We have seen a great improvement in our local housing market over the past year, and it seems to be getting even better from here. As the market has strengthened, we have seen the Speculation House (or “Spec” house) inventory rise, as new builders are willing to make or break their business on these ventures with the allure of high margins, increased quantity, and ease of building process without dealing with a client. Although we have built on speculation during more stable, sustainable times, many buyers are unaware of hidden issues that exist, or issues that may become apparent later in the life of the home.
To most buyers, price is of the up-most importance, followed by quality, which will be discussed later. When building a spec, a builder hopes to make a higher profit margin, due to the increased risk of the project, but also incurs a high sales commission fee upon the sale of the property, usually 6% or higher. That can be $21,000 on a moderate $350,000 house package! Which brings up the next concern, where can the builder make up for that cost? The answer is in the products and labor that went into the construction. A builder will skimp on the materials and labor that went into areas you cannot see, especially the walls, attic, slab, engineering, flooring, ETC, to cover this cost. Newer contractors don’t have to worry as much about keeping high quality standards and high reputation if they don’t have the history that they need to back up, such as we do, being in business for over 25 years with the same quality standards that we have upheld.
As with anything, saving upfront to buy a cheaper overall product may cost more in the long run, along with having more issues and problems that are often more troubling than the cost. A spec may have only the minimum insulation required, costing more on your electrical bill than if you would have built and decided to upgrade insulation for a cost that would have paid itself back after just 2 or 3 years.
It is also cheaper to customize a home during the construction process rather than to upgrade or add on to a spec house later on, specifically insulation, electrical fixtures, security/surround sound, HVAC, porches etc.
The most important aspect to us is the quality of construction that is executed during the entire project. This is not a concern to most builders of a spec house. A buyer cannot see every phase of construction such as what type of engineered fill is under their house, how much reinforcement bar, depth and width of the footings, quantity of framing material/condition, etc, and the installation of these materials by licensed, legal, experienced craftsmen. When considering a spec, a person is buying a “facade”, and only what is apparently visible is considered, and anything unseen is not focused upon. A buyer doesn’t have the choices of a “build to suit” client, to pick out their own custom choices that are perfect for THEM, and that they KNOW will last the duration of a lifetime. We cannot stress enough how much longevity and reputation means for our business, because we have been, and will be around for many decades to come. This simply isn’t the case for many spec builders, and many new builders that have popped up.
Beyond price and quality, one must ask why a builder would decide to take a risk on building a speculation house. Many questions arise that concern the builder; they might not be the best at dealing with clients, problems, and being adaptable and responsible for many circumstances that are common with custom building.
Through the ups and downs of the market, we have continued to provide excellent service to our clients while making the project enjoyable and rewarding. Building a custom home is fulfilling, not only for us, but also for those who have decided to participate in the process!
Steve Fournier Custom Home Building has been a Myrtle Beach Custom Home builder and designer for over 25 years. From custom one story houses to custom homes with fifteen bathrooms, Fournier Custom Home Building can build the house of your dreams by blending high quality work with affordable solutions.