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The Gilbert model surrounded by a green field AB Homes new home builder Suffolk
The Gilbert model surrounded by a green field AB Homes new home builder Suffolk

On the Home Front Blog »

A Custom Built or Cookie Cutter Home?

by Brandon Simpson and Dan Lawson

So you’re in the market to buy a new home.

You’ve thought about hiring a company to construct it based on their floor plan. But, you’re also looking at new, pre-built homes in a subdivision with lots of other houses. Both options feature about the same square footage and the same number of rooms you seek.

There are many factors that go into deciding on a home, including the location, architectural features, the floor plan and your lifestyle. In this blog post, we’ll provide a little behind-the-scenes background, based on our experience in the business.

Subdivisions often are referred to as “cookie cutter.”

In the home construction industry, subdivisions often are referred to as “cookie cutter.” That’s not meant as a derogatory term; subdivision builders use it too. With one home looking almost exactly like the others, they look like cookies from the same batch, and the building process resembles cutters pressing the dough. Typically, you’ll find fewer floor plans, lower ceilings, basic features and small lots.

A good custom home builder, on the other hand, will use higher-end products and offer more variety and style when it comes to floor plans, architectural features and customizable options. You also have a say in the location, choosing a lot from the builder’s inventory, or looking for locations on your own.

Things to consider before making your decision.

Regardless of whether you are going the custom-built route, or buying a new pre-built home, there are a number of things to consider before making your decision:

Compare the size and condition of the lots.

Do you like having privacy and a roomy yard, or are you okay with having neighbors close by and a smaller lot?

Research the builder.

Do they have a good reputation for building quality homes? Look for online reviews, tour homes they’ve built and ask for references. If it’s a subdivision, don’t be afraid to ask the neighbors how they like living there.

Schedule a tour.

Ask for a walk-through of either the builder’s model home or one that’s on the market. Look at the workmanship, and see how it feels to you when you walk from room to room. Can you see yourself there?

Find out what’s standard and customizable.

Will the builder’s standard home features suit you a few years down the road, or are there items you may want to upgrade in the future? Find out what comes standard and what’s customizable with regard to flooring, cabinetry, counter tops, tile and appliances.

Check for hidden costs.

Many subdivisions have Home Owner Association fees which can add up over time, especially if there are amenities you use infrequently.

Finally, think about how long you expect to be in the home.

If it’s a starter home you seek, with plans to move in a few years, a subdivision home may be right for you. If you’re looking for quality, craftsmanship and longevity, then a custom-built home is the way to go.


To learn more about building a custom-built home, call our AB Homes specialist at (757) 435-9900. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

All the best,

Brandon and Dan

AB Homes Specialists
are Standing by

(757) 435-9900

We’d love to answer your questions! Call us to schedule an appointment to see our model home.

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