House design plans:
What to look for in your plans.

House design plans offer homeowners many things. The variety of plans and options is mind boggling, so how do you choose the right set for you?

One of the first things to figure out is the layout that you're looking for.

As the new homeowner, you want to take your time to consider what you are going to need from this home.
What size is your lot (with setbacks)?
How big, how many stories, how many beds and baths, etc. do you want your house to be?

The more pre-planning you can do, the more efficient your designer can be, and the more money you will save on the design.

Then it's time to select your draftsman or architect. Typically, an architect is a much more expensive option. A draftsman can design a set of house plans for a fraction of the price primarily because he is going to design the house, whereas an architect will typically get much more involved in the details, such as choosing paint schemes, and other finishing materials.

When making this important decision it is critical that you find someone that you feel comfortable communicating with. This is going to be an in-depth process, so it is important that you feel that this person can communicate well, listen well, and is responsive to your concerns and needs. You'll also need to rely on them to provide options and suggestions.

A Good Contract is Essential
A good contract is next. The contract should clearly spell out what your designer is going to provide, and what and when you are going to pay them. It should also spell out any cancellation clauses, insurance responsibility, and ownership of the finished plans.

The timeframe for a project is also important to spell out in the contract. You don't want your project put on the "back burner" if the designer gets busy or lands a larger project.

The plans can include a variety of details. To avoid frustration and miscommunication, be sure to spell out what you want included. Such things as foundations and HVAC systems are items that typically change the cost of the house design plans.

The number of finished plan sets is important too. You will need a minimum number of house design plans to complete your project. You'll need to consider giving a certain number to your builder so he can get bids from subcontractors. Other sets will go to the bank and the building department. One option is to secure an electronic copy with a reproduction agreement that entitles you to print as many copies as you will need for the project.

These are just a few things to consider when getting your house plans. Zoning requirements might play an important role in many of your decisions, as well, so make sure you do your research before moving too far into the process.

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