Every person, and every family on the face of the planet is different,
with different needs, different desires, different tastes. Therefore,
it should come as no surprise that every home that attempts to fully
satisfy the needs of its owners must also be different.
In a purely custom home, everything is optional, even the rooms
and the placement of rooms. In a semi-custom home, there are fewer
options (the general shape of the house and room placement is standard),
but the buyer can make many throughout the house. In a production
home, the options are even more limited - usually to changes in
finishes, appliances, flooring, colors, etc.
The right number of options is limited by your ability to deal
with choices. Some people want unlimited choices - they are willing
to spend the time to research all the possibilities and have an
easy time making decisions. Other people can become overwhelmed
by too many choices, and want the builder to pre-select a range
of choices that are cost effective.
The major options people select changes over time. Today, people
seem to want more interior detailing, granite countertops, upgraded
cabinets, eat-in island kitchens, separate showers in the master
bath, more built-in lighting, and more elegant exteriors. They want
better insulation, larger and more professional appliances, and
high-tech wiring throughout the house.
What is standard and what is optional is dependent on the price-range
of the home. In the low-end home 25 year shingles and laminate countertops
may be standard. In the high-end home, 40 year shingles and Corian
countertops may be standard, and wood shingles and granite countertops
The major limitation on your options, of course, is your ability
to pay for them. An old law of economics states that the sum total
of human wants can never be satisfied, and that's especially true
when buying of building a home. Whether you're buying a $200,000
house or a $2 million house, at some point everyone reaches a point
where the additional cost of more options is less than the additional
benefit you derive from them. When you reach that point - stop.
But that, of course, is also your option.