Hire a Custom Home Designer or Buy House Plans Online?

Custom Home Design, Exterior

Hire a Custom Home Designer or Buy House Plans Online?

As a design and build firm, we get a lot of questions about the benefits of hiring a designer to create custom house plans versus buying house plans online. The debate is almost always over cost. Yes, initially, it is less expensive to buy a predesigned set of plans online. However, when all is said and done buying house plans online can often end up costing you more and giving you less. When it comes to building your home, hiring a designer is the way to go and here’s why:


Custom Means Custom

The biggest benefit of hiring a designer or architect to design your home is that you get exactly what you want. You can look at Pinterest or Houzz for inspiration and pick the pieces that best fit your lifestyle.

Most firms offer an initial consultation where you can give your designer a list of wants/needs and show them examples of what you like. Together you’ll work on a rough sketch of your future home before they even start designing. Throughout the design process, you’ll also receive drafts and have an opportunity to revise things until they get the design just right.

Buying a predesigned set of plans limits your ability to customize. Some builders will let you move windows or doorways from where they are on the plans, but any changes to the structure require a design professional and engineer to review and approve before construction can begin, which costs you time and money.


Your Lot Dictates A Lot

The piece of land you plan to live on actually affects the size and shape of home you can build. Soil tests can sometimes dictate the number of bedrooms your home can have, and county setbacks limit the buildable space. This means that the house plan you found online won’t necessarily work with the lot you own. A home designer can create a set of house plans that work for your lot, instead of trying to make predesigned plans fit like a piece of the wrong puzzle.

But home design is about more than just the technical stuff. A major design consideration is how to take advantage of views or maintain privacy. This includes the natural landscape as well as being able to see your garden or your kids play in the yard from your kitchen window. Plus, you might not want to see your neighbor’s driveway from your master bedroom or maybe you don’t want your neighbors to see yours. These are the kinds of things a custom home designer thinks about and plans around that purchased online plans won’t account for.

Custom House Plans, Floor Plan

House Plans Communicate a Plan

The biggest issue we face when trying to build from web-based plans is that they are often incomplete. House plans are like a set of instructions for contractors. When they are missing critical details like door and window sizes, wall dimensions, etc., your builder has to add that information to the plans before beginning construction. Again, costing you additional time and money.

Speaking of communication, we should probably mention another advantage of hiring a custom home designer – built-in correspondence. As we mentioned earlier, you can go back and forth making revisions, but your designer can also explain the building process and why certain elements of a home should be in certain places. For example, putting bathrooms on top of each other on separate floors means the plumbing can be housed in one wall instead of two and give you the open-concept main floor you’re hoping for.

At Redwood Homes, we also include 3D modeling in your design cost, so that you can see how the finished product will actually look. You might like the layout in 2D, but when you see it in 3D your opinion can change. Our goal is to design homes our clients love before and after construction.


Pay for What You Really Want

Building your own home is a big financial investment, so you should get what you really want. Hiring a home designer ensures that you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for and ultimately saves you money. If you’re looking for quality design and excellent customer service, we hope you’ll consider Redwood Homes to design your dream home!

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