House Plans Selection Tips & Ideas
Hello future house plans customer,
We sell house plans, garage plans, home plans and multi family plans. I want to give you some helpful information about finding your dream home. Since building a new home will probably be the most expensive investment you’ll ever make I want to be sure that I give you as much information as possible.
General House Plans Selection Tips
First, We have a lot of search features on our main home plans page where you can specify if you are looking for single family homes or garage plans, duplex, etc or you can search by square footage (sf). To narrow down your house plans search you need to enter if you are looking for one (1) bedroom, two (2) bedroom, three (3) bedroom, etc. You also should enter if you would like one bathroom, two bath or three baths. The maximum and minimum width and depth you desire is another specification. This is one of the most important things you should check on is what size of a home will fit on your lot/property. You need to check on your county building requirements of what size the house can be for the size of lot you have. There are usually set back requirements in most county/cities. Once you know these requirements you can choose a houseplan, garage plan or multifamily plan that you like.
Budgeting for Your New House
Budget is another very important factor. Usually your budget will determine the size of the house you can build. In most areas, there is a cost per square foot to build, which can be used as a guideline. It is a good idea to check with a few home builders or contractors to see what their fees are. Another option is being an owner/builder, which will save you a good deal of money. If you are building your new home in a subdivision being an owner/builder may not be an option. There is a very helpful web site that can figure based on your area, how much a new house will cost to build. First, you'll need to select a home plan to do the take-off on. The web site for figuring how much your home will cost to build is www.building-cost.net.
Choosing the Right Foundation for Your New Home
Foundation type is another thing to think about. A basement adds a lot of extra space in your home. A basement is a good idea if it is an option in the area that you live in. Some house plans have basements predrawn, others can have them drawn as an option. Some states, such as Florida, for the most part, you cannot build a home with a basement. You must do a slab foundation, crawlspace foundation or build the house on pilings (beach & vacation house plans). Slab foundation and crawlspace foundation are the 2 most popular types of foundations used. A slab foundation generally is a poured concrete slab, some are called monolithic slabs. A crawlspace foundation is when the house is built up off of the ground usually with concrete blocks and a floor joist system. Homes that are built oceanfront or near water where flooding, hurricanes, storms may be an issue are typically done on pilings. Talk to your new home builder to find out what type of foundation would be best for your home design.
Exterior Finishes on Your New Home Plans
There are many types of exterior finishes you can use for your new house too. A few types of exterior finishes are cedar, aluminum, stucco, shake, brick, vinyl, hardyboard, shell dash and many other types of siding. The climate you live in will probably help you determine what type of exterior finish to choose. In areas near the ocean it would not be a good idea to do wood types of siding. Stucco and or concrete is usually your best bet in the ocean environments. 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.
Climate May Determine Which House Plans You Choose
The climate will also help you decide what type of framing to use too. 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 wood framing and concrete block are the most common. Some areas require you to use a very strong type of structure such as concrete block because of natural weather conditions such as hurricanes. Earthquakes and snow loads are other natural conditions which will require you to use special types of framing/building. Be sure to check with your local builder or local county buiding department to determine what is required. This can also add to your cost to build your home floor plans.
Selecting The Right Size and Style House Floor Plans
You can build a home that is one story, two story, three story and sometimes even higher (or, 1 1/2 story). If you are waterfront or oceanfront you may want to build a home that is at least two or three story to maximize your views. That is another good time to choose a home with a lot of porches, decks or balconies. Porches, decks and balconies also add a lot of useful square footage (s.f.) to your home. It can make your home seem larger too.
Interior Considerations for Your Floor Plans
The kitchen is another important issue. If you do not do a lot of cooking at home or entertaining you may want to choose a home with larger living spaces and a smaller kitchen. On the other hand, if you love cooking and entertaining for family and friends a large beautiful kitchen may be just what you need. Some of our house floor plans have very elaborate kitchens with wonderful islands and eat at bar tops. You can design your kitchen in the building process to fit your needs.
