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Custom home builders oversee, coordinate, and construct homes that are customized to their clients' tastes. Each builder may offer different services involving architecture, design, and engineering, and a number of custom builders even help you choose furniture and outdoor features such as a fountain, pool, or gazebo.
Some custom home builders build on land you already own, some help you find the perfect plot of land, and others build on a site they are developing and sell you the land and the home as a package. The latter is more common in large communities where the homes will have custom features and varying floor plans but may not be completely customized. Keep reading to see which custom home builder can build your dream home.
Best Overall: Jauregui
Why We Chose It: The firm has over 30 years of experience and maintains an in-house team of builders, architects, and interior designers. It covers every part of the building, decorating, and designing process for your indoor and outdoor spaces.
In-house experts make it a convenient choice
Decades of industry experience
Possibility to build anywhere
High price points
As is the case with most custom builders, the land cost is separate
Jauregui is an Austin, Texas-based custom home builder, architect, and design firm. It has been in business for over 30 years and focuses on building beautiful and luxurious homes nationwide. Besides the basics like architectural and design services, Jauregui offers full landscaping services—think creating a pool grotto, a spa with a waterfall, or even a terrace and a cabana. The company starts with your design ideas and uses its experience and industry knowledge to enhance them.
Jauregui doesn’t offer upfront pricing information, stating they will discuss those details with you during an initial appointment. If you want a high-end home and don’t want to outsource for different services, this firm is truly a one-stop-shop.
Best for Luxury Finishes: Xhema
Why We Chose It: Xhema stands out for its exquisite homes with every luxury finish and detail imaginable. Town & Country chose it as one of its seven best luxury home builders.
Over-the-top features like rotating art installations
Positive industry reputation
Mostly limited to three states
Xhema has over 40 years of experience building beautifully designed townhouses, single-family homes, estates, and beach houses in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It also restores older homes and has done projects for clients in other states, but it generally stays in the New York City metropolitan area. The firm is known for its artistic construction and creative spins on design features. Xhema offers a full suite of services and covers the entire custom building process with its own architectural designs and permanent staff.
Xhema doesn’t offer any pricing information upfront but discusses it during your initial meeting. The company has built things such as a subterranean garage, a pool below sea level, and a 19-foot wall of hurricane-grade windows. If you have a large budget and want to create a masterpiece, this is the custom builder for you.
Best for Affordable Homes: D.R. Horton
Why We Chose It: It created an affordable homes division and was named Builder Magazine's top builder for 12 consecutive years.
Affordable price points
Positive industry reputation
Over 40 years of experience
Homes aren’t entirely custom
Only builds in communities
D.R. Horton was founded in 1978 and has built over half a million homes since. The company's average house price is $302,300, which is very affordable for new construction. The company builds in 19 states and focuses on constructing affordable, well-built homes so more Americans can afford to buy brand new homes. It doesn’t offer completely custom homes, but instead allows buyers to customize details after choosing from a set of floor plans.
However, a unique feature that D.R. Horton offers is choosing a home based on a stage of life. The company has different brands intended for first-time homebuyers, luxury buyers, and even retirees or those wanting to downsize. It does not offer design services, but the cost of the land is included with the home price and if you’re not ready to fully dive into a custom home, this may be a good place to start.
Best for Finding Land: Schumacher Homes
Why We Chose It: The company helps you find your plot of land to build on if you don’t already have it. It has a solid reputation in the industry and offers affordable, custom-built homes.
Affordable price points
Helps buyers find land
Showcase homes to get an idea of what your home could look like
Not available nationwide
Does not offer furnishing services
Schumacher Homes was started in Ohio in the 1990s by a fix-and-flip real estate investor who turned his business into a custom home construction company that focuses on design, freedom, flexibility, and affordability in 14 states.
Schumacher Homes has showcase homes in the regions in which it builds, so you can get some design inspiration. A unique feature that this custom home builder offers is helping buyers find a property they can purchase for their custom build.
Best for First-Time Buyers: KB Home
Why We Chose It: KB Home focuses on building the client relationship and walks you through each step of the home building process, which is ideal for first-time buyers with a lot of questions.
Energy Star-certified homes
In-house financing through an affiliate loan partner
Homes in varying price points
Doesn't build nationwide
Only operates in planned communities
KB Home was founded in Detroit, Michigan, in 1957 and was the first home builder to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Its headquarters are now in Los Angeles. The company has design studios where you can choose customizations and online calculators to see how much these upgrades will cost. The average KB Home price is $380,000 and about 2,200 square feet, putting it in the more affordable range of custom-built homes.
KB Home can be thought of as a hybrid between a newly built home and a custom-built home. No two homes it builds are ever the same, but it only operates in planned communities. That means you can choose floor plans, finishes, appliances, and your lot, but you are limited to the community. This is a great place to start if you don’t own land already or want to customize some aspects of the home.
Best for Interest Rate Lock: ICI Homes
Why We Chose It: ICI Homes offers a unique rate lock guarantee, which means your rate can’t go over 2.99 percent during construction. The company offers both custom-built and move-in ready homes.
Construction rate lock guarantee
Movei-in ready homes are available
Variety of price points
Only builds in Florida
ICI Homes was founded in 1979 in Daytona Beach, Florida, where its headquarters remain. It has built over 10,000 homes throughout the Sunshine State in a variety of styles, sizes, and price points, including affordable villas and sprawling waterfront estates. Builder Magazine has consistently ranked the company in its list of the top 100 homebuilders. In addition to beautiful custom homes, ICI Homes also offers homes that are fully built and ready for purchase. You have the option of building in a planned community or having one custom made on your own lot.
Custom home prices with ICI Homes range from $140,000 to over $3 million. The company has its own design studios with large selections of quality products and materials, including energy-efficient lines. It also offers in-house plan development and has an experienced team of craftsmen, builders, land developers, and customer service specialists. ICI gives someone wanting to live in Florida some attractive housing options.
All of the custom home builders that made our list excel at different things. Some offer luxurious amenities that you only see in movies, while others offer more affordable custom homes. Schumacher Homes can even help you find a piece of land and Jauregui will assist in finding furnishings. It’s important to select a custom home builder that builds in your desired area and offers the services and prices that you’re looking for.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Custom Home?
A custom home is designed specifically for a client. No two custom homes will be exactly the same, which is part of the appeal of working with a custom home builder. It’s different from a home that is already built because the client gets to choose the home’s square footage, materials, finishes, and layout. Custom homes vary in size and style and can be anything from a log cabin to a Mediterranean villa or modern estate.
Who Should Get a Custom Home Built?
You should consider getting a custom home built if:
- You want a home that will be unique to you.
- You want particular features in a home such as a wine cellar or a floating staircase.
- You like being the first person to live in a home.
- You have an eye for design and get excited about picking out cabinetry, lighting, and marble.
- You own land in a desirable location and need help building your dream home on it.
How Much Do Custom Home Builders Charge?
There are many factors that go into the costs associated with a custom home. The price will, of course, depend on the home’s location, square footage, the building materials and finishes used, and the services provided such as blueprints, design consultations, landscaping, and interior decorating tips. Expect to pay somewhere between $300 and $500 per square foot for a custom home, or more if you choose super luxurious or imported materials.
How We Chose the Best Custom Home Builders
There are thousands of custom home builders, and most focus on building homes in one particular region. We researched more than 20 builders before choosing our list. Our vetting process touched on the regions they serve, what makes them stand out, and the services they offer.
We also looked at company reputation, time in business, and what types of homes they’re known for. It’s important for us to showcase a broad array of the top custom builders when it comes to the geographical locations they build in, styles of homes, and price points.