Your Dream Home, Down to the Last Detail

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By Seth Gold, Broker, writer for New Homes & Ideas
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Once you get the idea of a “dream home” in your head, it’s often hard to settle for anything less than perfect. You search and search for that perfect house—you exhaust all current inventory and each new listing that hits the market just doesn’t fit the bill either. Something’s always a little off: it doesn’t have an open floor plan, it has some outdated fixtures, it doesn’t have the right lot size, there isn’t enough garage space, the master bedroom isn’t on the main, etc., etc. You’re on the brink of just giving up and throwing in the towel. Sound familiar? Well before you give up, there’s another option you might want to consider: building a home!

How do you know if building a home is right for you? Well, the main advantage of building new is customization. So if ticking every last box on your “dream house” list is important to you, this is a great option. And to start off the decision-making process that comes with building a new home, you’ll have to choose between a fully custom home or a production home. Not sure what the difference is? Let’s explore each one.

Custom Homes

A custom home is like hiring a baker to make you a custom cake from scratch. You get to pick out everything from start to finish—the size, shape, tiers, colors, frosting, and decorations. Most people interview a few builders to make sure they find the perfect fit—and then after that decision, come a lot more decisions! Custom building is a hands-on process and requires you to be fully involved in the decision-making. Once you pick your builder, you’ll then either need to find a floor plan online for purchase, or hire an architect to draw you custom plans. Don’t forget, you should work with your builder and architect to ensure the plan you want to build will fit on the lot you own or plan to purchase. Now that you have your builder, your plan, and your lot, it’s time to start making the rest of the decisions. What makes custom building so much fun is the fact you can choose literally almost anything during design and make your home one of a kind. From the exterior, paint colors in and out, to the faucets, flooring, and fans it’s your decision. Ryan Perry, owner of ICG Homes, a Custom Home Builder, explains how his company works to make this aspect top priority. “Our tagline at ICG is ‘Make It Your Own,’” says Ryan. “We listen to what our clients want and we respond in the ways that we feel will best achieve their requests. We’ve enjoyed working with clients in a wide range of projects – From custom cabinetry, wall and floor treatments to home theaters, saunas, hidden rooms, and much, much more!”

Photo courtesy of ICG Homes

This is great for someone that knows exactly what they want and love custom, unique features. It can also be a little intimidating for those that aren’t the best at making decisions. Now if you fall into that second group fear not, you can still custom build and not lose all your hair. When shopping around for builders, try to look for one that has an interior designer on staff to help with your decision making. For instance, Julia Reinert, Director of Marketing with Homes By Dickerson, explains how they work to make it as easy as possible with their custom clients.
“Clients meet with our personal designers to choose their exterior and interior selections for their custom home. They are encouraged to bring in their inspirational pictures, whether it is magazine clippings or their Pinterest boards, and then work one-on-one with their designer to create the look or looks that they want to achieve.”

Photo courtesy of Homes By Dickerson

If you can’t find a builder who has a design you feel that you connect with, you can always hire an interior designer on your own.

So who typically uses a custom builder? Someone who knows what they want and doesn’t want to settle. They are willing to pay a premium to build custom knowing they can get every last option they want inside and out. They also may be looking for an extra layer of quality and customizable options than they could find with production homes. They also have more time on their side, considering a custom home could take anywhere from 8 months to a year to finish. For those of you thinking “Wow, I could never make all those decisions or I wouldn’t have the time,” Don’t stress because you may be the perfect person for our next option, production homes!

Production Homes

If custom building was hiring a baker to bake you a unique one-of-a kind cake, think of production homes as going to your local grocery store and buying a blank sheet cake. You’re not going to change the recipe or how it’s made at all, but you still get a decent amount of choices. They probably have different sizes you can choose from, a few colors for the frosting, and will even let you add some little pizzazz here and there. This is your production builder. Unlike custom building where you either own or plan on purchasing your own lot, production builders typically own all their lots or are building out an entire neighborhood. They have pre-selected floor plans you can choose from with usually a fair amount of variety. Once you pick out your floor plan from them, you then get to go to their design center and work with their design staff on picking your options for the interior. Each builder is different but most have many different options for flooring, cabinets, granite colors, etc. At that design meeting you will choose your design options and from there on, it’s just waiting until it’s done and time to move in.
So who typically decides to build a production home? Someone who doesn’t have the desire to choose so many options. Once they find a neighborhood they like with production homes being built, there aren’t too many choices beyond that. Production homes will most likely cost significantly less than a custom build since the production builder has more purchasing power than the custom builder generally has. You are also limited to the brands and selections that the builder has given you to choose from which keeps you from being able to put in $50,000 top of the line chef appliances. The timeline for production homes is usually much faster, anywhere from 4-8 months.

Whether you choose to custom build your home or use a production builder, there are many beautiful home options to make your dream home a reality in the pages of New Homes & Ideas magazine and on!








Seth Gold is a top producing real estate agent that helps buyers and sellers all around the Triangle. He specializes in luxury homes but loves to help everyone from first-time buyers to seasoned sellers. Seth brings his vast knowledge in sales, marketing, and negotiating to get the best outcome for his clients. Whether you’re looking for a resale, new construction, or custom home, reach out to him at Find more articles like this on