One item to look for when evaluating a house plans' quality level is the number of structural sections which are shown on the plan. Highly detailed sets of plans will always cut lots of sectional views through the house to show every different roof framing situation. This might mean that 10 or 12 (or even more) sections need to be drawn for a large house plan. And even a small house plan should include 3 or 4 sections minimum. However, many home plans available today (especially plans purchased through inexpensive plan directories) cut corners in this department and only show one or two house section views. This means that the builder will have to guess at the rest of the house framing.
Small house plans are normally defined as houses with less than 1800 square feet, excluding a basement. These house are also space efficient and less expensive to build on a small plot of land.
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.
When you decide on a house plan, you're also choosing a way of life. Do you host dinner parties often, or do you only step inside the dining room on holidays? Today, many families forego a dedicated formal dining room. Instead, a casual eating nook connected to the kitchen accommodates week-night meals, Little League pizza parties and all their entertaining needs. If you work from home or have school-aged children, an office or study may be a necessity. Think about the rooms and how you and your family will use them.