Picking a house plan is like picking what to eat for dinner. It is a deceptively simple task, filled with danger. Only this dinner could last 30 years. Everyone has their own dream home in mind. Finding common ground on a “dream home” is a large task. Here are some tips to help focus the choice.
Do you have this in a Size 7?
A house is a lot like a pair of pants. A pair that are too small are uncomfortable and you won’t wear them no matter how nice they are. A big baggy pair of pants might be comfortable but all the extra material just gets in the way, making them heavy and not very practical. But, that one pair of pants that fit just right and look great, those are closet gold!
A house that is cramped or filled with rooms you never go into is not good. Spend some time and list the rooms you spend most of your time in. Then rate them with an importance score. Be realistic when it comes to features. If you do not work from home, and don’t like taking work home, do you really need a home office? Knowing and understanding the space you need, and will use, is the first key to picking a house plan.
Let Your Lot Talk To You
In real-estate it is all about location. When it comes to a house plan it can be all about location as well. There are going to be physical limitations that will thin your house plan choice. Lot size, community restrictions, and even geological factors.
After house size, location limitations need to be addressed. By eliminating specific options such as full basements, or walk-out basements, or even third stories, you can help focus your search. Remember, it is not always about what you can’t have.
Your location may have a view. In which case you need to be looking for a plan that can take advantage of this view. When it comes to picking a house plan your location will dictate quite a lot.
Does That Come in Shag?
Don’t be fooled by the interior design. When walking through a model or looking at online photography, don’t be distracted by the “bling”. A house may have gorgeous floors and stunning crown molding and a very contemporary color pallet. But that doesn’t mean the house is comfortable to live in.
Try to visualize the home without all the fancy decorations. One trick is to pretend everything is fake and cheap. This helps to keep from being too impressed by the appliances and the cabinets that are to die for. Any house plan can be made to “look” nice. How the space lives is the real test.
Stick to It, Don’t Double it
A homes size, location, and livability are for the most part out of your hands. A budget however is totally within your control. If you know the size of a house you need, the location limitations (and attributes), and you have not be blinded by fashion, your next hurtle is the budget.
This is NOT the budget for the price of the house plan. A house plan is going to be the cheapest part of building a new home. The budget part comes from actually building the house plan you choose.
Even if you both agree (compromise) on the first 3 points, you can still end up with a house plan you can’t afford to build. Be realistic, many people make the mistake of over building. They build a huge house and use cheap, low quality finishes to stay within budget. The problem is, most never get around to the hard and expensive task of upgrading.
Stick to the build budget. A properly sized house with quality finishes and materials is far superior to the alternative. Think of it this way: You have one shot to do it right.
The Good, the Bad, and the Modification
For most of us, there is no perfect house plan. Every choice will come with some form of compromise. The key thing to remember is that every house plan will have it’s pros and cons. If the pros out weigh the cons then you might have found a winner.
It is not all bad news and giving up on your dreams. Most house plans can be modified. If a house plan is super close to meeting all your criteria, except for one thing, it might be worth finding out if that one thing can be fixed or added.
But, like pants, yes we are back to pants again. If a pair of pants needs to be hemmed a little or taken in a little, that's fine. But if the alterations get too extensive, you will end up paying two or three times the cost of the pants on the alterations. At that point you might have the wrong pair of pants.
Make No Compromises
If the above tips don’t work. If your choices are too many and a consensus just can’t be reached. You still have a path to take.
A house plan custom designed just for you. This is a road not everyone is prepared to travel. It can be expensive and it can be filled with danger. But for the bold of heart it can be a once in a lifetime experience. Very few people can say they have built their dream home with very few compromises.