Spec House: What They Are & Why You Should Consider Them

By: ROS Team

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In the fast-paced world of real estate, waiting months for a custom-built home just isn’t an option for everyone. But what if there was a way to snag a brand new, move-in-ready house without sacrificing quality or comfort?

Enter the spec house, a builder’s pre-designed gem waiting for the perfect owner – maybe even you! Unlike the lengthy process of building from scratch, spec homes offer a streamlined path to homeownership, often with beautiful finishes already selected by the builder.

But are spec homes right for you? Let’s dive in and explore the world of spec homes, their advantages, and how you can decide if this speedy route to homeownership is the key to unlocking your dream.

What Is A Spec House?

A spec house, or speculative house, is a newly constructed home built by a developer without a specific buyer in mind, intending to sell it for profit. These homes are designed to appeal to potential buyers by including desirable features and amenities, often based on market trends and demand.

spec house
Photo Credit: Canva

Why Is It Called a Spec Home?

A spec home is named as such because it is built on speculation, without a pre-existing buyer. Developers construct these homes based on their speculation or assumption that there will be demand from buyers in the market. They take calculated risks by investing in the construction of these homes without a guaranteed buyer, aiming to sell them for a profit once completed.

Are Spec Homes Cheaper?

Spec homes can be relatively more affordable compared to custom-built homes since developers aim to keep costs down by constructing multiple homes simultaneously and by leveraging standardized designs and materials.

However, they may be pricier than standard new construction homes due to their upgraded features and finishes tailored to attract potential buyers. Overall, spec homes offer a balance between customization and cost-effectiveness in the housing market.

Why Do Builders Construct Spec Homes?

Spec home builders construct spec homes for various reasons. Firstly, they serve as a showcase of the builder’s skills and design prowess, attracting potential buyers by demonstrating the quality of their work.

Secondly, spec homes provide a means for builders to generate revenue and minimize financial risks by having ready-to-sell properties.

Furthermore, spec homes act as inventory, catering to buyers seeking immediate purchase options rather than waiting for custom-built homes, thus widening the builder’s market reach and potential sales.

Will The Spec Home Builders Negotiate The Price Of A Spec House?

Spec home builders may be less flexible on price initially. They factor in profit margins and want to maintain value in the development. However, negotiate closing costs or concessions if the house lingers on the market.

How To Buy A Spec Home?

Start by browsing listings from local builders. Real estate agents can also help you find spec homes that match your criteria. Once you’ve identified a few possibilities, schedule tours to meet the builders and get a feel for the homes themselves.

During the tour, discuss the price with the builder. Remember, while some negotiation might be possible, especially if the home hasn’t sold quickly, builders often factor in profit margins and want to maintain value in the development.

However, you can explore negotiating closing costs or additional incentives.  Once you’ve reached an agreement, secure the home with a signed contract and earnest money deposit.

Pre-approval for a mortgage streamlines the buying process. Work with your lender to get pre-approved for a loan amount that covers the purchase price of the home and any potential closing costs. The closing process will involve finalizing paperwork, inspections, and securing homeowner’s insurance. Once everything is finalized, you’ll get the keys to your brand new spec home!

spec homes
Photo Credit: Canva


Pros And Cons Of Buying A Spec House


1. Move-in Ready

Spec homes are a dream for those who crave a fast turnaround. Unlike custom builds, you won’t wait months for construction – these beauties are ready for immediate occupancy.

2. Affordability

Typically priced competitively due to standardized designs and bulk material purchases by builders, spec homes can be a budget-friendly option compared to custom builds.

3. Turnkey Condition

No need to worry about paint colors, countertops, or light fixtures! Spec homes come with pre-selected finishes, allowing you to move in without the hassle of renovations.

4. Balanced Amenities

Builders design spec homes to appeal to a broad audience. This often translates to a well-rounded selection of amenities that cater to various lifestyles.

5. Walk Through Before You Buy

Unlike custom homes where the design exists on paper, spec homes allow you to physically walk through the space before committing. This provides valuable insight into the layout, flow, and overall feel of the home.


1. Limited Customization

Since the home is already built, extensive changes are usually off the table. You’ll need to be comfortable with the existing layout and finishes.

2. Fixed Floor Plan

The floor plan is what it is. If you crave a specific layout or a unique room configuration, a spec home might not be the most suitable option.

3. Location Choice

Spec homes are built in predetermined locations within developments. While the community might be lovely, you won’t have the flexibility to choose a specific lot or neighborhood.

When Is The Right Time To Buy A Spec House?

Choosing whe­n to buy a spec house comes down to your priorities. If you want to cut a de­al, look for homes that sellers have­ listed for some time. Or you can buy in winte­r when fewer pe­ople are home shopping, giving you more­ room to bargain with motivated sellers.

build spec homes
Photo Credit: Canva


Is Buying A Spec Home A Good Idea?

A spec home is a good choice if you want to move in quickly and save­ money. But you won’t get to customize many things. A spe­c home has features alre­ady chosen by the builder. If you’re­ okay with limited changes and want an affordable, re­ady-to-live house, a spec home­ is ideal


What’s the Difference Between a Spec Home and a Custom-Built Home?

Spec homes are built be­fore buyers choose the­m. The design is already made­  and you can move in fast, but you can’t change much. Custom homes, on the other hand, are­ built just for you. You choose how you want them built from the start. This take­s more time, but it’s made e­xactly how you like.

What’s the Difference Between a Spec Home and a Tract House?

Spec homes offer more variety in design choices compared to tract homes, which are mass-produced with a few standard floor plans throughout a development. Both share limited customization options.

Can Spec Homes Be Purchased Before Completion?

Yes, in some cases! Spec homes can be purchased before completion, particularly if they’re in the early stages of construction. This might allow you to snag a good deal and potentially have some minor influence on finishes.

Can You Make Changes to a Spec Home?

Making major changes to a spec home is usually not possible. However, if you catch a house early in construction, you might be able to negotiate some minor modifications like paint colors or light fixtures with the builder.

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