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Navigating the House Plan Shopping Experience: The Must-Know Dos and Don’ts

After a seemingly never-ending hunt for your dream home, nagging thoughts of whether your ideal house exists on the housing market may start to weigh heavily on your mind.

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For those seasoned home buyers, you know what you’re looking for, and compromising even one must-have feature is out of the question. 

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Despite the constant barrage of Zillow notifications and late-night pursuits, your perfect home still only exists within the confines of your imagination. To get the house that fits all your aesthetic expectations, you’ll have to bring it to life yourself. Designing and building a custom home is the only surefire way to check-off your wishlist items. 

Unlike buyers who settle for pre-existing properties, custom home builders have the freedom to alter every detail down to cabinetry trim and window placement. The opportunities for self-expression are endless, guaranteeing a show-stopping final product. 

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For starters, custom homes maximize functionality by utilizing virtually every square inch of functional space. In your carefully-crafted custom home, dining spaces can serve as an entertainment epicenter while providing hidden storage opportunities. To ensure a final product with that je ne sais quoi, work closely with a builder while maintaining complete control of your budget. 

The first step to building your one-of-a-kind custom property is deciding on a layout. In this department, homeowners have two options: purchase a stock plan from an online provider or work with a builder on custom house plans. 

Stock plans showcase cookie-cutter features that play a starring role in homes nationwide. Despite their carbon-copy appearance, production plans simplify the building process and save you time. Unfortunately, they aren’t well suited for modifications. Limited creative options can enjoy the enjoyment of the customization process, and faulty structural components may fail to meet local building codes. 

By contrast, custom house plans allow you to work closely with an experienced architect, giving you complete control over every detail. Note that custom plans can easily be altered to fit your needs and ensure you’re the proud owner of a one-in-a-million home. The downfall of custom plans is their tendency to cost more and be time-consuming. 

As you venture into the custom home building world, consider these dos and don’t of navigating house plans. 

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Do: Familiarize yourself with construction details

Before you purchase a house plan like these, develop an intimate understanding of the construction elements. Structural framing info, layout specifications, and technical details don’t always appear in a stock house plan, so you’ll need to be well-acquainted with the insider details. 

Consult local building code requirements, and research your area’s specific engineering standards. For those homeowners unfamiliar, earthquake-prone regions on the west coast must meet different structural specifications than hurricane-ridden regions in the east. 

Don’t: Make last-minute alterations 

While stock plans rarely offer room for changes, custom plans are comparably challenging to modify once drawn up. Designers can take up to six months composing the perfect layout. As a labor of love, tweaking handcrafted house plans poses a challenge after-the-fact. Structural intricacies further complicate last-minute modifications. For instance, a change in a basement room may have consequences for the piping in the master bathroom. 

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Do: Refine your style 

Choosing an architectural style is crucial in finding the right house plan for you. You want your custom home to stand the test of time, so commit to an aesthetic that will wow your houseguests for decades to come. 

Maybe you long to live out your days in a fairytale-like cottage, or perhaps a Victorian style is more suited to your personality. Either way, these stylistic preferences have a significant impact on house plans, so you’ll need a comprehensive understanding of any limitations or must-have features of your goal home design style. 

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Don’t: Lose sight of reality 

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fantasy of customization but remain grounded when you decide on a house plan. Consider location and plot size, and always have a firm grasp on your budget. Homeowners can quickly fall in love with a unique house plan but then run into big problems when trying to breathe life into their vision. Avoid wasting time and money by choosing a house plan that realistically matches your situation. 

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Final thoughts

Customizing your home from its bathroom faucets to its kitchen backsplash design is a worthwhile endeavor. Giving your imagination free rein to make design choices allow you to bring your dream home to life. Settling the feud between stock plans or custom layout plans is arguably the most critical step you’ll take in your journey towards homeownership. With a firm understanding of the dos and don’ts of house plan navigation, you’ll find the layout of your forever home. 


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