In many ways, the house plan is the most important part of creating your new home - after all, every house starts with one. It's also the best opportunity you'll have to shape your home's layout and function, because changing your mind afterward involves expensive change orders during construction or potentially invasive remodeling while you're occupying your home. There are two ways to develop your dream home: having one custom-built to your specifications or choosing a pre-designed house plan that meets your needs. Both are valid choices, so look at your budget, specific needs, and other factors to determine which is the best fit.
Custom House Plans
The appeal of custom house plans is right in the name. The home can be customized to perfectly fit your needs and wants, from using certain materials to creating unique features that set your house apart. Often crafted with the features of the lot in mind, custom homes involve extensive collaboration between the homeowner and an architect, builder and other professionals to develop a house plan tailored to the customer's requirements and interests.
However, that flexibility comes at a cost. Custom homes are typically more expensive than just purchasing a house plan online, in part because building professionals are expending time and labor creating one plan for one customer rather than amortizing the costs over many customers purchasing the same plan. Custom homes may also take longer to build due to the extensive planning process needed, and the building process is also more expensive because a custom plan has never been built before, so the team will likely have kinks to work out along the way.
Stock House Plans
Purchasing a house plan from a portfolio instead of having one made just for you is frequently quicker and less expensive than having a custom home designed. Not only are the house plans done, but building firms sometimes buy supplies for several similar plans in bulk, which also helps keep costs down. They can sometimes even be customized somewhat, though for the most part, it's a tradeoff of giving up the opportunity for customization in favor of the convenience, less hassle, and lower price of a pre-designed house plan. Finished plans typically have fewer options available, particularly for things like room configuration that aren't easy to alter without completely redesigning the plan. However, being able to sort through and compare many house plansat once may mean that there's not much need for customization since you can pick out whichever plan has the best combination of features you want. Purchasing finished plans also allows you some degree of control over the cost of the home, as builders will have a fairly reliable estimate of what the finished project will cost.
Your house planis an important decision that you'll have to live with for years, so don't just jump into it. Take some time to study your options from every angle, including costs, estimated time to completion, customizability, and any other aspects of the project that are important to you. If this is your first time having a new home built, it could be worth the time to study some house plans online to get an idea of the styles and layouts available before you really dig into the planning process. When you're ready, loop in a designer who can answer any remaining questions and help you decide how to get started.