Buying a house plan and building a house is usually a once in a lifetime event. If you are fortunate enough to be shopping for a house plan there are a few things you need to remember. We have been selling house plans for over 30 years. In that time we have seen almost every mistake that is possible to make. The problems are common for the novice first time client. If you have never purchased a house plan or built a house how are you suppose to know what to not do?
Here is a short list of the five most common mistakes people make when buying a house plan.
1) Eyes Bigger Than the Stomach
Many times people fall in love with a specific house plan. It is perfectly fine to be passionate about a house plan. The problem comes when its time to build that house. If you do not have a very good grasp of your budget you will be in trouble. Know what you can afford and how much house that amount can build. Its a waste of time and money to buy a house plan you can not afford to build.
2) Quality versus Quantity
If you have made the mistake of buying a house plan that is beyond your budget to build but you push forward with construction anyway, you’re in trouble. Many times people think they can cut corners with the construction. This is not only dangerous, it is foolish. Building a house is a process filled with uncertainties, any one of which can cause the construction costs to exceed the budget. If you start off knowing you are at the edge, any unexpected cost will spell catastrophe. If you manage to finish the house using inferior materials or workmanship you will not be happy with the end product.
3) Cart Before The Horse
If you purchase a house plan before you have purchased a lot to build it on, you’re in for some unpleasant surprises. We have seen people buy house plans before they buy land and then spend months and thousands of dollars getting the house to fit on their lot. If you think that the larger the lot the less problems you will have, then you’d be wrong. We had a client that purchased a house plan and then a year later purchased seven acres of land. They ended up paying an additional $5000 in order to have the house modified to fit on the lot. The problem was the land had a lake on it, which has set back restrictions, then there was a right of way restriction and wet-land restrictions.When it was all factored in the space left for a home was not enough to place their house plan on.
4) One Size Does NOT Fit All
If you buy a house plan thinking that you can easily make changes during construction, you’re in for trouble. Many times people buy a house plans and think that can move walls or add a room easily or quickly. Contrary to popular belief changing a plan is not a matter of a few clicks of a mouse. A house plan is a complicated structure governed by rules, regulations and codes. Making a change in the basement can have consequences on the roof. Do not buy a house plan thinking it can be altered later. Always call and talk to us to find out what can and can’t be done to a house plan prior to purchase.
5) Surprised By The Cost
We sell stock house plans. The price we charge is based on our expectation that we will sell many of any one plan. When a client has calculated and stuck to their budget, chosen a house plan that fits on their lot, picked a quality builder, and then asks for a quote to modify a plan they should not be surprised by the cost of the modification. A typical house plan costs 6 to 10 times the amount of the sale price to develop. Many times people will say, “how can the cost of a modification be two times the cost of the plan?”. Thats because many times it takes almost as much time and effort to modify a plan than it does to create it. Think of it as a suit or dress. You can purchase a new suit off the rack for less than half the cost of a custom tailored suit (or dress). Having a suit altered to fit you better is far less costly than having a suit tailor made for you. The same is true for house plans.
Keeping these things in mind will help you in your journey of building your new home.