What You Need to Know Before You Buy a House Plan
By Tammy Crosby, Direct from the Designers Editor
Building a new home is one of the biggest investments most people make in their lifetime. Not only is it a huge financial commitment, it’s where you and your family will live for years if not for a lifetime. Building the right home for you and your family takes a few first important steps.
The first step is finding a house plan that meets your living requirements and budget. The second step is finding a lot and neighborhood that accommodates your house plan and your family’s preferences. The third step is finding a builder who you can trust and has excellent craftsmanship. At Direct from the Designers we’re here to help with all of these steps and to make sure the house you build meets all of your expectations and your budget!
The first step to finding the right house plan is deciding on what architectural style you prefer. Is it traditional, craftsman, modern? There are so many different styles to choose from and you may end up liking a fusion of styles. Unless you already know what your architectural style preference is, the best way to determine this is to look through our Architectural Styles. Here you can begin to narrow down what appeals to you.
After you have decided on the style, you can then determine the square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, how many garage bays and the width and depth of the house to fit your lot (if you already have your lot).
Once you figure out these basic details, you can then start your search for the perfect house! Simply fill out any and all of your search requirements on our Detailed Search Form and start perusing your search results. Keep in mind that any plan can be modified and most minor changes can be made direct with your builder.
Keep in mind that a lot of minor changes can be made by “red lining” your plans. This simply means that you and your builder indicate the changes you want directly on your plans with a signature from both parties acknowledging the changes were requested. That way when you show up to the site and a change was not made, it’s your builder’s issue and expense to get it right. Major changes could require a designer to modify the plans, but the best bet is to try and find a house plan that comes close to what you’re looking for to minimize or prevent modification charges.
Determining your building budget:
A very important factor when determining the size of your new home is your building budget. How much house can you afford to build? You certainly don’t want to get three-quarters of the way through your build to realize you don’t have enough money to finish building your new home. To prevent that from happening, you need to develop a realistic budget that encompasses the lot, house plan, construction, landscaping and incidentals. On Direct from the Designers House Plans we offer a cost-to-build estimator for every plan with that includes your custom specifications. Simply click on “Cost-to-build” link under the main image on any house plan page to order the cost-to-build estimator.
Finding the right lot:
Unless you already have your lot or know exactly where you want to live, consider items like property taxes, schools, parks and recreation and other preferences like privacy or access to shopping/supermarkets. If you need help finding the perfect lot, consider contacting a local realtor that might know about lots not yet posted on public MLS listings. You can also visit our list of Preferred Realtors to assist you!
Finding a reputable builder to build your home:
The next step after finding your perfect plan, is finding the perfect builder to build your home. You can also elect to build your own home and hire the subcontractors needed, but make sure you understand what you’re taking on before you decide to do this. Take a look at our Preferred Builder Directory when searching for your builder.