From Bare Land To Dream Home – Chap 2 House Plan
Starting with a vision of your house plan
At first glance, hiring a house plan designer first makes sense.
It feels comfortable to know exactly what home you want to build before you go after financing and a builder.
If you don’t understand how designers work or know what to look for, though, you could wind up spending tens of thousands more than you planned. Or you could end up frustrated and back at square one.
Look beyond the pretty picture
A lot of house plan designer have a book of plans, a portfolio that they’ll start you off with. They want to sell you one of these plans because they’ve already done the hard work on them. This portfolio always includes a lot of beautiful pictures, and it’s really easy to buy into the picture. But what you really need to buy into is your budget.
That home in the picture could require any number of unique, non-standard items that will push your budget over the limit.
Every time you draw a line on paper, it costs money
If you start a design from scratch with a vision in mind, it’s easy to get carried away. Many designers will be more than happy to add and add to a design. Elements however does in-house design, this mean that design and construction go hand and hand.
If Elements does not design your house plan it’s up to you to constrain a designer to that budget. It’s not an easy task, especially when you start to fall in love with what you’ve come up with.
How will you know the beautiful design you’ve helped create will fall within your budget? How would the designer know—he or she is a designer, not a builder, right?
Don’t get “under the gas” with a home plan design
The greatest risk that you face is falling in love with a design that you think you can afford, but turns out you can’t. Desperate to make that dream a reality, you go from builder to builder until you get the “yes” that you want.
You’re letting emotion get the best of you, and you’re falling into the trap of making a decision based on “price” alone.
Why is “price” in quotes? There’s more to overall cost than “price”!
What often happens in this scenario is that you come across a cost-plus builder, perhaps one that’s badly in need of work, who is more than ready to say yes to your design. Remember, that builder is saying yes to your design, not to your budget. Construction starts, and suddenly there’s not enough money for several parts of the design.
Before you know it, you’re $20,000 over-budget and you’re faced with a banker who has to decide whether or not to loan you the money needed to cover the extra work. That scenario sometimes ends with you staring at a half-built house that you can’t afford to finish.
At that point, you’re stuck. What are you going to do? Fire the builder because he gave you an unrealistic idea of your cost up front? How much more do you think it will cost to finish a house someone else started?
Don’t let a beautiful design get the best of you.
Choose a house plan designer that cares about your budget
If you feel that you have to choose a house plan designer first, choose one that understands the cost of building. A designer like this will know when the budget is being stretched, and will be able to compromise in order to get you a look that you really want that you can actually afford.
If you need some guidance on what to look for in a house plan designer, download my free guide on choosing a house plan designer.