“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” – Chinese Proverb
Are you thinking of building your home? There is something you are going to need whether you realize it or not, because every new home has to have one – a building plan. Did you know that you can pick and choose your own set of plans, quickly and easily, using the Internet?
Building plans are typically found in home magazines, but now you can go to a new site, Allplans.com, and find the largest database of home plans in the country. Boasting over 15,000 building plans, with over 24,000 more plans to be added over the next six months, Allplans offers home plans directly from the nation’s top home designers, the same designers and plans that the custom and volume builders use.
Picking your own plans assures that you and your builder will build the home you really want. If a builder buys a set of plans, he or she can use the same set of plans to build the same home dozens of times. The advantage for the builder to use the same plans over and over is that he or she can estimate and control costs more easily and repeat the best ways to finish out the plan’s idiosyncratic details. The advantage of using the builder’s plans is not as good for the home buyer.
When you choose from among your builder’s inventory of plans, you have less inventory from which to choose. You may also see your home again and again in the same subdivision or town. That could spoil the fun in owning a custom-built home, or a customized volume-builder home.
Using your own set of plans won’t cost you any more money as far as the builder is concerned, so there’s no reason not to pick out your own plans. “About 80 percent of home plans sold are to individuals,” says Ron Lester, marketing director for Allplans. “and 80 percent of those plans are sold to women. Women control the pocketbooks and they are also typically the design person of the family.”
Allplans.com is the brainchild of Bob Chatham, owner of Chatham Home planning in Mobile, Alabama. He and his staff realized over two years ago that there was a growing shift of buyers seeking information about new homes toward the Web. The company digitized the plans they already had on hand, and promoted the idea to other designers. The site has a partnership with the American Institute of Building Design’s (AIBD.) and offers home plan digitalization services to the organization’s 1,400 members. Allplans.com is now the go-to site for independent access to the top home designers in the country, which number approximately 6,000 nationwide.
Home plans are easy to search at Allplans.com. The inventory is not organized by designer but by the type of home, such as Colonial, Contemporary, Traditional, or Tudor; square footage; number of stories, and; number of bedrooms and bathrooms. The site guides you to homes of your interest level, and then if you find the plan of your dreams, you can buy it online. The plans are overnighted for next business day delivery.
Note: Before you buy home plans, be sure to show the plan you have in mind to your builder online, so you both can make sure that the plan suits your building site as well as the building specifications of the division or neighborhood where you will be living.