Cincinnati Builder News & Property Updates

Insights for today's Classic lifestyle

Custom, Semi-Custom & Production Homes Defined

Many Cincinnati builders use the term, “custom home” to describe their company’s product. The phrase creates the feeling of luxury or above-and-beyond in the home’s construction. Both of those characteristics are accurate, but true custom home construction has numerous additional attributes that play a role in the final product.

Let’s look at the three types of home construction:


Custom - A full-custom home should possess “one-of-a-kind” exterior architecture and lot development, an interior floor plan that fits the buyer’s needs like a glove, specialty rooms that are fit to the home buyer’s lifestyle, such as a pub, billiard or media room, use of superior building materials and the highest level of craftsmanship. Most importantly, custom home building always places the home buyer at the center of the process. The buyer works closely with the architect/designer and builder to ensure that their unique vision is reflected flawlessly in the finished residence. During the process, the buyer helps formalize design, lot layout, floor plan, room dimensions, trim, flooring, fixtures - every attribute that gives the home a true personalized, or “custom” feel. For these considerations, custom homes are the more expensive option of the three types.


Semi-Custom - This home building option begins from a builder’s stock plan. There may be a few homes built in the community that share similar architecture, but the semi-custom option allows for personalization to be added by the home buyer. Room layout changes, additional rooms, exterior finishes, interior trim, fixtures, etc. can be altered from an original design to accommodate the buyer’s vision. This option utilizes less home buyer input than full-custom, and some mid-grade materials may be used in construction. This is reflected in a middle price-point for that reason.


Production - This type of home is usually part of a larger single-builder development, where there are many homes possessing repetitive exterior architecture, lot layout and interior floor plans. Finishing options such as carpet, paint, fixtures and cabinets can usually be made by the home buyer, but Production homes do not begin to approach the scope of options and quality of materials that full-custom and even semi-custom homes have. This is reflected in the home cost being the most modest of the three options.

So, which option is right for your lifestyle? 

First, balance your family’s needs and budget to make the decision. Lock in your budget and stick to it. Window shopping can create issues for both the builder and the potential home buyer. Finally, take a tour of at least two of the three home building options to get a feel for which is the right choice. You can usually determine which of the three options a builder is from their website or marketing materials before visiting one of their homes. If it isn’t clearly stated, be sure to ask. This will set expectations early in the process. If possible, talk to the builder in person. If they build ten to twenty homes per year locally, you are more likely to receive personalized attention. If they build hundreds of homes in multiple markets… Well, you get the idea.


Classic Living Homes is a true custom home builder. Call us today for your personal tour - 513-515-5123