Let me start with a disclosure – we have a business that designs dream villas for others.  However, we’ve also personally designed our own dream home, called Villa EXHALE.  Clearly, we have a biased opinion about custom design versus buying off-plan or pre-built homes. Since you’re reading this article, I suspect that you do as well!

When it comes to buying a home, the easiest option is always to buy a home that is already built.  Honestly, if you fall in love with a home for sale and can move in immediately, the premium you pay for another person to build it can be well worth it.  If you are in transition and possibly moving to another country or city within a couple of years, a custom designed home is not really an option for you – unless you are considering it as an investment.

However, if you’ve not stumbled upon your dream home, or are considering the purchase of an off-plan home that hasn’t even been built yet, you owe it to yourself to consider the possibility of a custom designed home tailored to you.

Although most people dream of owning a custom designed home some day, few people pursue that option - mainly because of perceived costs and thinking it’s a luxury associated only with the ultra-wealthy. Many don’t even know where to start – how to find land, how to design, how to manage contractors, and the list goes on!

But a custom-design home isn't as expensive as one may think, particularly in Iskandar, Malaysia, where land prices are incredibly attractive right now. Iskandar is just a 15-minute drive from Singapore’s border. If you work with the right experts to select a prime lot of land, and then partner with them to design and build a home suited to your needs, you’ll find many benefits that make a custom design home the right choice for you.   

Unique to you 

Have you ever walked into a home, resort, or hotel suite and had your heart go ‘Wow, this place is amazing! I love the feel of this place, I wish I could live in a place like this?’

With a custom designed home, you can you feel that way, everyday… for the rest of your life.

The biggest draw about designing and building your own home is being greeted daily to surroundings unique to your wants and needs, and built to the quality and specifications you demand. You'll have input throughout the entire design process on how you want your home to function, look and feel. Your dream home may be a contemporary, minimalist fare-faced concrete design, or perhaps a tropical villa with a large infinity edge pool and meandering water fountains.

The details of a home make all the difference. You might have specific requirements for elderly or small children, from accessibility to safety concerns.  Perhaps you’ve dreamed of a space not common in other homes – gourmet indoor and outdoor kitchens, a billiards room, library, massage pavilion, bar, gym, home theatre room, crafts room, even a secret room/vault or a Japanese-style garden for your botany pursuits. Design architects will work through the details for your home starting from understanding your lifestyle aspirations right from the conceptual stages.

Value for money, resale

It is a simple fact that – barring a distressed seller – you will always pay more for a completed home rather than building it yourself, all other things being equal.  Property developers earn revenue by charging an additional margin over and above the building costs and professional fees.  When you design and build on your own, you’re essentially becoming a property developer (albeit on a small scale), and those “margins” can become savings or used to add value into the home or land size. 

If you’re considering purchasing a ready-made mass-market home, you may find that the design, build, and materials chosen are not what you would hope for – either from a personal or quality perspective.  It is most common that after purchasing a developer home, further funds are required for interior design to personalize or correct defects.  Compared dollar for dollar, you’ll be enjoying more value in terms of land area, design and build quality by designing your own home and working with a reputable general contractor.

The home will also fetch a better resale value with a one-of-a-kind design (particularly if it’s award winning!), better quality materials and bigger land area. When going up against other ready-made homes that are less unique, your potential buyer will have a bigger incentive to pick your home. 

Energy efficiency, sustainability

A design architect can work with you to create a house that is energy efficient, taking into account your requirements and preferences, whilst incorporating techniques that complement the home’s design. These may include passive design, a high performance building envelope, energy efficient systems, water retention, lighting and appliances, and on-site renewable energy sources.

Green homes can lower your utility bills and bring about significant energy savings.  Making use of natural lighting, natural ventilation and fitting the home with energy efficient appliances are just a few ways homes can reduce energy consumption.  Although it is possible to retrofit these features in ready-made homes, it can be a challenging and costly process.

Designing and building your home with the help of design architects is a rewarding process that ensures your dream home has all the features you desire. Whether you’re building a home to live in for the long term or as investment, it’s an alternative worth careful consideration.

If you’re keen on finding out more about custom-designed homes, feel free to reach out to David at david@exhalegroup.com.

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