How many bedrooms your home has is important too. We have house plans with 1 bedroom, 2 bedrooms, 3 bedrooms, 4 bedrooms, 5 bedrooms and more. When deciding how many bedrooms you need, you need to not only think about right now but also what you may need in the future. You may want to have a guest suite too. Bedrooms can be later converted into dens or offices with little effort. Many people are working from their homes now so extra working space can always be used.
If you need a lot of square feet in your new home but it is just not in the budget, finding the right house plan with just the right floor plan can make all the difference in the world. There are many home decorating web sites that can help you with decorating a home with small square footage. There is a fabulous search engine web site that can help you find all the decorating help you need with a lot of great decorating tips and ideas. The web site is www.101homeresources.com or you can go to www.CatherineMcGivern.com.
Always Ask Your Home Builder and/or Local Building Department Before Making a Purchase
One very important thing to remember when buying a house plan to build your new home is that these are complete working drawings but may, depending on the area you live in, need to be taken to an engineer or an architect in your area to have their stamp put on it. They would add to the plans anything special needed for your area. The fees to go to an engineer or architect, I’ve heard, vary widely across the country but are usually between $200 and $600 dollars and are not included in your house plans purchase. Because our house plans are sold to people all over the country they may not be drawn to your exact codes in your area. Most of the home plans can be purchased on reproducible vellum or CAD - computer aided drafting (usually but not always AutoCAD). These give you the capability and the right to make any necessary changes, additions, or floorplan modifications to the home design. This is often needed if you want to modify the house plans but sometimes field modifications can be made without actually changing the house plan. Please check with your local building department to be sure.
House Plans Options, Etc
People often ask me if our house plans come with a material list. Some designers have material lists for their plans and some designers don’t. If they do, this is only an estimation of what is needed. Many times during the building process, homeowners make changes in what materials are going to be used. Sometimes this is unforeseen. The material lists are an extra cost in addition to the home plan sets and are often not needed. All of the building supply companies where you would buy your framing and truss packages, etc. figure what materials you need by looking at your house plans. There is almost never a fee for this. Again, check with your local professionals. It is part of their job. That’s why most customers order at least four sets of their plans, so they can pass them out to the subcontractors to figure materials needed for the job (plumbers, HVAC, electricians, framers, etc). A material list can be helpful at times but is not a necessity.
Most of our house plans can be reversed. Some designers can only do a mirror reverse where the plan is printed in reverse but the writing is backwards like it would be if you read something looking into a mirror. There is usually a $50 fee for mirror reverse but the fee does vary depending on the designer. A right-reading reverse or true reverse is where the house plan is reversed and all of the writing is reversed also so that you can read it properly. If the designer can do this it is better than mirror reverse but does cost more. Again the fee does vary among the designers. Be advised that some local building departmetns may not accept a mirrored version of the house floor plan.
Modifying The House Plans You Chose
Many designers do modifications to their house plans, garage plans, garage apartments, and multi-family plans. If there are changes you would like done to the plan you choose you basically have 3 options. You can see if the designer will do the modifications and what their fees are, you can buy the reproducible vellum or CAD version and have a designer in your local area do the modifications or you can see if you can do field modifications. Field modifications are changes that are made on site when building the house that are not required to be changed on the actual plans. This of course would be your least expense route if it is a minor change but the plans probably should be changed if it is a major change or structural change. Check with your local county office where you would pull your permits to build to see what would be an option for you. It’s best to find out as much as you can before purchasing the plans because they cannot be returned. All houseplan sales are final. This information is meant to be a helpful guide but may not always be accurate for the area that you live in.
Some Final Notes About Our House Plans
If you are planning on building a new home you probably have a good idea of what type of house you would like to build but spend a little time on our web site and view the homes that meet your specifications. You can print out floor plans and elevations that you can take to your builder or you can take them out to your lot to make sure they will work for you. When you order a plan they usually ship the following day unless you are having modifications done. Modifications generally take up to 2 weeks to complete. We also offer free ground shipping but you can pay extra to have plans shipped 2nd day or overnight. I hope this information has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to email us anytime, day or night, and we will get you an answer as quickly as possible. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us at 1-800-250-4505.
I’m sure you will enjoy your new home. This will be a very exciting and rewarding time for you. Good Luck and happy building!