Buying House Plans Online…the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

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From cars to jewelry to pets, it seems like there’s nothing that can’t be bought or sold on the internet.  It shouldn’t be that surprising to hear that house plans are easily accessible online for purchase.  There are plenty of things that can but shouldn’t got to together (carpets and bathrooms, anyone?) so we decided to dive deeper into the subject to weigh the pros & cons.

The Good:

One of the biggest arguments for purchasing online plans is cost.  Hiring an architect can significantly add to an already tight budget.  Online plans allow you to save on this expense since the home you’re building isn’t being custom tailored to you.

When buying plans online, it’s highly likely that you’ll be able to see both the blueprints and shots of a home’s interior and exterior.  This can be a huge benefit to those that need to see something in order to visualize it.

You aren’t the first person building this home so inaccuracies in design are unlikely.

The Bad:

If it’s a custom home that you seek, online plans are very unlikely to give you what you want.  After all, your house is the exact replica of hundreds of others.

A local architect can draw up plans that ensure building codes are met.  There is no guarantee with this online because building codes vary state to state and modifications to plans may need to be introduced to the design in order for it to pass inspection.  Additionally, online plans come with proposed placement of electrical and plumbing fixtures, but an electrician and plumber will still need to approve these suggestions in order to ensure that code is met.

The Ugly:

As we mentioned, hiring an architect isn’t cheap.  However, having an architect ensures that you’ve got someone working hand in hand with the contractor to make sure that the plans get built exactly as intended.  Without a supervising architect, if your builder has questions on your plans or takes liberties with design, it’s unlikely the home owner will notice in time to correct the mistake and it still may cost thousands of dollars to fix.

While online plans are cheaper than hiring an architect, if you purchase plans that don’t fit the plot of land you purchased, you can be forced to scrap them and start over.

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