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Why Buy Stock House Plans vs. Custom? - Part I

When a person begins the process of building a new house, there are many different aspects that need to be addressed including: where to build, what size home to build, what features to include, what items are the most important to have in the home, what costs should be included in the budget, what are the design/build timeframes, who will build the home, and a host of other issues.

After these initial questions have been successfully answered, the next item that must be addressed is that of house plans. There are two basic types of house plans that can be purchased, custom or stock, with each having distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Custom Houseplans

Custom house plans are just as the name implies. The house plans are custom drawn to meet your family's specific needs. The plans are normally drawn by a licensed building designer or, in some cases, a licensed architect in a geographic location close to where the 1.) owners live, or 2.) home will be built. The process is, normally, much more involved and time-consuming since the owner's specific requests will need to be integrated into the overall design of the home. Many times these type "special" requests can present significant challenges to the designer of the home, which as a result, may take additional time to resolve.

Since the home is being custom designed, specifically to meet the needs of that one person/family, the costs associated with the development of the house plans tend to be significantly larger than those for a similar set of stock house plans. However, in some cases, the custom house plan may be the only viable option based on the client's needs, home location, special building considerations, etc.

Advantages:
  • Homeowner can get exactly what they want in home design
  • Special needs can be addressed in the design (i.e. extra large garage for boat, larger than normal master bath, handicapped access, etc.)
Disadvantages:

  • Significantly more costly than stock houseplans
  • Longer, more arduous process to develop
  • Significantly more time consuming to produce (i.e. many meetings necessary with designer over several month period)
[  PART II -Why buy stock house plans vs. custom?  ]

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