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When shopping for a new home, one of the options you may encounter is a builder’s spec home. Builders construct “spec” homes, short for speculative, hoping to interest a buyer who needs a home as soon as possible. Typically, all that is left to be done in a spec home are the finishing touches, such as interior paint, flooring and countertops. What are the advantages and disadvantages of buying a spec home versus building a home from the start?

Building from the start. Whether working with a custom builder or a tract builder, building from the ground up means being more involved in the decision process. At each step, buyers have choices in the lot,  floor plan, design touches, colors, counters and more. The end result is a home that suits your tastes. The downside is that building takes months and could face weather delays.

An almost-instant home. The biggest advantage to buying a builder spec is the speed at which you can be moved in. The house may be finished, or you may get to choose a few things, such as paint and flooring. Since most of it will be interior work, weather won’t delay the project. If the builder has been doing a lot of spec homes, he or she has probably learned what is popular with buyers, so there’s a good chance you’ll like what you see.

The downside to a spec home is that most of the major design decisions will already be made so you won’t likely be able to change aspects of the floorplan or the front elevation. When it comes to negotiating the purchase of a spec home, you may have some negotiating leverage. The longer a builder has carried the cost of the home, the more likely you can score a deal.