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Purchasing plans online


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Bryan's Forum Posts: 12
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By Bryan in Reynoldsburg, OH on 11/3/2004


I found plans that I like online at homeplans.com. They want approximately $2,000 with the minor changes I requested but that does not include material list, plumbing etc. Has anyone purchased plans from them before? Is it worth trying to negotiate the cost of plans?
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By Jon in Olathe, KS on 11/3/2004


Bryan-

We purchased plans from globalhouseplans online. We paid $425 + $25 shipping. I  found that we need to get the plans up to local code and do some minor changes. This will cost us $1,200-$1,400. That's a lot better than the first draftsman I saw; he wanted $2,900. I do have another appointment to see an architect at the end of the week. 

It seems as though all internet plans are basic. Most need fine-tuning, (if you have local codes).

There are several threads regarding online house plans. Try doing a search; they were helpful to me.


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By David in Pensacola, FL on 11/23/2004


My wife and I have also been eying some plans from Homeplans.com. I have been reading a lot of negative stories about buying houseplans online. Is this a good strategy? How do you protect yourself from having to pay lots of $$$ again to bring it up to local codes? How can you determine that before purchasing the plans?

Thanks for any advice...

David

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By Jon in Olathe, KS on 11/23/2004


If you find a plan that you are happy with and wouldn't want to make any major changes to, just buy the single plan. You should check to see what codes your house needs to satisfy, then take them to a draftsman or an architect to be stamped. 

Since my last post, I found a draftsman to make all my changes and get my structural stamp for around $1,200, making my overall investment right at $1,650. I feel that the plan I bought really saved us money, as for the most part the plan is what we wanted, about 90%. (Except for moving an outside wall out another 4 ft., which allowed us to improve the upper story.)

We're looking forward to getting those plans back so we can begin getting bids!

Good luck.


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By John in Chapel Hill, NC on 11/23/2004


We purchased our house plans online at livingconcepts.com We still need to get the plans stamped but we found exactly the house we were looking for. If we were to have these plans drawn from scratch the cost would have easily been 10 times as much. 
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By Tasha in Wilsonville, OR on 12/6/2004


Hello!

I have been looking at home plans online as well. Because I've read many threads about needing an architect's stamp for your own state, I sent an email directly to the company. For roughly an additional $500, some companies will provide an architectural stamp for your state. My guess is that some companies are large enough and receiving this request often enough that they may have contacts in each state. I recommend checking with the company to see if they have the capability to do this. I really enjoy dreamhomesource.com. They also have houses already approved by state listed on the right-hand side of their home page. 

Good luck!

Tasha


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By John in Erie, CO on 12/6/2004


See my post in another thread about drawing your own plans -

These plans won't include specific engineering for soils, excessive wind/snow. They may not come with electrical sheets. Plan on spending quite a bit of money on engineering/stamps, even if an architect stamps it, depending on your area. A plan company cannot provide an engineered foundation - the foundation design has to be done to exactly match your soils and lot.

If you are in an area with few engineering requirements, it might be the way to go.

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By Joe in Elkhart, IN on 12/13/2004


There is a third, and for us a better, alternative:

Go to the local home shows (Parade of Homes, Panarama, etc.). Find a house you like. Contact the builder and ask for the architect. Buy the plans from the architect at a savings (he has already done the work). Doing it this way cost me $800 for a super 3,000 sf ranch with a walkout. Things she loves about it:

Basement entrance through garage, through the house, and through the walkout, cathedral ceilings, kids' bedrooms on opposite side of the house from ours, open kitchen. Clawfoot tub and Pittsburgh Corning glass block 6' walk-in shower in master bathroom.


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By Bobbi on 12/21/2004


I've been looking for plans online, but find very few one-story bungalow/cottage-type houses between 1,500 and 1,750 sq. ft.  I'm motivated, though, because out here we don't have major codes. Also, when we built 9 years ago, it cost us around $10,000 for plans, and we certainly don't want to do that again!

Bobbi C.

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By Dennis in AK on 12/21/2004


I purchased a set of plans from Homeplans.com. VERY VERY basic set, you could have just printed the floorplan/layout and got the same details. It was not a very well laid out plan. I now have some roof issues, since I don't think the plan was done by an architect. In the future I think I will work with someone local who designs houses so I can get a complete set that is well designed am able to get questions answered during the building process.

Dennis


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By Bobbi on 12/21/2004


That's good to know; I'll avoid them! I looked at the plan books at Home Depot today, but they were all much larger houses than we want to build this time around. Our current house is around 3,000 sq. ft. and that's a little bit too much for just two of us. I designed this house from scratch, but we can't afford those architect fees this time.

Bobbi C.
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By Mark in Los Angeles, CA on 12/22/2004


FWIW, the way we did it was as follows:

1.  We found a model home that we liked and could live with.

2.  We measured all of the rooms.

3.  We got the floorplans and sales brochure showing the elevations.

4.  We found a designer/draftsman that would do drawings, provide BOM's, bring it up to code, shepherd it through the permitting process and do a plot plan for us.

5.  He's doing all of this for just over $5K.

The plans I have seen thus far are excellent. I may be paying more than many of you would like to pay, but I am more comfortable in doing so because of all the value-added services he is providing.

We expect to take the plans to the permitting process in the next couple of weeks. I expect it to go smoothly and he will be there every step of the way. Lots less stress.

Good luck.


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By Ralph in Fort Collins, CO on 1/3/2005


Hi Bobbi,

We are planning a bungalow home also. Take a look at thebungalowcompany.com. Some great plans that might meet your needs.


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By Bobbi on 1/3/2005


Hi Ralph,

Thanks so much for posting that link! I already see a few that might suit us. The problem with most of the others I've seen is that they are either too large, or don't have space for a mud room/pantry or storage for the hot water heater or HVAC unit. These seem to be better in that regard. They do seem a bit pricey for online plans, though, but if we can find one that's perfect, then we won't have to pay someone else to change them for us. Good luck on your new house project!

Bobbi C.
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