Square one : The real estate agent's mantra "location, location, location" rings true even when you're building from scratch. From privacy to orientation, your lot is likely to influence which plan you choose. "Theoretically, it's best to start by finding a lot because then you'll have a clear idea of what square footage will and will not fit on the property," says Robert Martin, Architecture Editor at Southern Living. "It's a dangerous proposition to try to gooseneck a house into a lot that's really not ideal for that plan."
Complimenting your lifestyle : Before delving into the thousands of plans available today, evaluate your current living situation. Look around and ask what works and what doesn't. Consider which features matter most to you and which floor plan best accommodates your family's lifestyle. "Does the floor plan live the way you live?" Martin asks. Are you an empty nester who's ready to downsize? A single-level ranch home might be your answer. Is this a house where you expect to raise a family? Check out plans that feature great communal spaces as well as a private master suite. Would you live outside 12 months a year if you could? Pick an airy floor plan with plenty of porches and more windows than wall space.
Why do this, since even stock plans cost you at least a couple of hundred dollars each? Because the right stock plans can save you tons of time and money if you have a talented architect. Most plans are at least partly modular these days, and often you can even order prefabricated sections pegged to a specific house plan.
Beach House Plans : Beach house plans usually result in homes that have a very distinct look. The architectural style that is the foundation for most beach house plans varies from Spanish to Mediterranean to Traditional styles. Beach house plans therefore, can reflect a wide range of interests. Some reflect the area where the house may be built. For example, many coastal home plans created for homes on the southern East coast (think Florida) are crafted with the idea that the home will be on stilts as a measure to help guard against hurricanes and other tropical storms. Stucco exterior styles or Mediterranean styles are not uncommon of coastal home plans fashioned for customers living on the West Coast. Many beach house plans also include special features such as large bay windows and outdoor living spaces.