Luxury for Less: March 27

Welcome to Luxury For Less, a weekly column highlighting the best deals in luxury real estate. Written by Brandy Schantz of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury For Less offers tips and tricks navigating the competitive real estate market and securing the home of your dreams. To learn more, visit

One of the most common requests I get from clients is to help them build a custom home.

Building a custom home has many advantages. The first advantage is choosing your own location. Buying a lot for a tear down means you can choose the neighborhood, size of lot and lot configuration. The next advantage is building exactly what you want.

When you buy a spec home (a home built by a builder with no specific buyer in mind- speculation), you may get something you really like but might have chosen different finishes than the builder or added rooms that worked better for your family. When you build custom, you can get the home gym or even cigar room (I’ve seen that built!) that you’ve always wanted.

Building a custom home is very rewarding but it can be time consuming. Finding the right lot, tearing down the existing home and building new can take up a lot of time in your already busy schedule. There are many choices to be made and depending on your situation, you are carrying expenses for two households until the home is completed.

Unless you plan on paying cash, custom home building also requires a construction loan. A construction loan is a short-term loan used to build. The lender pays the money out in stages or draws. This loan has a higher interest rate than a typical conventional loan due to risk and is usually refinanced at the end of the build.

Living in the D.C. metro region means there are always plenty of spec homes being built. There are advantages to buying a spec home also. If you don’t want to worry about making any choices at all or waiting to move into your new home, you can find a home that has already been built.

If you want to make some choices for your new home but don’t want the hassle of finding a lot, interviewing builders and carrying the costs of building new construction, finding a spec home already under construction is a great option.

In this case, you can choose finishes and even change certain features of the home but can use your conventional loan to purchase upon completion. Both options are great and either way, you will live in a beautiful home.

Check out this spec home currently being built in Vienna Woods and a home customized by a client from this builder just 2 years ago. It’s amazing what you can do with a little customization!

For more information on building a custom home or finding a spec home to put your special touch on, contact me at 571.263.0206.

Check out all of this week’s Luxury for Less listings here:

The properties listed are a small selection of properties available in the Tyson’s Corner area. For a full list of properties listed on MLS and private exclusives, please contact Brandy Schantz.

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