Menu Close

What is the difference between a Custom and a Semi-Custom Home?

When building a house, there are an array of options to sample, pre-built, prefabricated, semi-custom, and custom homes. While most people clearly understand what most of these designs entail, they are not quite clear on semi and custom-made homes. Just as the name suggests, semi-custom-made design allows you some bits of customization. This means the architect comes up with the design plan while minor details like the finishes and features are built to match your style and preferences. Custom homes allow a prospective homeowner to do full customization. This simply means you get to choose your home plan and build process to the finish phase. This article gives distinctive features of these two home types.

Control Level

Custom-made homes are those built fully according to the unique style and preferences of a homeowner, from start to finish. This implies that the owner has full control of everything including the floor plan, design, build phase and finish.

Beautiful custom-built home in Colorado

For this reason, the finished product is unique and custom, thereby increasing their cost over semi-custom-made homes. Due to the daunting process of planning, designing and building tailored to the specific needs of a homeowner, the build timeframes of custom-made homes tend to rank higher than that of semi-custom-made homes.

Semi-custom-made homes offer homeowners partial customization in the build process. The architects prepare the plan, design and go on to construct the house. You then contribute your input in some details for instance finishes and minor features like cabinets. For this reason, semi-custom-made homes tend to be cheaper, a little unique and take less build timeframe compared to custom-made homes.

Build Timeframes

The process of engaging architects and designers to come up with your required plan delays the build timeframes of custom-made homes. The back-and-forth changes to incorporate your style and preferences during the construction phase further increase the build timeframes. In short, the custom home type is meant for the very patient individuals who are not planning to move in any soon.

The construction of a semi-custom design is quite clear-cut. The architects come up with a building plan and start and complete the building process while the owner brings in their input. Their input can be incorporated into the finishes, color, and some features like lighting and interior décor. The reduced timeframes when choosing a semi-custom-made design are also attributed to the lack of back and forth when trying to incorporate changes.

Cost Considerations

For homeowners with a flexible budget and money is not a problem, then their choice between these two designs would be custom. Due to the intensive process of sitting down and architects listening to and accommodating their ideas, the cost is automatically expected to go higher. During the construction phase, homeowners of custom-made homes always come with changes to the initial design, thereby reducing the agreed timeframe. By introducing changes, it means the already-built features will have to be demolished to accommodate the new ones. This translates to significant losses in material and countless labor time.

If you are budget-stricken, your better choice between these two designs is semi-custom. The clear-cut plan, design, and streamlined build process reduce build timeframes and eliminate the room for wastage in materials and labor hours. The aspects both point to a reduced build cost.


As previously noted, custom homes provide homeowners with full customization during their home-build process. Unlike semi-custom-made design where architects have pre-designed templates, with custom-made homes, a team of architects and designers are assigned to help you actualize your home dreams. You then proceed to explain every detail including décor, and finishes, and the team will happily incorporate them into the build plan. The build process is also tailored to your style and pace, where changes are also welcome.

Semi-custom style provides homeowners with limited customization of their units. Your architect avails you an array of pre-designed templates, plans and styles to explore. With a choice of your home plan, they embark on the build process where your input may come in décor and finishes.

Your choice between these two designs will greatly be determined by the level of customization that you envision in your ideal home, how fast you plan to move in, and your budget size. If you are after a lot of customization with a flexible budget, consider custom-made home design. Semi-custom style is meant for those with a strained budget, who do not have a lot of customization and are planning on moving in soon.