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Building a home? Tract Home Building 101

Building a home? Tract Home Building 101
June 28, 2018 wayjamesmarketing

A lot of home buyers like things shiny and new. There’s nothing wrong with that but it does pose some limitations if you are looking to buy near a city where older homes, or as I like to call them ‘charming’ homes are more likely to co-mingle with the renovated and updated rather than the new.

Since I have mainly worked in older established neighborhoods in my residential real estate career, I haven’t sold a lot of new construction homes per capita.  However, that is changing.  Look at me, expanding my horizons! Or maybe the buyers are expanding their horizons. Either way, I encourage you to do the same when you are looking for a home. Sometimes the home you pictured, in the neighborhood you pictured, isn’t always the best one for your family or your budget.

I’m working with a buyer right now that is watching their home being built in a subdivision that is being developed by a tract builder.  Tract building is very different than a custom build.  Both are newly built and move in ready but there are less choices with a tract home than with custom homes.  That’s what helps keep the price down in most cases.

For the sake of this blog we will focus on Tract building.  Custom is a whole different beast for another blog.

Tract or production home builders are developers or builders who own a large plot (tract) of land, which is divided into numerous smaller lots for “stock plan homes” to be built on. A tract or production builder generally has a set number of model homes that showcase the home designs that can be built on these lots.

There are many tract builders in Charlotte area.  This particular builder I am currently working with is Meritage Homes.


For the buyer, the process is easy, fun and well-practiced by these builders. 

Here’s what you can expect.

  1. With tract homes, buyers choose their lot. Usually this means providing some kind of lot deposit or consideration. This also usually means going under contract sooner than later. 
  2. The buyers choose a layout from one of a few pre-determined models of homes. Your options for floor plans will be more limited. One nice thing about a model home is that it lets you visualize the floor plan instead of trying to picture it based off a piece of paper.
  3. Buyers meet with a design rep that provides their choices of finishes to include flooring, cabinets, counter tops, light fixtures.  Tract homes are typically more economical than a custom builder and the finishes are where they save the most money. Outside of elements you might expect like cabinets, hardware and appliances are other areas that where quality may be less than a custom home like framing, roof shingles and carpet grade.
  4. The buyer always has the ability to choose something outside the scope but for a higher cost. 
  5. The builder provides a time line for building and completion.  The builders that I have worked with also communicate with the buyer on building milestones, like foundation poured, framing complete, etc. 

After years of helping families buy and sell homes in the Charlotte area what I know is this. It doesn’t matter if a home is new or old or looks different from your neighbors. What matters is if the location and floor plan fit your family’s need. That’s it. Find that and you’ve found your happily ever after.