Home is where the heart is. This little phrase might induce warm, happy feelings for you – or it might make you shake in your boots if you have no idea where to start in finding your dream home! If you are trying to decide between a spec home vs. custom home, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article, we’ll go over the pros and cons of a spec home vs. custom home, and help you understand why using Atera Homes to build a custom home for you is better than buying a spec home!

What are Spec Houses?

Let’s start out by defining what are spec homes vs. custom homes.

A spec house is pre-built by a contractor or construction company before there is a home buyer in place. Although spec homes are available in a variety of home designs, they are not custom-built.

Spec homes are built for the likely preferences of local buyers. The builder will choose such things as colors, materials, ceiling heights, and floor plans that suit the trends of the area. This ensures an easy sell while keeping the cost of building down. This way, profit margins are higher for the builder.

While spec homes are good for builders, they are not ideal for the home buyer. Buyers looking for their dream home want a custom-built house that meets all of their unique specifications.

How Long Does it Take to Build a Spec Home?

Building time for a spec home will depend on the type of builder, as well as the type of home being constructed. Some builders have a large crew and work quickly.  Others have a small team and can take a long time to finish construction.

The building process for a spec home will very likely be quicker than a custom home build. But it won’t have the uniqueness that building a custom smart home will. 

Cost of Building Spec Homes

Cost is almost always a consideration in deciding between a spec home and a custom home. Spec home builders usually have a set budget going into the project. They also have a specific list of features, appliances, and materials that they will need for the build. 

Because of this, the home buyer can usually depend on a fairly accurate quote for a spec home. Whether it will end up being more or less than a custom home, in the long run, depends on several factors:

  • Will there be any remodeling after the purchase, in order to make a few customizations? Many buyers end up wanting to make some changes after the purchase of the home.
  • Is the neighborhood in which the home is built high-end and expensive? If so, the spec home will likely be similarly priced.
  • Is the spec home just as high-quality as you would want a custom home to be? 

Pros and Cons of Spec Homes

The pros and cons of a spec home vs. a custom home really come down to personal preference. 

Let’s go over the pros and cons of spec homes:


  • Can be more affordable, since they are not custom-built
  • Are ready to move into when purchased
  • Both exterior and interior features are in place
  • Can be acquired almost immediately (vs. having to wait for a custom home to be built)
  • Resale value is generally high since there are no specific customizations that might limit the buyer pool


  • Have few, if any, unique features; are generally very standard
  • Materials are all basic, and fixtures come in neutral colors and styles
  • Likely will need some remodeling or upgrading to make it what you really want
  • It May not be available in your preferred neighborhood
  • The buyer does not have control over how the home is built

In short, these high-production homes can be a great money-maker for builders. But buying a spec home is less than ideal for the individual homeowner.

What is a Custom Home?

A custom home is simply a home built to the standards and preferences of the homeowner. 

Atera Homes is a custom home builder that specializes in luxury homes. Our home construction process takes the client through the design phase before construction begins. This way, we know you are getting the exact house you want. 

You are able to choose everything, from colors and designs to fixtures and features and sizes of everything. The house will be uniquely yours.

Modern Custom Home Plan

How Long Does it Take to Build a Custom Home?

Generally speaking, building a custom home will take longer than building a spec home. You will need to hire custom builders (Atera Homes builds in the Seattle area and can build on your existing land!).

If you choose to work with Atera, we can also customize one of our existing floor plans for you, creating a semi-custom home that you will love (and that might be a bit less labor-intensive for you during the design process).

Cost of Building Custom Homes

The cost of building a custom home will depend entirely on your floor plan and what features are important to you! 

Since you have total control over materials, colors, appliances, automation, and everything else, you can make your custom home as expensive or budget-friendly as you choose.

Pros and Cons of Custom Homes


  • Buyer has control during the design and building process
  • The buyer is able to choose the features, textures, colors, and materials the house is built with
  • Buyer is able to get the exact home they want, making their dream home a reality
  • The buyer is able to choose where the home will be located and the size of the lot that it is built on 


  • Can be more expensive
  • Might be more difficult to sell since it is so custom, but most luxury homeowners are not too concerned with this

Custom Home vs. Spec Home Cost

As mentioned earlier, the cost of building a spec home vs. custom home really just comes down to the size and features of the home. What is important to you, and is it worth paying a little extra for it?

Most people looking to buy their dream home decide that the potential extra cost of a custom home is more than worth it!

Why Atera Homes?

Atera Homes is different in that we bring our entire process, from dreaming and designing to building and finishing, in-house. This enables us to include you, the homeowner, in the entire process and get you the home you truly want!

Our mission is to make your dream home a reality. For you to be excited and involved throughout the entire process. For your home to be where your heart is!

Contact us today to get started! We want to know: what does your dream home look like?