Choosing a house plan can, initially, seem like a daunting task. To help ease your worries, we’ve compiled a few pointers on how to choose a plan.
Choosing a plan. Here’s the good news: there are literally hundreds of stock home plans to choose from – so if saving time and money is important to you, there’s a strong chance that you’ll be able to find a plan that meets most of your needs. Here’s the bad news: there are literally hundreds of plans available – narrowing your choices down to one can sometimes be difficult. Here are three quick pointers that will help you in your effort to find the perfect plan.
- Determine the maximum footprint for your lot. Call your local building department to find out your setbacks. Subtract your setbacks from your lot dimensions to determine your maximum allowable footprint. Use this dimension as a starting point for locating a house plan. Keep in mind that adding or subtracting even one foot (1′) from a home plan is a lot more work than you think, so try to find a plan that won’t require modifying the footprint.
- Look for a design with a floor plan that fits your lifestyle. Don’t want to climb stairs? Find a plan with the master bedroom on the main level (or one with an elevator). Prefer a more casual look? Find a plan with a great room that’s connected to the kitchen (avoid “formal” living rooms and dining rooms). Have a lot with great views? Choose a plan that is oriented to take advantage of those views. The floor plan is the single most important aspect of home design. If you aren’t sure what type of floor plan suits your lifestyle, start taking notes as you visit friends’ homes – you’ll figure it out.
- Exteriors are usually easy to modify. Prefer shingle siding to horizontal plank siding? No problem – simply “red line” the change on the plans. Many exterior modifications are easy to make – especially for swapping out one type of material for another. Many design changes, such as changing from a gabled dormer to a shed dormer, are fairly straight-forward. Just be sure to rely on the services of a professional designer or architect. They will be sure to get the details just right.