Why Choose a Custom Build Over a Prefab Home?


Prefab vs Custom Home: Which Is Better?

As the housing inventory in Victoria, BC struggles to meet growing demand, many prospective homeowners are torn between two alternatives: prefab vs custom home.

A prefab or prefabricated home is partially constructed in a factory or plant before it is shipped to the construction site. In contrast, a custom home is a stick-built home built on the construction site according to your needs and preferences.

In recent years, manufacturers of prefab homes have championed modular housing as a cheaper, faster, and greener alternative to traditional homes. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these claims and explore why custom homes are the better option in the long run.

What Are the Advantages of Prefab Homes?

Prefab homes have been around since the Gold Rush in the United States, but they are currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity. The prefab home trend can be attributed to rising housing costs and a growing demand exceeding the housing supply.

While not all manufacturers claim the following advantages, all of them profit from these widespread beliefs about prefab homes:

  • Prefab homes are highly cost-effective
  • The construction of a prefabricated home is easier and faster
  • A prefab home is more sustainable than stick-built homes
  • You can customize a prefab home in the same way you can with a custom home

With all of these supposed benefits, it’s no wonder these homes have sparked the interest of a growing number of prospective homeowners. Unfortunately many of these benefits don’t hold up.

Here are the harsh realities of the alleged advantages of a prefab home.

  • Although a mass-manufactured off-site house appears cheaper than a custom-built home, its hidden costs cancel out your initial savings. After paying hefty fees for shipping and installation, the total cost of a prefab home is roughly the same as building the custom home of your dreams.
  • The amount of time it takes to construct this type of housing is only shorter by a few months compared to a custom build.
  • In terms of sustainability, a prefab home uses more materials than traditional builds. This makes it more wasteful to build.
  • You can choose from different layouts, but other than that, the design customizations are typically limited.

What Are the Disadvantages of Prefab Homes?

In addition to a prefab home’s hollow promises, people who opt for prefab homes encounter more challenges than expected throughout the process. From the start, they might not be able to find a lender or bank willing to fund this type of home.

Traditional banks are unlikely to take the risk of mortgaging modular homes. Since the homes are transported to the construction site, many banks perceive them as less permanent than a house built on-site. Moreover, most banks and lenders believe that these homes depreciate in value faster than a new custom build or an existing house.

Another disadvantage of owning a prefab home arises if you plan on moving or selling it in the future. While many modular homes are indistinguishable from other houses, there is a stigma around them. Some real estate agents and prospective buyers might assess these homes as lower quality and therefore, less valuable.

If you are considering a prefab home, it’s a good idea to research your options and vet the manufacturer thoroughly. Several scammers are taking advantage of this housing trend to steal money from hopeful homeowners. Some never receive their modular home, while others are forced to pay thousands more in extra fees.

What Are the Advantages of Custom Homes?

For those disillusioned with both modular homes and the existing housing market, a custom build is a perfect option. A house, regardless of its type, is a considerable investment. You might as well invest in the home of your dreams.

In addition to living in a house that is literally made specifically for you, here are a few more advantages of custom homes.

Custom homes appreciate faster in value.

  • In most cases, a custom home is your forever home. However, in the event that you have to move somewhere else for work or other reasons, it’ll be relatively easy to sell your home for more than its original cost.
  • Due to the hot housing market in Victoria, BC, there will almost certainly be a demand for your home in the future should you choose to sell it.

Custom builds are easier to finance than prefab homes.

  • Banks and lenders are more willing to finance new homes.

With the help of your custom home builder and designer, you can create a sustainable home. 

  • One of the most significant advantages of constructing your home from scratch is the ability to build green.
  • You can opt for more sustainable construction materials or install solar panels and other energy-efficient features.
  • A custom home is an excellent opportunity to build a net zero energy home.

You can choose which neighbourhood to live in.

You can build your home for the future.

  • If you plan on retiring in the near future, it’s essential to live in a home that supports your needs.
  • A custom build allows you to implement designs and features that your future, older self will thank you for.

What Are the Disadvantages of Custom Homes?

Despite the numerous benefits of custom builds, you might still be hesitant to build your own home. After all, constructing a house is a huge undertaking. 

Here are a few potential downsides to building your dream home.

A custom home takes longer to build.

  • In today’s climate, it takes about 10 to 14 months to build a custom home in Victoria.
  • All good things take time, but if you need to find a home as soon as possible, you might not be able to wait that long. Unfortunately, rushing to buy a home will likely force you to settle for a house that doesn’t perfectly suit you or your lifestyle.

Building your own home requires more involvement.

  • Constructing your dream house means being involved throughout the entire process.
  • While your custom home builder will take care of all the technical details for you, reputable builders will communicate with you on a regular basis. This ensures transparency and demonstrates their professionalism.
  • However, if you’re extremely busy or simply don’t wish to be as involved in the process, simply communicate this to your builder.

Prefab Homes vs Custom Built Homes: The Better Home for You

After a comparison of a prefab vs a custom home, it becomes clear that a custom build is the better option. Although building a custom home is a big undertaking, the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone.

Finding a reputable custom home builder can make a custom build project significantly more straightforward. At LIDA Homes, our team of award-winning professionals is committed to guiding you through the process of building the home of your dreams. We’ve been delivering on this promise in the Victoria area since 1998.

If you have any questions about custom homes or want to get started on a custom build project, contact LIDA Homes today.