Taking the plan from blueprint to dream house : A builder may provide a ballpark estimate of construction costs from a study plan, but he or she should consult the working drawings to give a more accurate figure. Many variables can affect the bottom line, including the choice and availability of materials, labor costs, choice of finishes and degree of detail. Ask several contractors for competing bids. If you've got the vision but not the bankroll (at least at this time), it may be wise to choose a plan with bonus space that can be built out as finances allow. Be sure to allot a portion of your budget to landscaping and finish details. Architects and interior designers recommend that you don't skimp on the seemingly small stuff. Higher-quality trim and building materials may trump extra square footage. "Good, insulated windows may be costly initially," Martin says, "but over the long run, they're going to save you money on your power bill." Crown moulding and custom cabinetry can make a stock plan feel like it was designed specifically for your family. After all, it's the personal touches that make a house feel like a home.
There are a few aspects that you must finalize in your mind, before looking at the different online designs. You need to visualize the structure of the house with respect to whether there should be a basement, how many storeys you would like to have, the number of garages that you want, whether you wish to have any outside water pond, the size of the house, the sizes of the different bedrooms, kitchen, living area, etc., and the amenities that you want like bathroom tubs, sinks, and fireplace.
Remember that plans are not necessarily "as is." Builders can use a reverse set of plans (sometimes called a mirror image) to better site a house. It's also possible to hire an architect or modification service to personalize a plan. Ask if reproducible prints or electronic CADD files are available for the selected plan. Either will make the alteration process quicker and easier.
"Some communities promote close neighbors, and some communities promote more breathing space," Martin says. "It's not wise to use up every square foot of building space because you'll have less of a yard." If the lot is located in a suburban neighborhood, consider the placement of windows - take care that they will not align exactly with neighbors' views. Driveways should also be taken into account to make sure that there's plenty of room for parking and turning around.
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