A spec home or a speculative home is a model home that a builder constructs without having any ideal buyer in mind. They generally make them in a way that might appeal to a wider audience or customers.
The builder solely decides the design, features, and amenities. The aim of these speculative houses is to attract potential buyers and clients who would love the project and be interested enough to buy it.
But it has a major risk factor. The customers would not be lined up to buy spec houses. It may or may not be loved by the general buyer. On the flip side, it comes with a prominent benefit. It is a lot cheaper than the houses that are built as per the demand of the buyer.
What’s the Meaning of Spec Homes Exactly? Why is it Called a Spec Home?
In simple terms, this is called a spec home because the builder creates by “speculating” what his ideal client would like. All the construction materials, layouts, and interior design are done by him.
Builders, however, factor in what is popular in the market already. If their speculated homes match what people are currently interested in buying, then they can easily sell them. So, it is all about taking the calculated risk.
Are Spec Homes Cheaper?
In the current year, 2023, the US construction market has seen slow growth. As the demand is surging at a rapid pace, economists and experts say that prices of homes in the US are expected to continue to rise next year in 2024 as well.
In these financial outlooks, buying a spec home is cheaper than custom-built homes. Since these homes are built in bulk without any specific customization, they are cheap compared to other options.
You will find a lot of varieties of spec homes. They can be a 2-room apartment to a luxurious penthouse apartment with fully furnished marble floors, walk-in showers, and chandeliers.
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But you will always find them cheaper than their custom-build options because the spec home builders want to recover their investment as fast as they can. So they sell more quickly.
Pros and Cons of Spec Houses in Real Estate Landscape
If you are a successful real estate entrepreneur or an investor thinking about buying a real estate property, especially in a spec house, there are some pros and cons you must be aware of before finalizing any decision.
Pros of Buying a Spec Home
Following are some key advantages you will get in buying a spec home.
- Quick and Easy to Buy: Since these homes are already designed and functional, you do not have to invest time and energy into selecting the wall colors or light fixtures. Professional designers have already done that for the buyer. After just a few initial rounds or visits, you can move in.
- Cheaper and Affordable: It is a cheaper and more affordable option than custom-built homes because there is room for negotiation. Its prices can fluctuate according to the market. The builders aim to sell it at a competitive price so they have to find a middle ground to compel potential buyers.
- No worries about construction: You do not have to worry about any installation or repair. You will get everything prepared in the spec home. Some builders offer room for minor customization like wall colors, ceiling styles, and more. But this feature can vary from property to property and builder to builder.
Cons of Buying a Spec Home
Buying a spec home can come with the following drawbacks.
- Limited Customization: The main disadvantage is that there is little possibility for modification because everything is pre-determined by the builder.
- You May Not Find Specific Features You Need: If you need some unique features and qualities in your home, you might not find them in a spec home. In this case, you can consider opting for a custom-made house.
- Location Limitations: Since it is the decision of the spec home builder, you might not find much flexibility in terms of location. Buying an asset in your 20s in the form of a spec home and actually living in it is majorly about making adjustments according to the home you have got.
In a nutshell, the simple answer to your question “What is a spec home” is that these homes are built for people who would likely buy them in the future.
During designing and construction, developers and professionals factor in market trends and customer demands to finalize the layout. They are affordable and easy to move into.
And on the other side of the coin, they can be not a wise choice if you want to get a customized home.
General FAQs People are Asking About What is a Spec Home
Spec home builder is an organization or a professional builder who builds homes without any customization input from the client. Instead, they use their own judgments and guesses to make an ideal home for the potential buyer. With the help of industry professionals, they build everything in coherence and alignment with what the buyer likes.
Spec homes are created based on the educational guesses, research, and speculation of the professionals. In a typical process, builders build spec homes first and then people purchase them. On the other hand, model homes are built on a large area of land with different models. They may have different floorplans and styles, but, the designs will always be in batches. You will not find individual homes with unique designs and layouts, as it is much more costly and time-consuming for the developers.
Building a spec home as an aspiring builder when you do not have money and cash to invest can be challenging. Some of the key options are getting hard money loans from private resources, partnering with an investor, real estate crowdfunding, or availing subsidies if there are any. With some smart moves, you can build spec houses even if you have land but no money to build homes.