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May 19 2010

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

4 Tips for Choosing a House Plan

Filed under Choosing a House Plan

031H-0131 2-Story Home PlanThe experts at The House Plan Shop understand choosing a house plan can be both exciting and challenging. For many, it is the first time they actually get to plan and decide everything about their home from what it looks like to the rooms and special features inside. However, with so many stock home plans available it may be a bit overwhelming or challenging to narrow down your choices to the right floor plan. The following tips will help you settle on the right home design.


Determine your home building budget.

Take some time to determine your budget. Seeking home loan approval before you begin will help you stay within your means throughout the construction process and into the future. Research multiple lenders to find out who can offer the best deal. Determine “how much house” you can afford. Consider what you can afford to pay for your monthly house payment. Even though you may qualify for a loan of a large amount, it doesn’t mean that you can necessarily afford it. The last thing you want to do is make a mistake of getting in over your head with a house payment you can’t afford. Also, consider how much home owner’s insurance costs annually. How much will taxes cost you each year? These points will help you determine your budget and figure out exactly what is realistic in terms of your income. Your budget will influence the size of your home and the elements and features you choose to finish your home. It will also determine your house payment for years to come.


Consider what features you NEED and what features you WANT.

 Make a list with your family of the room, spaces, special features and functional elements you’d like to have in your home. List all the things you have always wanted and include necessities too. If you NEED 3 bedrooms and 3 baths, write it on your list. If you need a separate office instead of a computer station in the family room, write it on the list. Next, separate your list into NEEDS and WANTS. This will help you incorporate all the elements necessary for family living. If there is additional money in the budget, then you can select items from your WANT list. Keep an open mind and be flexible. Maybe you WANT a kitchen island and snack bar with seating for five, but you only NEED seating for three. If you are getting tight on your budget, you might have to scale back and settle for what you need (a smaller snack bar) instead of what you WANT. If you have too many items on your lists, you can prioritize them and cut back latter. Be sure to be specific when listing your needs and wants. It will save you time later.


Meet with your builder.

Consulting with your builder is a very important step in selecting the right house plan. Often this professional has been in the home building business for years and has valuable insight when it comes to choosing house plans. Discuss your list of NEEDS and WANTS with your building professional. He or she will be able to help you narrow down your choices to the available floor plans that best fit your criteria.


Educate yourself about geographic factors.

When looking at various house plans and floor plans, it is important to keep in mind the specific factors of your geographic region. When building along a beach or shoreline, homes must be built on piers to accommodate potential rising tides, so considering a floor plan that is designed with a basement foundation is not going to work for your lot. Likewise, it is important to keep in mind the style of your home. If you are building in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, a Mediterranean style home might not be the best choice. It is important that you consider the style of the region. Should you ever want to sell your house, you need to make sure that it is similar to other homes on the market in your area. Taking time to research geographic factors of your region will help you eliminate house plans that are not suited for your area. 


Keeping these tips in mind as you browse through the broad selection of house plan available at The House Plan Shop will help you select a floor plan that is sure to satisfy your needs.

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Apr 20 2009

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

9 Points to Consider before Buying a House Plan

Filed under Choosing a House Plan

0021-photoBuilding a new home can be exciting and fun. There is no doubt you’ll be looking forward to moving into your new home. And once you are there, you’ll be excited and enthusiastic about decorating it, showing it to your friends, etc. These are all wonderful things to look forward to unless you end up with a home you don’t really like and features you do not want. Even worse, you could end up with a home that is missing some of the things you’ve always wanted. Keeping this in mind, be aware that it is very important that you carefully choose and decide exactly what you want with your new home. Know what you want before you buy. When you find a plan you think you really like take some time to consider it carefully reviewing its design aspects and checking to be sure the layout and features satisfy your family’s needs and lifestyle. Taking the time to decide what you want up front will ensure your satisfaction when construction is complete. Below are some of the most important things to consider when buying a house plan.

Home Site: Many times, the site or lot will influence other decisions you make about your house plan including whether it is one or two stories, has a walkout basement or if it must have a narrow footprint. For example, if your lot is small and slopes to the front or side, you made need to find a plan with a drive under garage. Similarly, having a large lot to work with makes way for a sprawling ranch design instead of a space-saving two-story home.

