Custom Home vs Buying a Home: 2022 Market Trends in Atherton, CA

The choice between building a custom home and buying an existing home has always been a tough one to make. There are so many pros and cons to consider on both sides that could affect you and your family well into the future. To determine which option is best for you and your family, consider each of these pros and cons and how important they may be to you.  


With home sales outpacing home listings, the current housing inventory in California is pretty out of balance, causing a steep increase in home price averages across the state. It’s a seller’s market, to say the least. The average time a home is on the market is mere days. Land sales aren’t much slower, however, there are many other benefits to buying land on which to build your custom home that might make the competition worth it. 

The most obvious pro is building a home to your exact specifications, needs, and wants. You are in control of every detail and finish, fixture and placement, color, and material. Dream details, like built-in bookshelves and the perfect banister, could be installed on the first go as opposed to during a remodel. A custom-built home is exactly that: custom to you

Another benefit to building a custom home in Atherton is that it can actually cost you less to live in over time. New homes tend to be more energy efficient for a myriad of reasons. Dual pane windows, for example, trap air between the panes and work to decrease the amount of heat or cold in your home, which decreases the amount of energy you will need to use to be comfortable. Windows are a part of your home’s envelope as are the walls, attic, and doors. In newly built custom homes, the envelope is more airtight than older homes, increasing its energy efficiency. 

New homes also allow more time before repairs and replacements. Not to mention, the materials used are typically more advanced than in older homes, making a replacement unnecessary for quite some time. An example of this would be the use of high-end appliances such as the HVAC and other systems. Additionally, they will cost less to maintain because newer, high-end appliances tend to be more resilient. 

It’s new! No other family or owner has used your home in any way. The shower, kitchen sink, and outdoor living space are all brand new and have only been yours. This alone is valuable beyond comparison. 


Typically, it is more expensive than buying an existing home. However, as already mentioned, the housing market has a lot to do with this concern. Depending on your location, this would definitely be something to consider. Although, in Atherton, this may not be as much of an issue as in other locations. 

When building a custom home, it is possible for the cost to get away from you. This is especially the case if you don’t choose a design-build firm that will keep this priority in mind through the design and construction process. Choosing a design-build firm that understands the importance of staying within your budget is the pinnacle to avoiding this issue. Working directly with your designer to choose every detail with your budget in mind can mitigate unknowingly going beyond your budget. 


For some, the idea of making hundreds of decisions is simply unimaginable and even anxiety-inducing, which makes buying a home ideal. Compromising on details, the layout, and even the number of bedrooms is okay for some prospective homeowners. Everything is already built and the decisions that need to be made are those of logistics.

Some assume that buying a home is, in general, a quicker process than building a custom home. Coordinating with an architect, a contractor, lenders, and so forth feels like a drawn-out process, whereas buying an already-built home can be more brief and direct. 

Buying a home that was built several years earlier will also have matured landscaping, such as trees and bushes. The curb appeal of an older home can be a big draw for new homeowners. This is especially true for those that wish to move right into a home and feel settled right away, without having to put much work into making the home blend in with the neighborhood. 


All of those decisions that you’ve saved yourself by buying a home will likely come back around in the form of a remodel when the home no longer serves your family in the way you need. A remodel may seem simple enough to navigate, but if the option to custom build a home from the start is on the table, custom building a home will prove to be the best option in the long run for all the reasons mentioned above. 

Buying a home outright may not be the swift process people assume it to be. There is the possibility of finding the perfect home, putting in an offer, and being out-bid in the end. This process can continue on loop, especially in the competitive housing market of Atherton. With multiple offers on one home, the likelihood of this process lasting just as long as getting exactly the home you’d love is higher than you’d think. 

A home that was built years prior will need repairs sooner than you would hope. The wear and tear on a home is unseen until your appliances and HVAC system start to go into disrepair. Also, if replacing appliances is necessary, the newer models that have all of the features you love may not fit into your existing floor plan. Not to mention, adding appliances that weren’t there before, like a silent washer and dryer pair in the master closet, will require plumbing and electricity rerouting that could have been avoided with a custom home build.  


Given the housing market for existing homes, the option to build your own custom home has never been a better choice. K.C. Customs Incorporated is an experienced and highly skilled design-build firm that specializes in building high-end luxury homes. We work with the Bay Area’s finest architects and designers to provide impeccable craftsmanship with attention to detail to deliver incredible quality, on time and within your budget. Contact K.C. Customs, Inc. to plan your luxury dream home in Atherton. 

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