What's The Difference Between a Custom Home Builder and a Project Builder?

Choosing the type of builder is one of the first and most important decisions you'll make on your home-building journey.

If you've started researching new home builders, you probably already know there's a long list of property builders to choose from. So, how do you choose which one is right for you?

We're here to help you with the decision-making process if you're trying to decide between the two.

What is a custom home builder?

Custom home builders specialise in building and designing unique homes. They draft new designs for each home, making them suit your needs and lifestyle. They don't work on more than a few projects at once. They are more available to work closely with you on your project.

Benefits and drawbacks

There are pros and cons to every building provider, but custom homes are often the choice for quality, customisation and service. Keep reading to find out more...


1. Workmanship. Custom builders only deal with a handful of projects at once, so they have the time and attention to detail to ensure your home is built well. Additionally, their reputation rests on just a few reviews at a time, making quality even more important to them, unlike project builders who have hundreds of homes a year to fall back on. 

2. Communication. Custom builders are often more attentive & quick to respond because they deal with only a few clients at a time. You'll find they often have more availability, and they have patience and understanding for your questions.

3. Choice and flexibility. Custom builders' most significant advantages are the freedom of choice and design flexibility. You aren't locked into a display home or set of standard plans and can create your dream home from scratch. 


1. Price. Production builders can buy their materials in bulk, and that is where they reduce their costs to be a budget-friendly alternative. Custom homes often carry a higher price tag, but the benefit of personalisation and the added quality and care is often considered more than worth it.

2. Location. Custom builders are often restricted to their local area. You may have found a custom builder you love online, but if they are more than a few hours away, they may not have the resources to reach you. 

In Conclusion

If you are looking for a specific design, or something unique, a custom builder will always be the best choice. If the house you are building is meant to be your forever home, then the custom home building is also important to ensure it has all the features and things you'll need to match your lifestyle and house dreams for years to come.

What is a project home builder?

These builders offers a range of standard, pre-designed house plans to choose from. They work in high volumes, often building hundreds of homes each year. They often work in developments building multiple, similar homes and have plans to fit certain block types and sizes. 

Benefits and drawbacks

Volume and project builders that build on a larger scale may not have the same quality or care as a custom builder, but they do come with their own benefits. 


1. Money savings. Project builders can buy their materials in bulk and are often the last to be affected by material shortages due to their high demand and supplier relationships. 

2. Simple process. If you're looking for a simple floor plan (perhaps an investment home) to copy and paste, then this is a simple way to build. Project homes require far fewer decisions than custom homes. 

3. What you see is what you get - if you struggle to imagine what you're getting and want to copy and paste what you've seen in display homes, project homes will give you that option. 


1. Limited flexibility. While project builders sometimes boast that you can make changes to their plans, these are usually limited to a select few fixtures, finishes and floor plan options. 

2. An unknown building team is onsite. Project builders have large teams of trades working on multiple projects simultaneously. If you want to get to know your builder personally to develop trust and understanding, knowing who will be on your block of land, then a custom builder will be the one who can give you that personalised service.

3. Limited communication. While many project builders aim to please their clients, the reality of dealing with hundreds of projects a year is that customer service is not as personal or as attentive. They may have the willingness to help you understand the process, but they often won't have the time, availability and patience of a custom builder.

In Conclusion

This is a great choice if you live in a new development and want a copy-paste home-building solution from a display home or similar plans. If you are a first-time home buyer, this can often be the budget-saving option to get you into the market before you find your future forever home with a custom builder.

Which type of builder is best for your new home build?

There is a vast difference between custom and project home builders, so evaluating your needs, budget, and personal values is essential before entering into a contract. 

If you want the best customer care, with high-quality results and a customised homemade to suit your lifestyle, then a custom home is for you. 

Or, if you're looking for a quick solution that matches the pages of a home-building magazine that will cost less than other options, then a project builder may be what you're looking for.

We hope you make the best decision for your next home build!

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