The word ‘custom’ can be misleading
Often carrying over into the realm of custom house plans, in today’s world the word ‘custom’ usually implies something expensive and extravagant. While it can be that way, in many cases it isn’t! There are several different ways that you can acquire your own unique, ‘totally you’ home design without breaking the bank. Let’s take a quick look at what those two different ways are, and hopefully clear up the muddy waters.
Some effective ‘custom’-izable plan options
Just for the sake of my argument, I did a quick search on the Internet for custom house plans. The sites that I’ve looked at all seemed to push the same type of thing: buy one of our pre-drawn plans, or stock plans, and then we will make the modifications for you. In the long run, you still end up partially molding your desires into their plans. That might be the best way to go depending on the type of floor plan or house style you are looking at.
Potential problems with ‘custom’-izable plans
If you see a plan that you really like, and the only modification you need is to increase a room size by pushing out the back, for example, then that might really seem like the least expensive approach to take. That simple change, however, will affect your foundation plan, your elevations, possibly your second floor plan, and your roof plan.
Can you imagine what a more detailed custom change request will entail? Not only are you looking at the original purchase price of the set of stock plans, you are also looking at quite a few hours of change time that is usually billed out on a per hour basis. The fee per hour will vary with the designer.
Back in the young days of my business, I worked with a gentleman who bought a set of plans out of a magazine. He brought them to me for several modifications because the company he purchased them from did not offer a plan modification service. By the time I was done, he had put more money into the plans for the modifications and the original plan purchase than if I had designed the plan from scratch. His comment was filled with frustration – “Boy, I wish I had known about you before I bought this set of plans!”
Practical and true ‘custom’ alternatives
I believe it is definitely human nature to want something that is uniquely our own. And there is nothing wrong with that. That is why almost every stock plan website out there offers some type of modification service. Suddenly that stock plan has become your own personalized plan.
However, custom house plans do not need to be expensive. My average set, starting from scratch, averages anywhere between $1500 and $3000. I just clicked off a website where their average stock house plan price was $2500. Add another $500 if you wanted it in electronic format, then add whatever modification time is required on top of that and, presto!
You are looking at the same amount of money or more for a set of revised stock plans versus custom.
Speed and need sets the tone – factors of both types to consider
Am I saying you should stay away from modifying stock plans? Nope, it is by far the fastest way to get a set of build-ready house plans. Most stock plans are ready to ship in 24 hours without modifications. They usually ship in 2 to 3 weeks with modifications.
Custom house plans can be done in less than 2 to 3 weeks if both spouses are on the same page for their needs and wants. Usually, custom house plans take 2 to 3 months due to the multiple revisions that take place and the time the family takes to review the revisions.
My clients would be more than happy to tell you the custom house plans were worth the wait.