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."
You may also find out after looking at several sets of stock house plans that one is your dream house. Depending on your house building plans, this could save you thousands of dollars in architect fees. If you do order a set of stock house plans, check with the company first to see if you can exchange them later if you want a different plan. Some blueprint suppliers will give you up to 90% credit toward a different set if you return the original plans.
Construction Set - Construction house plans are complete and include everything you need to build your home. Exterior views, complete floor plans, roof and foundation plans and details that explain how to build your home are included in a construction set. You want to consider a construction set if you are interested in buying a basic home plan package from which you'll secure financing and settle all the other details necessary to have your home built.
The property owner can seek a variance to exceed the "building envelope," the allowable area that a home can occupy on a lot. However, the process is often lengthy and there's no guarantee that permission will be granted. Local zoning boards and community organizations often require a house be set back a certain distance from the street. Before purchasing a corner lot, find out if front-yard setback regulations apply to the lot's front and side-street boundaries. This could substantially reduce the area available for a home's footprint. Easements as well as natural features, like rock outcroppings and mature trees, may also influence where the house can be located.
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