Benefits of a Custom Home Design

Every day we get contacted by home owners, developers and families to help them understand the benefits of a custom home design as opposed to a volume home design or architecture from scratch.  

These queries range from people looking to knock down and rebuild the home they live in, those looking to purchase land to build on and even developers running a feasibility study while looking to build for profit. The one thing they all have in common is wanting to gain an understanding of ‘how Terren is different from custom home builders’ and whether they should ‘go down the custom home design route with us or whether they should go to a custom home builder’ (often referred to as a volume builder.) So let’s break it down. 

What is a “custom home design” 

Custom home designs are sometimes referred to as  ‘pre-built designs’ or  ‘off the shelf designs’  or even ‘spec home designs.’ The reason that these terms exist is because usually when a custom home design is offered it is by a builder who has built this design many times already (with the larger builders –one design might even be replicated thousands of times). Even high end builders that offer limited edition pre-built designs are in this same category. Terren is different and the simplest explanation for that difference is that we are not builders. When we say we offer custom home designs – what we mean is –we completely customize our designs to your land and specifications and then we hand it over to you to tender or build with your own builder.  

Benefits of a custom home design? 

The benefits of using our pre-designed custom home offering are three-fold – Speed, flexibility, and price surety. 


Because our limited edition designs are 80% ready before we begin, we are able to make the last 20% of changes that completely make the home your own – in just weeks. Normally creating an architectural home from scratch would take months if not years. Even volume builders quote 6months to a year for them to be ready to begin building your home. With Terren your custom home design will be ready in weeks. That includes everything you need to proceed to building permit – working drawings, engineering and thermal assessment all inclusive. 


Unlike some limited edition architectural offerings, we allow you to make changes to our plans. We allow for a full day’s worth of our architect’s time to make these changes and we even provide a quote for additional changes that go beyond that scope.  

Price Surety

Our architectural home design packages are priced at less than half of what it would normally cost to custom design a home of this nature. Our packages are not a fee estimate – we will give you exact pricing of what your architectural home design package will cost from start to finish with Terren. We also provide a verified build price from one builder. This builder has quoted on building our designs. That way you know roughly what your home will cost to build before you even begin. Of course, as you can still tender these plans – or even owner-build them – you will have access to a range of prices that you can choose from. 

How to build a custom home? 

Start by seeking a land survey and soil report. You can read about how to find a land surveyor in your area here.  

Write your brief of what you want to build. Start by thinking about ‘what makes a good house design for you?’ This could include items like rooms, spaces, size, style and budget. 

Next engage Terren, another architect or a volume builder with your property info and ask them to provide a quote to begin designing. For Terren our package prices are already available on our website. 

From this point, the path splits. If you have engaged a volume builder you will automatically proceed to a building contract with them as they already own the right to build your home. Worth noting that even if you do not like the price they provide in the contract for your custom home build you have a very minimal ability to negotiate as by leaving them you will need to start the design process again. If you have engaged Terren, or another architect, at this stage you would proceed to tender. You can read all about the tendering process in our blog section here. 

Your custom home build will now be in the hands of your chosen builder. 

Each builder offers a different process and a different level of client involvement. For some, you might be expected to be on-site regularly and for others, you will not be allowed on-site unless supervised and organised in advance. As there is a vast difference in this, it’s good to understand your chosen custom build process from the outset. 

And that’s it. If you have any further questions about the custom home design process or benefits or even what makes a good design – drop us an email or get in touch via our contact us page. 

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Want to learn more about Terren, or the Architectural design and build process?

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