Once you’ve decided you want a new house, choosing to build a custom home is often the way to create a living space that matches your desires and needs.

If you’re building a custom home, you will most likely go down one of two paths:

1) find a house plan that is similar to your vision, but which can be modified to suit your specific needs, or

2) consult a builder and an architect to draw up a design based on your vision for a home and your budget.

Finding an existing house plan is perfect if you are still exploring what you want in your new home. Often times, looking at plans can help you to define what it is you hope to get in your home.  Of course, if you have specific ideas already in mind, and/or you’re looking for a ground-breaking home, bringing an architect onto the design team to develop an entirely unique creation can be a rewarding experience.

Choosing a plan may seem daunting at first—an online search for house plans can yield results for hundreds of architect firms, all of which have thousands of available plans.

So, how do you cut through the noise and find the right house plan? I’ve put together a few pointers to help you through this first step en route to your new home.

Consider the house styles you like.

There are many common styles to choose from, and you can find examples of these styles on our website or online. Why not have a look at Frank Betz’s work or Don Gardner’s site for plans and styles?

Think about what you’ll want in 10-15 years.

If you’re thinking about enjoying your retirement in this home, features to look for may include a single-level house or a design that places the master bedroom, bathroom and main living spaces on one level. Other design features to consider include stepless access and other aging-in-place elements.

Look at your plot of land.

Consider how the design would work within your land. Would the design be too narrow for your land, too wide, or is it perfect for the landscape? Does your land have a good view? Make sure you choose a design that would allow you to enjoy the landscape from within your home. Is your plot of land on a mountain or hillside? If so, you could consider a plan with a walk-out basement.

Consider what you love and hate about your current home.

Use your own experience, and look for designs that reproduce house features that work for you. Or, try different design features in areas of your current home that you wish to be improved.

How green and energy efficient do you want your house to be?

Green features will sometimes cost more upfront, but they often lead to cost-savings over time. The most cost-effective way to green a home is during the building process as this limits expenses on future work to replace existing features.

If you can jot down some of your thoughts on these ideas, you’ll be in a great place not only to develop your house plan, but for obtaining an estimate within your budget and starting your home building process. Want more help finding the right plan? Contact us.