Stock Plan Versus Custom Design: What’s Best For A Luxury Home?
Updated: Sep 15
A luxury home is more than a place live in – it's a proclamation of who you are. An expression of your passion, taste, and success.
If you've reached the point of building the luxury home you've been dreaming of, you have some options before you: do you choose a stock plan or have one custom designed specifically for you?
There are two sides to every coin, and pros and cons to both stock plans and a custom design. That being said, creating your custom home with a design and build team is much more likely to result in a legacy home that you will be truly proud of – a home that is an extension of who you are.
Everything is designed to your specifications when you use custom luxury design services for your dream home. On the other hand, stock plans (also known as production floor plans) are designed to have mass appeal and are much more generic.
Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of both types of luxury home plans to help you choose the best option.
Stock Luxury Home Plans: Pros and Cons
You can find thousands of stock home plans online of varying quality. While there are some compelling pros in buying a stock luxury home plan (i.e., potentially cheaper and quicker process), the cons are having built a home that isn't your dream home after all.
Advantages of Stock Luxury Home Plans
When comparing stock plans and custom plans, the two significant advantages stock plans have are 1) they are cheaper to buy, and 2) require fewer decisions on your part. So let's dive a little deeper to understand what this could mean for your dream home.
1. More Affordable Than Custom Plans
The most apparent advantage of stock floor plans is they cost quite a bit less than designing custom plans from scratch. That's because they are designed to sell to as many people as possible rather than a specific homeowner. Therefore, you pay a reduced fee because the plans can be resold and reused repeatedly – and they will.
In contrast, custom design costs are always higher than downloading stock plans online. Custom home plans are designed entirely to your wish list and specifications. Your preferences for rooms, functionality and customized options are all worked into your floor plans by your designer. You'll work closely with them to ensure that your 3D designs are exactly how you envision your home. The result is a home designed entirely around you, but this also requires hiring a talented designer or architect to make your dream a reality.
The general rule of thumb is that if you plan to spend at least $1.5 million on the cost of building your luxury home, you should plan to hire an experienced designer or architect.
Achieving your dream home on time and within budget is possible. Using our guidebook and workshop, you can learn how to build the home you've always wanted without any costly surprises or time-consuming setbacks.
2. Designed For Mass Appeal
Depending on your particular expectations, the fact that thousands of homeowners have selected specific floor plans could be seen as an advantage. For many luxury homeowners, this would be considered a huge negative. How can it be a luxury home if it's been built hundreds or thousands of times? Yet, others might find comfort in knowing that they are using a floor plan designed to meet the general population's needs.
3. There Are Plenty of Options
There are thousands of stock plans available for purchase online. If you're worried that your home will look like a "cookie cutter" house in a neighborhood of near replicas, this doesn't necessarily have to be the case when using production plans.
That said, they tend to have a more generic feel than a custom-designed build.
4. Fewer Decisions to Make
Finally, when you choose a stock luxury home plan, you don't have to make nearly as many decisions. The square footage, floor plan layout, room dimensions, amenities, and features are decided for you when you purchase pre-made plans.
For some people, the benefits of reducing the number of decisions they need to make might be worth the tradeoff. For others, it is worth taking the time to make all the decisions required to turn their dream home into a reality.
Disadvantages of Stock Luxury Home Plans
Emerson once wrote:
"A house is made with walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams."
Can stock plans offer you the home you've been dreaming of, where your family will create memories and experience the seasons of life together in an environment that supports your every need? Or is the nature of their generic design likely to make them feel more like a house of walls and beams?
1. Designs Are Often Generic
Companies that sell stock home plans are primarily in the business of selling as many floor plans as possible. Designing your dream home isn't a part of their business strategy.
Designs that look nice on a computer screen aren't always easy or even possible to build.
When stock plans are created, they usually aren't designed with any particular person or lot in mind. Instead, they are designed to offer the broadest possible appeal to the largest pool of potential buyers. Unfortunately, this can leave them generic, stale, and uninteresting.
That being said, stock plans can provide a reasonable starting point when designing your home, but it can take a lot of extra work and expense to customize a home using these plans. When you want to live in the home of your dreams, starting from scratch is always the better option.
2. Not Designed With Your Specific Needs in Mind
Based on the previous point, stock plans aren't just designed without any specific person in mind– they aren't designed with you and your family.
You are a unique person with your own lifestyle, aesthetic taste, and vision of what the perfect home looks like. When you design custom plans, the creative process can begin with your image of the home you want to live in. Then, you can incorporate specific features you've always dreamed of to create a layout that makes sense for how you and your family live. Stock plans can never be truly tailored to your life as custom plans can.
You want your home to be made for you and your lifestyle, and a one-size-fits-most plan might not cut it. I speak to homeowners all the time who believe the custom design process will take too long, to then spend just as long (or longer) trying to find the perfect stock plan, and never find it after all.
3. It Can Be Expensive to Make Changes
Since stocks are created to be generic, there's a pretty good likelihood that you won't find one that perfectly suits your needs. Of course, you can often make minor tweaks here and there, but if you want to make any significant changes, the process can get a lot more expensive.
