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Why Buy Stock House Plans Vs. Custom?

By Kevin Carden Published 06/4/2007 | Home Improvement

When a person begins the process of building a new house, there are many different aspects that need to be addressed including: where to build, what size home to build, what features to include, what items are the most important to have in the home, what costs should be included in the budget, what are the design/build timeframes, who will build the home, and a host of other issues.

After these initial questions have been successfully answered, the next item that must be addressed is that of house plans. There are two basic types of house plans that can be purchased, custom or stock, with each having distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Custom Houseplans

Custom house plans are just as the name implies. The house plans are custom drawn to meet you family's specific needs. The plans are normally drawn by a licensed building designer or, in some cases, a licensed architect in a geographic location close to where the 1.) owners live, or 2.) home will be built. The process is, normally, much more involved and time-consuming since the owner's specific requests will need to be integrated into the overall design of the home. Many times these type "special" requests can present significant challenges to the designer of the home, which as a result, may take additional time to resolve.

Since the home is being custom designed, specifically to meet the needs of that one person/family, the costs associated with the development of the house plans tend to be significantly larger than those for a similar set of stock house plans. However, in some cases, the custom house plan may be the only viable option based on the client's needs, home location, special building considerations, etc.

Advantages:

- Homeowner can get exactly what they want in home design

- Special needs can be addressed in the design (i.e. extra large garage for boat, larger than normal master bath, handicapped access, etc.)

Disadvantages:

- Significantly more costly than stock houseplans

- Longer, more arduous process to develop

- Significantly more time consuming to produce (i.e. many meetings necessary with designer over several month period)

Stock Houseplans

Stock house plans are, by contrast, home designs which have been developed to fit the needs of a particular group of the general populace. They are not custom designed for a particular person, but rather, standardized for the needs of a larger group.

Stock homeplans normally include the "most requested" features including square footage, room dimensions, floorplan layout, amenities, and other like features. These house plans provide an excellent value when compared to the corresponding price of a set of fully custom house plans which may exceed several thousand dollars.

When you buy a stock house plan, you're not paying for the countless hours spent drawing up a plan, re-working the plan, and finalizing drafts. You're paying a reduced fee for a single re-use of that plan.

Advantages:

- Significantly less expensive

- Minor plan modifications can usually be made by the original designer or a local designer for a minimal charge.

- Very simple and quick purchase process

- Can submit the plans for a building permit the day after receiving

Disadvantages:

-Not as extensively customizable

In conclusion, I would recommend trying to find a stock house plan, first, at a reputable online house plan broker website such as House Plan Central.com. There are thousands of stock house plans available online, and House Plan Central.com offers a huge selection of unique house plans in many different architectural styles.

More likely than not, you'll be able to find what you're looking for by doing a simple search. With so many plans available to choose from, it's a safe bet that you won't see your house plan replicated in your area. And if you find a plan you like, but want to make a few modifications - no problem! Most of the plans available at House Plan Central.com can be modified to your specifications.

Determining whether your particular needs merit custom or stock house plans is, ultimately, a personal choice based on your particular situation. Both types will provide you with the information that you need to successfully build your dream home.

By Mark Mathis