Homebuyers’ Guide to Spec Homes
Homebuyers entering the market set out in hopes of purchasing a previously-owned home or working with a builder to design their own custom dream home. However, a third option remains for those who would like to buy something new without the hassle of designing an entirely custom home, this option is known as spec homes or move-in ready homes.
What is a spec home?
The term “spec home” comes from the word “speculative.” Builders scope out the market for popular layouts, trends, and needs of the community to make the homes more appealing to potential buyers. When a builder begins the construction of a spec home, they speculate that someone will want to purchase the home and build with a specific demographic in mind.
Is a spec home the same as a model home?
The short answer is no, a spec home is not the same as a model home. For spec homes, a builder buys a specific plot of land, assuming someone will want a home there and begins building with the intent of selling. Typically, builders construct model homes in large batches, like a subdivision, with a few basic floor plans prepared for each. Most model homes look alike, whereas a spec home offers prospective buyers some customization power.
If a buyer shows interest during the early construction of a spec home, that buyer can jump in with customizations, finishings, and materials that one would consider an upgrade. In terms of price, spec homes fall in the middle between custom homes and model homes, with model homes being on the cheaper side due to material and build time.
As for choosing between a model home versus a spec home, consider if the home fits your needs. Ask yourself, what’s my budget? Do I like the home? Would I make any changes? How close is it to the amenities I’m looking for? If you would rather have some say in location or customization, you may consider a spec home instead.
What are the benefits of buying a spec home?
Expect quick, ready move-ins when choosing a spec home. Unlike custom home building, which generally requires eight months to two years, spec home building takes approximately six months to complete. Even then, spec homes typically go up for sale closer to the end of construction.
Since spec homes show up on the market closer to the finish date, you gain a more hands-off approach than custom home building requires. If you want to skip the process of choosing every detailed decision, from floor plans to roof material, then spec homes are the way to go. You won’t come down with a case of designer fatigue — otherwise known as feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of options and decisions — because the builder makes those decisions for you.
However, some spec builders will allow a buyer to make changes in the early stages of construction. If you find a spec home that you like and want to buy, you could negotiate alterations or additions with the builder — so long as it’s fixed at a reasonable rate and written out in a contract. If you decide you like the house the way it is, the only step is choosing the finishes for your home and moving in!
Specs also allow buyers a chance to see the home before they decide to buy. Potential buyers can peruse the already-constructed site and visualize themselves living there. They may decide the layout is not what they’re looking for or fall completely in love with, already envisioning designs for each room. Overall, spec homes save buyers time otherwise spent on researching, planning, and decision making in the custom build world.
What are the downsides of buying a spec home?
The biggest downside of buying a spec house is not making most of the major design decisions. Some buyers want complete control over how their home looks, from the foundation to the general layout to the siding material. Creating a home and buying a home are big decisions. If spec homes do not meet a buyer’s expectations, then a custom home may fit better.
Ready to discover your dream home? At Fairfield, we design spec, custom, and semi-custom homes perfect for your lifestyle amongst awe-inspiring desert views. Reach out to us today for more information!