Ready-Made House Plans
Homeowners have been able to view and purchase ready-made home plans since the 1800s. With the growth of the railroad, anyone could order a home out of a catalog and the plans and equipment would arrive by rail. Today, ready-made homes are an affordable alternative to homeowners who cannot afford a custom home or one designed by a professional architect. When choosing a home plan, it's important to consider you and your family's individual needs for your house.
Tips for Buying Ready Made Home Plans
Know who you are buying your plans from - Do you want to buy your home directly from the builder or the architect? If you choose to do so, you will usually have direct contact with the person who created the design or the professional who has built several homes like yours in the past. If price is a consideration, you have the option of buying from a third party investment company. While you will save money on the plans, the customer service will not be as high as if you had purchased directly from the designer.
You may decide that you want to modify the plan, and if you do not purchase from a builder or architect, that would mean hiring another architect of builder to do the modifications. In the long run, you may not be getting a bargain.
Find a plan that fits your lifestyle - If you prefer a cozy, intimate setting, the sleek lines of a utilitarian, modern home will not suit you. Craftsman bungalows are cute, but if it's not your style you may wind up with an exterior that you hate.
How many stories are you comfortable with? Going up two or three stories can get tiring, especially if you have kids or elderly relatives who will be sharing the home with you. Do you really like the currently popular open floor plan, or would you prefer to have rooms with distinct partitions and functions?
Do everything you can to find a standing example of the plan you are considering - Architects are excellent at envisioning how a blueprint could look in real life--the average person is not. You can't get a true idea of scale until you've seen it in person. That kitchen island may seem great on paper, but when built it could easily overwhelm the rest of the kitchen.
If you want to make alterations or upgrades to the standard design, it's even more important to view the setting physically to know for sure the feature is necessary. Once you see it in person, you may find that it's just a $4,000 bell and whistle that you don't need after all.
Determine the real cost of unique architectural features - Tall ceilings look beautiful, whether in 3-D or in person. But do you understand the real cost of heating and cooling a large cavernous room? Floor to ceiling windows are a popular feature, but it costs time and money to hire someone to clean them, and the amount of UV light that these windows let in over time can damage furnishings. Are you willing to keep a curtain-closing schedule, or replace a couch that has faded from too much light from your tall windows?
Don't forget safety when looking at a plan - Sweeping foyers are popular now, but have you considered the risk of a toddler playing on a catwalk unattended? Glass shower doors are a wonderful feature for adults, but the glass can be dangerous or too heavy for little ones. When planning out occupants for each bedroom and bathroom, are you making an allowance for a tub for the kids? How will elderly family members handle taking a bath or shower?
Make sure the plan matches your lot - Homes with large porches are great for down South, but would you use them as much in rainy Seattle? That large picture window in the kitchen might face your neighbor's house instead of the green lot that the architect originally envisioned. And if you can't fit the plan's garage into the exact space that the design requires to line up the mud room and kitchen just right, you will probably need a different plan.
Ready-made house plans are an affordable alternative to having a custom designed home If you precisely evaluate your needs before you choose a plan, you can find the home that suits you, your family and your lifestyle. A ready-made plan is designed to be a cost saving measure, so ensure you investigate the hidden costs of any home plan before you make your final decision.