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.
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."
Study Set - This type of home plan includes complete exterior views of your home to be plus floor plans of the upper and lower floors (for two story homes). A study set is useful in helping you determine if you can afford the home you are considering building. Usually excluded from a study set are items such as the roof, foundation and details of the home.
Cottage Plans : Cottage plans are usually crafted with warmth and cozy spacing in mind. Most cottage plans are not designed with the idea that the home will be very large. Cottage plans include characteristics such as cozy living spaces, wood siding and stone based porches among other things. Many also are designed to accommodate one and one half to two story homes with low pitched roofs. The exterior materials often used in cottage plans include brick or stucco.