Some home builders develop the land on which homes are built. In this capacity they act as the land surveyor. They must look carefully at a piece of land to determine whether it complies with zoning regulations, local planning laws and environmental restrictions, and whether it is suitable for development. In an attempt to determine what lies below the land’s surface, the home builders study a lot’s topography, searching for rock outcroppings, shallow depth bedrock, shallow groundwater, natural drainage sources and dense vegetation.
During this process, the home builders also considers landscaping options and erosion control. Once the builder determines a site suitable for construction, they must navigate through the permitting process.
A custom-built home is one where you are in control of almost everything going into the construction of the home. Most custom-built homes begin with an architect who takes your home builders and produces blueprints. These blueprints become the instructional drawings for the home builders. Some builders offer their own architectural services. Others limit their construction to a few select homes, which already have blueprints created.
You may be able to make significant changes to the plans for a new home in a subdivision under construction. Some builders will build new homes in existing neighborhoods to be sold when they are completed. You may be able to make changes to that construction depending on how much of the building has been completed.
Just as the name suggests, a home with custom floor plans has one or more large, open rooms that function as multiple rooms within a single living space. The most common is a “great room” that combines the kitchen, dining room, and living room in one shared space.
These floor plans usually work extremely well in homes with less square footage – sometimes out of necessity – while larger homes have more leeway to work with when integrating great rooms into a floor plan.
Traditionally, homes built pre-1990s were designed with lots of separate rooms in mind, even though many of these distinct rooms were really only separated by three-quarters of a wall and an open walkway – most often the kitchen, dining room, and living room.
The mindset was that the more rooms a house had, the more attractive, compartmentalized, and functional it was. But designers and homeowners alike started realizing that homes with open floor plan designs could fit more usable living space into the same amount of square footage.