By the time you are ready or before you buy home plans online, it is assumed that you have done all of the necessary preparation to get to that point. Notice that I said "assumed". There are several things that must be considered before you decide on buying house plans online and surprisingly, maybe not, many people are ill-prepared. Below is a small checklist that can be used as a guideline for you to find the right home design for your specific needs.
Select and purchase land to build on
Go ahead and purchase a lot or a piece of land when you have the opportunity. Knowing how to buy land or knowing someone who does, will serve you well. It is important that you know and understand your land restrictions (set backs, maximum size of house plan footprint), soil conditions (land suitable for building on), topography (if suitable for basement or slab foundation), easements, neighborhood (covenants), taxes, cost for site preparations, and other factors that may affect your decision on selecting home plans.
Choose a builder
Take the time to find a home builder that you feel comfortable with. Get referrals from friends and family, check the builder's background, and talk with previous customers of the builder. Talk to the builder about your needs and wants where both parties can understand what's expected of each.
Develop a budget
Your primary purpose for preparing a budget is to understand and control costs. In order to create and stick with a budget you must be realistic about what you can afford and what can fit into a particular home plan and square footage. If you decide to upgrade on something that wasn't included in the original budget, be willing to give up or downgrade on some other aspect of the home construction in order to keep within budget. Bottom line, know how much house you can afford based on what you want the house to be.
Level of design service needed
When deciding the level of service you need, develop realistic expectations of what stock house plans cost versus custom design house plans. Stock house plans are products ready for purchase and are inexpensive (average around $700.00) compared to custom design services. In some cases, you may require changes which will modify house plans to meet all your design needs. If stock plan modifications do not meet your expectations, then you may consider the services of a professional building designer for a custom home design. Custom home plans are labor intensive and take longer (several weeks at the least) to develop from concept to construction documents. Prices vary among designers and are based on different factors. A compromise of the two is to purchase stock house plans that are close to what you are looking for and making minor changes to adapt the design to your site conditions and life style. On average, modifications range from $500.00 to $2,500 or more depending on the amount and complexity of the changes.