Production builders are the home builders who build communities. They own the land they are building on and usually have a say in how the community has been developed and what sorts of amenities — trails, playgrounds, proximity to shopping, etc., are available.
Home buyers looking at a home in a production builders’ community will usually have a model home or series of homes to tour on site or in a community nearby. During the tour, the builder’s agent will explain which features of the home are standard — there is no additional cost — and which are optional.
There will usually be a number of plans to choose from and the buyer will be able to make changes to these plans — perhaps replace the bathtub with a larger shower or add a patio — but not to the extent possible with a custom builder.
The builder will also offer choices for appliances, countertops, carpeting and flooring, cabinetry and some fixtures at different price points.
The great thing about production builders is that their homes come in all shapes and sizes. They build all kinds of housing — single-family homes, townhouses, apartment buildings and condos. They build for families looking for their first home, families looking for more room and buyers ready to downsize. And the prices for production homes vary accordingly.
Trends in Production Homes
Production home building companies spend a lot of time making sure that what they are building is going to have a market. Homes are expensive to construct, so it doesn’t make sense to build something that’s going to be hard to sell.
They pay attention to consumer surveys, employ mystery shoppers to see what visitors to their model homes like and don’t like, and comb over economic and demographic data to make sure that each community is the right fit for the market it’s in.
Concerns about the increasing cost of utilities and a general sense of doing good for the planet are two reasons why consumers are more interested in energy efficiency in their new homes: more insulation, Energy Star-certified appliances, and similar features. But they are also looking at extra costs associated with a more energy-efficient home and want to make sure there’s a decent payback. Production builders study these preferences and try to make sure these additional features won’t price the homes out of reach for their target market.
Open Floor Plans
Today’s lifestyle is significantly more casual than the one our parents led. Most families would prefer to trade formal living and dining rooms for larger kitchens that flow into family rooms for easier entertaining and for better interaction while studying, cooking, emailing and just visiting. Most production floorplans reflect these preferences.
Storage and Laundry
When NAHB asked Millennials in a late 2014 survey what features fill their most-wanted shopping list, a separate laundry room was clearly on top, with 55% responding that they just wouldn’t buy a new home that didn’t have one. Storage is also important, with linen closets, a walk-in pantry and garage storage making the top 10. You’ll see production homes reflect that trend, with many incorporating oversize garages and “Costco closets.”