Foundation: Depending on where you plan to build may determine what type of foundation you must use. For example, coastal areas generally require a pier foundation protecting your home from the rising tides. However, if you can choose your foundation type, it is best to familiarize yourself with the various foundation types: basement, crawl space, slab, pier, and walkout basement. If you are able to build on a basement foundation, consider its many advantages such as extra storage space and an opportunity for future finished living area. If you have a sloping lot, consider the walkout basement offering convenience and easy access to the back or side yard.

Style: Choose an architectural style that reflects your personal tastes and preferences. Then consider whether it blends well with the other homes in the neighborhood or will if it will look out of place. What home style will hold the best value in your neighborhood? Does the exterior style match the interior style you prefer? Will it work well with your furnishings and decorating tastes?

Number of Levels: In most cases the number of levels you choose is a personal choice. Some people prefer all the common living areas on the first floor with all of the bedrooms situated upstairs for privacy. Also with a two-story, you can add a considerable amount of square footage on the second floor while spending less on materials than you would for a single level home of the same square footage. One-story living is better suited for those who wish to eliminate climbing the stairs every day, an advantage for those looking ahead to their golden years.

Bedrooms: Consider the present size of your family and whether or not your family will change and grow over the years. Do you plan on having more children in a couple of years? Are your older children ready to move out on their own? Do you have frequent overnight guests that would benefit from a guest suite? Do you have plans to convert a bedroom into an office once the kids move a way? Also think about yourself. Master suites are a hot new trend in home design offering generous His and Her walk-in closets and large private baths with all the amenities such as a whirlpool tub, separate shower, compartmented toilet, dual vanities and more. What special amenities do you need in your master bedroom? Will a single walk-in closet and simple bath with one sink, a shower and toilet satisfy your needs? Consider the bedroom layout. Do you prefer split bedrooms or a design with bedrooms clustered together? Do you want a first floor master bedroom with the secondary bedrooms upstairs?

Bathrooms: The arrangement of your bedrooms and the number of levels you have may influence the number of baths you want in your home. With a two-story home, will a half bath due on the first level, or do you want a full bath? What kind of master bath do you envision? Will the secondary bedrooms share a hall bath? Will it be a compartmented design? Will it have dual sinks for efficiency? Do you prefer a private bath in one of the secondary bedrooms so it can be used for guests? If you build your home on a basement foundation, do you want a full bath downstairs or will the rough-ins work for now with the possibility of finishing it later? What other special baths to you need? A half bath in the mudroom, a pool bath, a full bath in the garage?

Floor Plan Functionality: When you look at floor plans, think about your family’s lifestyle and your daily activities. Think about how the floor plan will accommodate your needs. Is it important to have the dining room next to the kitchen allowing you to serve meals with ease? Should the garage enter near the kitchen making it easy to unload groceries? Do you want an open floor plan? Are all the bedrooms close enough to a bathroom? Pay attention to the layout of the rooms and the room sizes. Will you be able to arrange your furniture in a functional and comfortable manner? Will your dining set and china cabinet fit in the dining room? Use a tape measure to measure your furniture pieces and the rooms they are in currently. Compare room sizes to the new floor plan and evaluate if the new spaces will work for your furniture and for you.

Kitchen Layout: The kitchen is the heart of the home for many families. So, choose a floor plan with a kitchen design that is large enough to accommodate your needs and offers the features you love. Sometimes the builder may be able to further enhance your kitchen by adding special features such as a snack bar or meal-prep island if space allows.

Special Rooms and Features: Think about all the things your family needs and the conveniences you want. Make a list and prioritize them. You might not be able to find a floor plan with all the extras you’d like to have in your price range, but if you prioritize your needs and wants it will make it easier to determine what floor plan will work best for you. Do you want a dedicated laundry room? Should it be on the first or second floor? Do you need a den/home office? Will a playroom accommodate the kids and offer storage for all their games and toys? Do you entertain often and wish to have a wet bar? Can a special room serve multiple purposes such as using the home office as a hobby room too? Be sure to decide which special features and rooms you must have and which ones you are willing to sacrifice?

Considering these points carefully will help ensure you are choosing a house plan that is well suited for your family.

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