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."
On the other hand, stock house plans are substantial past drawn designs by a skilled designer or architect ideally of a specific purpose or general use. The question is, why choose a stock plan over a custom drawn plan? It all amounts to various reasons that are discussed below.
In addition, good stock plans come with a detailed inventory, which you can use while you're developing out your dream house. This is important for two reasons: you can look at the materials used to build your house and determine whether your budget will stretch to accommodate them, and you can get a very good idea of where to upgrade and downgrade materials.
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.
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