Finding and Buying House Plans

Once the health department approved our septic permit, we turned our attention to buying our house plans. We had already picked out a floor plan, but held off on buying the building plans until we found a suitable lot.

At the outset, we decided to base our house on a set of ready-to-build house plans. The alternative would have been designing it from the ground up with the help of an architect but, assuming we could find an existing design that we liked, that seemed unnecessarily costly and complex.

With so many good floor plans out there, we figured that we could find one that came close our desired layout. From there, it would just be a matter of customization. But where to start our search?

Ready, set, go…

There are tons (and tons!) of floor plans out there. Don’t believe me? Just look at all the house plan books and home design magazines on the market, not to mention all the websites offering similar things. The process of finding a suitable floor plan can thus be a bit overwhelming.

When we first started this process, we ran across a spec build based on the “Greywell” floor plan from Frank Betz Associates. We liked certain aspects of that floor plan, and many of the homes in our new neighborhood are based on Frank Betz designs, so that gave us a starting point.

We knew that we wanted a “master-on-main” layout (with the master suite on the main level), and that we wanted more space than we currently have. Beyond that, however, we were open-minded. We thus started sifting through floor plans looking for the best available option.

Within a day or so, my wife and I started comparing notes. Believe it or not, we had both narrowed in on the same floor plan. It’s called the “Glenmore,” and it’s basically a larger version of the Greywell. It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty darn close to what we both wanted.

Pulling the trigger

As we looked at the sketches online, we saw that we could make some fairly easy modifications — move an interior wall here, add a door there, etc. — to make it suit our needs. So it was settled. We’d go with a modified version of the Glenmore floor plan. But which elevation?

The Glenmore is actually offered with three different elevations, or external appearances, with the same basic interior layout. The (a), (b), and (c) elevations differed mainly in terms of the front porch (or lack thereof) and the use of a shed dormer vs. a hipped gable on the second floor.

We opted for the (b) elevation, which has a covered front porch with a shed dormer above. From there, it was just a matter of buying the plans. Believe it or not, the cheapest option (a 5-pack of blackline drawings w/a single use license) for the Glenmore (b) floor plan cost a whopping $1,270!!!

Add to that a $250 fee for getting the floor plan reversed (it was drawn with the garage on the left and we need the opposite) and $30 for shipping. Now we’re up to $1,550. Fortunately, I found a discount code for 10% off the base price, saving us $127 and resulting in a total of $1,423 for the plans.

Getting Started, Planning
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