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Custom Home Builder vs General Contractor: What’s the Difference?

June 13, 2019

Building a new home means taking a big leap. It’s one of the most costly purchases, as well as one of the most exciting milestones, you’ll experience in your lifetime — and that’s why it’s crucial to find a construction partner that’s right for you. There are endless choices to make and questions to answer during the homebuilding process, but the question we see people struggling with most often is who they should employ for building their new home. Is a general contractor the best bet, or a custom home builder? And many home builders are also required to have a general contractor’s license, so does that mean they’re essentially the same thing?

Contrary to what many people think, there are some substantial differences between the two roles, and those differences can impact the outcome of your new home if you don’t choose the best fit. Here’s everything you need to know about custom home builders versus general contractors, and which one is the best option for you.

What Does a General Contractor Do?

As the name implies, a general contractor contracts out the general aspects of a home build. It’s easiest to think of them as the boss of a group of employees or the head coach of a team. They’re not always a specialist in one aspect of home building or construction, but they organize different resources and delegate construction and associated duties to others who are experts in various trades.

For example, when it’s time to lay a home’s foundation, a general contractor will subcontract that work to the individual experts who are qualified to do so. The same is true when it comes time for building the walls and installing plumbing, electrical, flooring, and so on until the entire home build is complete. As a facilitator, your Austin general contractor also ensures that any necessary permits are obtained before tackling each stage of a build. A general contractor will bill extra on top of each job he or she subcontracts in order to earn a profit.

How Is a Custom Home Builder Different From a General Contractor?

Whereas a general contractor handles the big picture of the home build and delegates each individual task to a different expert, a custom home builder fulfills both the project management role as well as that of a general contractor. The biggest difference between the two is that a custom home builder has more resources at their disposal to help throughout your build.

For instance, they may have on-staff architects, designers, project managers and other construction experts, as well as additional supply chain relationships that cut out the middle man.They can leverage existing relationships with construction contractors and materials vendors to ensure that you’re getting the absolute best service and craftsmanship.

Instead of merely jumping in when it’s time to build, home builders manage every step of construction from design (or even identifying a lot to build on) right down to the final walkthrough. They are experts at home building and understand how to schedule a project so that there aren’t significant delays.

Which Is the Best Construction Partner for My New Home?

In a nutshell, the choice of a construction partner comes down to the specifics of your job and your personal preference. Many people prefer a general contractor, thinking that they will finish building the home more quickly so that they can make more of a profit. However, general contractors typically lack the kind of scheduling tools, expertise, and resources in terms of labor that a custom home builder has. This can often result in delays that will extend the length of your build. Furthermore, general contractors will not necessarily vet your design to ensure that it’s structurally sound, that it flows architecturally, and that you’re getting the best value for your dollar.

Working with a custom home builder can result in a more flexible job overall. Since the builder is responsible for all of the construction, the communication process can be much more efficient and convenient, especially if any additions or modifications to the original plan are necessary. Relying on one builder rather than a large team of independently paid experts will result in a home that has consistently superior craftsmanship and thoughtful design.

Another bonus of working with a custom home builder is that you’re not limited to a certain number of model home floor plans from which to choose. Instead, your construction partner will consult with you to choose a neighborhood, lot, and full layout that is completely customized to your preferred design aesthetics and lifestyle needs.

Feeling ready to take the leap of designing and building the custom home of your dreams? It doesn’t have to be a stressful process. At Paradisa Homes, we’re builders of custom homes in Austin, homes that are every bit as unique as the individuals and families who call them home. Whether you’ve got a specific vision in mind or need help designing a space that feels perfectly suited to you, we’re here to help you through each step of the process. Give us a call or send us an email, and let’s get started on building your forever home.