The Perfect Home Starts with The Perfect Plan

  • The Perfect Home Starts with the Perfect Plans

    By: Lori Walker Sartain

    One of the most important steps a consumer can take when it comes to building a new home is picking out the right house plans. Finding the right plan for you and your family may be a daunting task but trust me, it’s worth the time when you move in and everything about your home fits your family’s lifestyle.

    First, before starting to look at plans you must know about the lot or land you are going to build on. The house plan must be suitable for the location you are building on. The size of the lot is important, keep in mind areas for landscaping, a pool or easements will reduce the amount of space that you can use when building a new home. For example, if you want an L shaped garage you may need a corner lot. Two story homes don’t need as much space as a large ranch style home and you may not want to build a log cabin type of home in a city subdivision.

    Once you know how much space you have for your home on your lot , there are a few questions you need to ask yourself before choosing your plans.

    1. How many bedrooms do you want and need? Do you want a guest bedroom or living quarters?
    2. How many bathrooms are necessary for your family’s day to day needs? Do I want any half baths?
    3. Will you be working from home? If so, how much office space or a work area will you need?
    4. How often do you entertain? Do you entertain outdoors? Do you want a large kitchen or maybe an outdoor kitchen?
    5. Do you need extra parking?
    6. Do you want a formal room and a casual room?
    7. Do you want a formal dining room?
    8. Do you want a separate laundry room and if so, where do you want it located?
    9. Do you want to build eco-friendly? If so, do your homework on eco-friendly products. There are numerous products presently on the market including icf blocks(you will need to modify your plans for thicker walls if you build icf), tank-less hot water heaters, geo-thermal heating and cooling units and eco-friendly building materials.
    10. Do you want a fireplace?  If so, where?
    11. Do I want to build a low maintenance home? If so, you may consider looking at plans that use brick or a vinyl siding.
    12. Am I going to keep my furniture or buy new furniture? If you keep your old furniture you need to make sure you have ample space for your furniture and that it fits the style of the home.
    13. Do I want a 2-story or single story home?

    Next, think about the time you presently spend in certain rooms of your home and why. I love being in my kitchen and cooking so the focal point for my family gatherings is my kitchen. I have a large kitchen with an open den and it fits my needs perfectly. Others like to entertain in a family room with lots of roomy sofas and a fireplace. Write down your needs and look for plans that fulfill them.

    Also think about privacy. If you have children do you want your master bedroom close to their bedrooms or would you prefer being on the other side of the house? If you have a 2-story home do you want your bedroom on the first floor and children on the 2nd?

    Do you need privacy in a home office space area?

    What about neighbors and privacy? If privacy is important to you and you live in a busy neighborhood, you may consider an L or U shaped house.

    After you have asked yourself all of these questions, make notes and then start looking at plans that fit your needs.

    You may chose to consult with an Architect for personal plans.  If you do bring all your notes so your dream home can be created just for you.  You can also  shop online for plans from ecommerce sites like and

    Mark Wilkin, Director of Marketing for says blueprints online cost around $1000.

    I bought my new house plans online but beware of online plans and square footage. Online my plans said it was 4500 sq. feet but when I received them it had over 5500 sq. Make sure you don't just look at heated and cooled sq. feet garages and porches and patios add to the sq. footage and cost of your home. I hired a local design firm to modify my plans for a small fee. If you do buy plans on line, a few simple changes can turn someone else’s design into your dream home.


    Wilkin reminds consumers to make sure they can afford the square footage before you buy your plans. "A customized cost-to-build report is a worthwhile investment that takes into account materials and labor costs in your area as well as the grade of your cabinets, countertops, flooring and
    exterior material choices," says Wilkin.

    Once I received my final plans, it was several months before we started building. While the excitement almost overwhelmed me and I wanted to get started as soon as possible, it was also a great time to live in my new home before building. I would close my eyes and visualize the house and walk from one room to another. It was perfect. It took another 12 months before my home was complete but when I walked through the doors it immediately felt like home.

    Finding the Perfect Plan can give you the Perfect Home.