When it comes time to make your selection of your home building plan, that can be an exciting and rewarding experience. By now, you already have an idea of where your location is going to be, and either have your lot picked out, or know what size it will need to be.
Building your new home will probably be the most expensive investment you will make. Hopefully, the following tips can help you with your difficult choices.
List of Features
To begin with, you have to make a list of what features are most important to you and your family. Room sizes and traffic flow through the house will be important considerations. Take into account your existing furniture and belongings, to help determine room sizes needed. Also family size, and whether there will be an increase or decrease in family size in the near future.
You will have to look at your budget to determine the size of house you can afford. Construction costs are going to be based on square footage, $ per SF. Check with a number of residential contractors in your area, to see how their cost per square foot varies. If you decide you want to be your own owner/builder, you can save a considerable amount of money in the process. Be sure to read our article "Considering Building Your Own Home", for important information on this choice. You can find a very good software tool for estimating the cost per square foot for your area by going to the following website: www.building-cost.net, and click on Start Calculator.
On our website you will find a helpful SEARCH tool, if you want to start looking for your house plan. You can specify the major requirements such as plan type (house), square footage needed (within a range), how many levels, number of bedrooms and baths, number of garage spaces, and the width of the house, within a certain range. Maximum width is going to be determined by your lot width, and setback requirements. Using this feature will narrow down the number of plans you will have to look through considerably. If you find there are few options available, back off on your requirements and try again.
A home plan with a basement will provide considerably more living space, but the area you are building will determine whether this is an option. That's fine for the northern parts of the country, but in the South, a basement is not an option. Here a slab foundation or crawl space will be needed.
A home with a second floor will provide more living space taking up less square footage on your lot than a ranch style home, and separate your sleeping area from the daytime activities. You will find quite a few homes with the master bedroom located on the first floor, and the additional bedrooms on the second floor. If separate sleeping areas is a main requirement, there will also be single story homes with the master bedroom on one side of the house, and additional bedrooms on the other.
For some home builders, the master bedroom is the first consideration, and there is no end to how elaborate this can be done up. You will find plans with master suites with large master baths containing his and hers walk-in closets, garden tubs, walk-in showers, tray ceilings and two wash basins. Some master suites will also contain a sitting area, and can sometimes include an exit to a balcony or rear porch/patio.
Kitchens can be as small or large as you need. Large islands can provide more counter space, and bartops provide eat-in bar seating. A breakfast nook next to the kitchen opens it up, for informal dining with a view to the outside. If you prefer formal dining for large families or dinner parties, a separate dining room can be added. This is normally located close to the kitchen for convenience.
Attached garages are the norm, with the most common being the two car garage. The location of the garage can sometimes be moved around if you find a plan you like, but are not happy with the garage location. The garage entrance can sometimes be changed from front to side. Normally, the size of your lot will determine your garage location and orientation. A wide lot will allow a garage on the front of the house to have a courtyard entry garage, or a side entry garage which is more desirable as far as curb appeal, than a front entry garage. If the house plan you choose just has the garage located on the wrong side, you can order the plan flipped over to get exactly what you want. In this case, you would order your plan to include Right-Reading Reverse for the lettering of the drawings. If you choose a narrow lot, you are pretty well limited to a front entry garage.
A lot of plans will include unfinished spaces, either unfinished basements, or second floor unfinished Bonus Rooms. This can save you expenses during construction, allowing the home owner to go back in at a later time and finish off these spaces. You can add additional bedrooms in the second floor bonus room, or make that space a large play area for the children. The unfinished basement can provide additional entertaining space, such as a den, media room, pool room, theatre area, or game room.
Also important for entertaining and relaxation is your outdoor living area. Porches are a desirable feature, providing space for watching the world pass by in your rocker or porch swing, entertaining family and friends during the outdoor season, and providing additional shade to the house during the summer season. A covered patio in the rear can become your favorite outdoor cooking and dining area, and a place for children to play during the rainy days. A screened porch in the rear of your home can provide you with additional outdoor living space in a bug-free environment. You can enjoy the cool evening breezes with a view of your back yard, or maybe a lake or creek.
When choosing the exterior finish of your home, the climate you live in may be a determining factor. In an area near the ocean it would not be a good idea to use wood types of siding. Stucco and/or concrete are usually your best choice in the ocean environment. No matter where you live, a low maintenance type of siding is ideal. Check with building supply stores in your area and see what is popular for your area.
If you find a plan you like, but would like some changes made to it, this can normally be done. Just call or email the plan number, and what you would like changed, and we will find out for you what the additional cost will be from the house plan designer.
Choosing your house plan is the time for making your dreams a reality. You want to make the best choices available of the features you and your family will need now and in the future. Amazingplans.com can provide you with assistance in this important matter.
Call and speak to one of our customer service reps at (904) 325-6215, or email us to have your questions answered.