Stock plan pricing is based on the reality that the company expects to sell many of the same plans. Once you start talking about moving walls or making other significant changes, the company loses the cost-effective edge of selling the same plan to many people.
Furthermore, you will then work with a draftsman (not an experienced architect or designer) to make these changes. And depending on the extent of your changes, you'll most likely still end up with a home that isn't ideally suited to your lifestyle, and have spent more money than you originally anticipated.
4. It Doesn't Anticipate Your Needs at Different Life Stages
If you're building your dream home, you're probably expecting to live through several seasons of life there.
So when you sit down with a design and build team to create your on-budget strategy for a home that suits your needs and provides an ideal environment for you and your family, you'll be thinking about those needs over time.
5. It May Not Be Suited For Your Lot
A stock home plan will never complement the property it is built on the same way a custom luxury plan can. At the end of the day, the floor plans were created on a computer screen by someone that never has and never will visit your lot.
They are unaware of the beautiful sunset that practically demands a relaxing porch to sit on in the evenings. They have no way of knowing about the gorgeous view on your property that demands a large picture window – you know, that view you bought the property for in the first place.
Only a custom designed home is true luxury. And only an experienced designer or architect can make your dream of a luxury home meet your expectations and work with your property like it belonged there all along.
So, how does the custom design process work? Is it worth the additional cost and effort, or is it worth sacrificing the perfect outcome in order to make the process (potentially) simpler and cheaper?
Advantages of Custom Luxury Home Plans
There are many advantages to custom designing your luxury dream home. It's the only way to create the ideal environment suited to your particular needs. If you believe the space you live in can impact your well-being and overall quality of life, custom home plans are the right choice.
1. You Get Exactly What You Want
Building your own luxury home is a dream come true– why wouldn't you want the final product to be precisely what you've envisioned? Why would you compromise and use generic stock plans?
When you work with experienced designer or architect to create a custom home, you start with your dream. The lifestyle you want to live isn't an afterthought when you create custom plans – it's where the whole process begins.
2. You Control The Outcome
You have complete control over every detail when creating your luxury home plans. Not only can you select the precise size of the home, the layout of the rooms, the materials used, and every detail down to the cabinet hardware, lighting, built-in tech, and finish molding, but you also have complete control of the feel of the space. This control is truly valuable, as it profoundly impacts the experience of living in your eventual home.
Have you been waiting for the opportunity to build your own luxury home so you can have the perfect spa-like master bath? Have you been daydreaming about a grand and cozy fireplace where you can spend evenings by the fire?
In life, there are so many times when we have to make significant compromises. Your dream home shouldn't be one of them.
3. Your Designer Can Perfectly Design Your Home to Your Property
Have you ever visited or seen a photograph of a home that seemed perfectly suited to its environment? It's almost like the home grew out of the soil or nestled into a hillside. When you encounter these types of homes, it's nearly impossible to imagine the space without the structure– it so naturally compliments the environmental features and shape of the land that the property would seem at a loss without it.
Most home plans are designed for perfectly flat property – or just the computer screen they were draw on. They don't consider topography, views, sun patterns, or other important features. The lot you choose has unique characteristics, and your home design should complement them. We've heard too many stories of families that selected the wrong house plan and were starting construction when they realized the plan would never work for their lot! This very real scenario is the sort of costly mistake you definitely want to avoid.
4. One of a Kind Design
When you choose stock home plans, your home is likely just one of many carbon copies of the same plan. Don't get us wrong– stock plans can be beautiful, luxurious, and well-designed. However, the only way to have a truly unique home is to create custom plans inspired by your unique personality and taste.
Are you interested in building your luxury abode in the beautiful Lake Keowee area of western South Carolina? If so, check out our post about Lake Keowee's ten best custom home builders!
5. The Satisfaction of Creation
We could go on and on about the advantages of building a custom home, but we'll leave you with a final thought on the matter– there is something genuinely satisfying about living in a home you helped design.
Everywhere you go in your home, you'll see the evidence of your hard work and the decisions you made that came together to produce such a beautiful and supportive dwelling.
Are There Disadvantages to Building a Custom Luxury Home?
Finally, let's look at some disadvantages of custom home plans for your luxury home. We've already touched upon each of these in-depth at various points in the article, so we'll briefly mention them:
Building a custom home from scratch is usually a more expensive option than using stock plans. But, of course, if you decide to make changes to your production plans or take the necessary steps to avoid costly mistakes during the custom build process, the price gap between these two begins to narrow significantly.
There is also a time commitment required when designing your custom home. There are many more decisions to make when going the custom route rather than using a stock plan. It's better to "measure twice and build once."
Throughout the process, you'll likely find yourself paging through images for inspiration online and making choices about the design, layout, room sizes, materials, and more. When you have an experienced design and build team, the guidance you receive can go a long way toward cutting down on the amount of time you will spend doing research of your own.
No matter where you are in the home-building journey, we at Dream Home Studio would love to hear from you to discuss your project. There's no hidden agenda here – we love helping people create their luxury dream homes!
Schedule a 30-minute exploration call with Mark Shattuck today, and we promise you'll walk away with valuable information that will help you make the home you've been dreaming of a reality.