Custom Homes vs Pre-Built Homes

If you are in the market for a new home, you may be trying to decide between custom homes or pre-built homes. There are some definite advantages as well as disadvantages to both. To help make your decision a little easier, we've put together a comparison between custom homes and pre-built ones. If you are thinking of building a custom home in the Kawartha Lakes region and are looking for a quality builder you can trust, contact Contact Conlin Premier Construction today.

custom homes vs pre-built homes

Custom Homes

A custom home is a one-of-a-kind house that will be specially designed for you and built on a lot that you choose. You can choose the perfect layout, location, size, and features that you want.


You can get exactly the home you want: The biggest advantage of building a custom home is the fact that you can design it the way you want it and you can choose the features that you really want and need. It is very difficult to find an existing home that will do the same for you. You can also pay more attention to the little details and have those added into the design.

You can choose the best quality materials; If you have a custom home built for you, you are in control of the types of materials that go into that home. You can choose to have only the best and highest quality. Using the finest materials will ensure that your home will stand the test of time and will look beautiful for years to come. You can choose quality products such as:

Weather Protection Systems
Typar weather protection systems protect your home from the elements

You can build an energy efficient home that will save you money over the long haul: If you are building a custom home, you can choose to make it as energy efficient as possible. A good custom builder will make your new custom home Energy Star Certified, which means that even though you may pay a bit more in the beginning, you will use at least 10% less energy than a non-certified home, but the average savings is 20%. This can translate into thousands saved over time that you own your home. An Energy Star certified home is:

  • Built Better: Energy Star certified new homes are designed and built to extremely high standards from start to finish
  • Certified: Energy Star new homes have been inspected, tested and verified to ensure that they meet strict environmental requirements
  • More Energy Efficient: An Energy Star new home is much more energy efficient than an average new home that isn't energy star certified which will save you money on fuel costs and save the environment.

The following video explains more about the great advantages of having an Energy Star Certified home.


It takes longer to build than to buy: It will obviously take more time to build a custom home than it will to purchase one that is already built. Every custom home built is different, so it is difficult to give a precise timeline. If you consider the entire time from when you first decide to build until you are totally moved in, it will most likely be at least a year. However the wait will be well worth it once you have that perfect home, designed specifically for you and your family

You may need to pay more to have utilities installed: If you choose to build your custom home on a rural plot in a remote location in order to save money, make sure you find out if there is an existing infrastructure for your utilities. According to an article by Investors Group, installing a septic system will cost anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 and drilling a well can cost $10,000 to $20,000. If you also have to have hydro connected over a long distance, you will be looking at paying a larger fee. If you don't want to incur these types of added expenses, then it is advisable to purchase a lot where these things already exist.

Custom Homes
Custom homes in rural areas or smaller cities could cost less than pre-built homes in large cities

A custom home may cost you more: The average cost to build a new house in Canada is about $200 a square foot. This means that if you build a 2,000 square foot home, your cost would be about $400,000. Your costs will increase depending on the location of the lot that you choose, the types of materials that you use, and the customized extras that you include such as custom cabinetry, built-ins, and other custom interior and exterior features. This cost could increase to about $300 a square foot or $600,000 for a 2,000 square foot home. The cost to build a custom home though is quite reasonable compared to purchasing a pre-built one in one of Canada's major cities such as Toronto where the average house price is $1 million and you get the exact home you want.

Is There a “Best” Time to Build?

According to , the best time to start to build a home really depends on the climate where you are building. Experts say that it's best to build when the weather is cool and dry. In Canada then it's probably not optimal to begin construction in the winter months if at all possible.

Buying a Pre-built Home

A pre-built home could mean either a home that a builder has just constructed but is new and ready to move into; or it could be one that is older and has already had at least one owner.


You may pay less for a pre-built home: Generally speaking, it is usually less expensive to purchase a pre-built home rather than a custom home. However, it really depends on where you are planning to buy. In cities like Vancouver or Toronto, house prices have risen so rapidly in the last 5 years that some people have actually chosen to tear down their existing homes in order to build a new one on their property instead of trying to find one that they can afford in their city. You may find that it is much cheaper to actually purchase land in a rural area or a smaller city or town and build your new home there.

House prices in Canada are the highest in cities like Toronto and Vancouver

You will save time and find it more convenient: Even though there are a number of steps that you need to follow when purchasing a pre-built home, you can usually complete the financing, viewings, making an offer, getting a home inspection, and closing within a few short months. If you are relocating because of a job transfer and your children are going to be starting school then you may be on a tight schedule so buying is probably a more convenient option for you.


Your home may look like thousands of other homes: If you purchase a pre-built home, you will probably be able to find the same home and layout in numerous places throughout your city and even in your same neighbourhood. If you like to be unique and you want your home to stand out among the others around it than getting a pre-built one is probably not the best choice for you.

pre-built homes
It's difficult to find a pre-built home that is unique and has everything that you want

You won’t get exactly what you want: If you are purchasing a pre-built home, you will probably have to "settle" or compromise on certain things. It would almost be impossible to find a home that meets all of your wants and needs as well as your design style and budget when you are purchasing one that is already built. You really have to choose from what is available at the time, and that may not be your perfect home.

You don't know exactly how your home was built and what types of materials were used: Even if you get a home inspection, you still can't be certain that your pre-built home will be free from issues. Not being there to see the home constructed from start to finish, means that you don't really know what went into the building of your home and you didn't have a say in the type of materials used or the care taken in constructing it.

Conlin Premier Construction logo

Conlin Construction: You Can Trust Us to Help You Build a House that Is Your Dream Home

Customs homes are not for everyone, however if you are looking for the perfect home, built exactly to your liking and with the high quality you deserve, contact Conlin Premier Construction. You can trust Conlin to help you build a house that is the perfect dream home for you and your family.

At Conlin, we do all of the work ourselves and we have our own sub-contractors who do the mechanical work. This means that we can be in charge of the quality control on every part of your home's construction, from start to finish. And we make sure that you are with us all through the process. Your complete satisfaction is our ultimate goal and that is why we prioritize excellent communication.

Custom home by Conlin
You can trust Conlin to build you a beautiful custom home

Whether you are looking to build a custom home or cottage from the ground up, to add on to your existing home or cottage, or build a custom outbuilding, we're here to help.

At Conlin Premier Construction we have over 30 years of experience building custom homes, custom cottages, additions, and unique outbuildings with the highest standard of workmanship. If you are looking for a premier builder in the Kawartha Lakes region that you can trust to partner with, talk to the professionals at Conlin - contact us today for a no obligation quote.

The following video will further explain why Conlin is the best for custom homes in Kawartha Lakes.