The difference between Custom and Project homes

What to think about when considering building your dream custom home.

If you’re reading this you have very likely already considered why you’re building a new home. Where, and what you want for your home is probably a bit trickier to decide –from the interior to the exterior – designing and building a home to suit your own style can take time.

But the biggest question is how you’re going to build your custom home – which is inevitably followed by who you are going to trust to build it for you.

When it comes to this stage, In essence, custom homes are one-off, unique buildings always with a personal touch in mind, built-in collaboration with the architect and yours truly. Whereas project homes are built from a range of pre-existing designs, often mass-produced and have little flexibility for personal altercations.

Like almost everything in life, there are pros and cons to both. 

Elements of building a home

There is so much involved in building a home, likely much more than you initially think of.  The difference between a custom home and a project home happens at every stage along the way. 


If you’re looking to have an award-winning, luxury custom home design, with a picturesque view, then you would expect the price to be a lot higher. And you’d be right. However, the cost difference between the two is actually quite comparable.

Project homes are often advertised at their minimum price, which means… getting the minimum. Getting the base package means such things as driveways, alfresco/decking, landscaping, air conditioning and sometimes flooring are not included, and these begin to add up in cost quickly. Further, changing your mind mid-project can often be devastating to the budget.

Custom homes, on the other hand, are built-in constant collaboration with the home buyer, within a budget, so there is more flexible with where and how to spend money.  There are also limitless selections for materials compared to the often restricted selections of project home builders. Not to mention it can be much easier to change your mind along the way without significant reparations.

Layout and Design.

If having a layout and design that really suits you and your lifestyle is important then going with a custom home builder is a no brainer. Working beside you to help you get exactly what you want is where they specialize. 

Project home designs usually offer minimal variation to the original layout and design. They are designed by architects, so it’s not like they lack quality, but perhaps they do lack a personal touch – this can work if you’re happy to choose floor plans from a brochure. Also, to get a real idea for what your house is going to feel like, there are usually display homes to peruse, which means you know exactly what you’re getting, and there can be comfort and peace of mind in that.


If your block of land is sloping, narrow or slightly irregular, project homes probably aren’t the right choice for you. In fact, often there will not even be the option as project home builders are less likely to agree to build on such blocks. Compared to custom home builders who will build wherever the block of your dreams happens to be.

Timeframe of Build.

Custom builders win most of the time here as well. Due to the fact that they often take on fewer clients means they’ve dedicated their time to your build. Project builders can have a huge mass of builds, and so are more subject to disruptions and delays.

The verdict?

In the end, it’s never so black and white as the above. Every company will have its own approach and philosophy, and many great companies will mix and blend between the two. The most important thing is working with people that you trust, so in that case, shop around until you find the people that inspire that in you!