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."
There are dozens of other house plan style categories, such as A-Frames, Mission, Contemporary, Southwest, and Tudor to name just a few. A web search for house plans yields a mind blowing number of searchable sites. Most of these allow you to search for house plans, by style, number of bedrooms, baths, with or without a garage, or by sq. ft. of living space.
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.
"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.