audiences makes them a reliable source of information and storytelling.

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