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Looking for a Move-in Ready home? A Spec House is the Answer!

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

What to Know When Buying a Spec Home

A spec house is an excellent option for those who want a new, ready, move-in home without waiting for a custom build.

Spec homes are also a great way to purchase a new home in a complex real estate market – as you bypass bidding wars and unreasonable contract conditions.

If you’re wondering, ‘what is a spec house, and is one right for me?’ read on to discover the benefits of choosing one. We’ll also review the difference between spec homes and custom build homes and what you should know if you are considering buying one of these move-in ready homes.

What is a Spec House?

A spec home is a house built by a developer or construction company ‘on speculation’ that someone will want to buy it. In other words, spec homes are pre-built, move-in ready homes that the developer has built before the sale.

When developers build a spec house, they use their knowledge of the local area to design a home that suits the neighbourhood and current housing market requirements.

Spec houses are unique in the housing market because of the following:

  • They are brand new and not previously lived in

  • Purchase to move in time can be very quick as the home is already built

  • They allow buyers to sidestep a competitive housing market and deal directly with the developer

Note: Spec homes are different from off-plan, or pre-sale, homes as they are sold after they have been built (or close to completion). With an off-plan home, buyers are asked to commit to the purchase based on plans and images only.

How is a Spec Home Different from a Custom Home?

Although custom home builders often build spec homes, they offer a different opportunity to home buyers. The main differences between spec homes and custom homes are listed below:

Spec Homes

  • Designed by the builder based on the local market and trends

  • Limited opportunities for a buyer to make decisions. If the build is not complete, the buyer may get some choice in décor / finish.

  • The location of the home is pre-determined

  • Buyer can move in within a few weeks – good for those in a hurry

  • Cheaper than a custom home

  • Regular mortgage financing

Custom Homes

  • Highly personalized design

  • With guidance from the developer, the buyer makes all design and finishing decisions

  • The home is built on the buyer’s land

  • The custom home process can take a year or more

  • A more expensive option depending on the choices made

  • Specialist financing required

The Benefits of a Spec Home

There are many benefits to choosing a spec home, including:

  • Sidestep a competitive housing market: Buying in a low inventory market is challenging. When you buy a spec home, you avoid bidding wars or making offers with few or no conditions.

  • Reliable construction and quality finishes: When individual spec homes are built by experienced and reliable companies, you can be sure you are getting a quality product. As with all new build homes in British Columbia, spec homes are covered by a 2-5-10 home warranty for added peace of mind.

  • Good for those in a time crunch: There is no need to wait for a custom build or a lengthy occupation date on purchasing an existing home. Because spec homes are usually sold when near to or completed, you can move in within a few weeks.

  • Decision-making isn’t for everyone: All the decision-making required in a custom build can be stressful. A spec home purchase is a hands-off process - you get a brand-new home with no hassle.

  • You can see it before you buy – Don’t just imagine what your future home will be like. With a spec home, you can walk through to get a feel for the space and know whether it will suit your needs.

  • Move-in ready – With a spec home, your most significant decision will be where to put the sofa. You can move in knowing there is no decorating work, no renovations needed, and no surprises waiting.

What to Know Before Buying a Spec Home

Here are some things to know to help you get started on your journey to spec home ownership.

Before you purchase:

  • Research local spec home developers. Review their previous builds to see if you like their typical design and style. Check reviews and references.

  • Engage a realtor. Although you won’t need a realtor’s help to find your new home, you will need one for the legal aspect of the purchase.

  • Confirm financing with a mortgage lender so you can start your search with a confirmed budget.

Finding your new home:

  • Contact local spec home builders to compare their inventory to your needs and budget.

  • Make in-person visits to the complete or partially completed builds where possible.

  • Find out whether there is an opportunity for you to make any décor choices.

  • Arrange for an independent home inspection.

  • Agree on a sale price with the developer and exchange contracts with the help of your realtor.

After the purchase:

  • Complete warranty walk-through with the developer.

  • Move in!

White Wolf Homes Building Spec Homes in the Greater Victoria Region

At White Wolf Homes, we know that a custom build is not the right journey for everyone. Maybe you need to move faster or know you won’t enjoy the decision-making a custom build requires.

To support buyers looking for a quality new build, we use our expertise as a luxury custom home builder to carefully plan and design spec homes in the Victoria, BC, area.

Some examples of our current spec builds:

  • Anscomb – A 4 bed / 5 bath home in Oak Bay. Due for completion in Spring 2023.

  • Oxford - A 4 bed / 2.5 bath home in Cook Street Village. Due for completion Fall 2023.

Contact us to find out more about our spec builds. We look forward to welcoming you into one of our move-in-ready homes soon.

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