House plans … what fun! People love pouring over one after another. And this kind of research can be helpful. But, be careful. Let me share a short story. Some time back I was working a Home Show, talking with thousands of people, and a woman who was scrutinizing several house plans I had on display approached me.
I started the conversation. “Thinking of building a home?” I asked. “Yes!” was her answer. Normally this would signify an eager prospect, so I asked, “Do you own a piece of land?” Her answer … another “yes!” Carrying the conversation a little further, I learned that she had been seriously looking for her dream house plan for years and when she found the one she liked, she was going to buy it! Some warning bells went off inside my head.
Don’t waste months or years making inaccurate assumptions.
The danger this woman was facing was that she was following a path that would lead to disappointment, time delays and wasted money. Knowing where she was intending to build, I could foresee the dead ends and aggravations she was heading towards. She was wasting time and, potentially, some money. She hadn’t done some important research.
Once you own your land and are ready to build, it’s time to get serious. It’s time to do a little research, heeding these CAUTIONS and taking these ACTIONS:
CAUTION: There may be building restrictions imposed by the city, county, local building department or the subdivision/community. These are often called CC&Rs or Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. These can have a huge impact on what and how you build.
ACTION: Simply get a copy of these by calling your local building authority and your Homeowners Association and read up!
CAUTION: Your building parcel may be in a flood zone, earthquake zone, high wind area, or have snow-load requirements, etc.
ACTION: Check with your local building department, a structural engineer, and/or architect to find out the codes and requirements.
CAUTION: There may be a law that states that your home plans cannot be drawn or created by anyone who is not in your state, province, or county.
ACTION: If this is the case, you may have to have a local architect or residential designer draft your house plans or you’ll need to purchase pre-drawn plans from a local designer.
CAUTION: Some home plan companies do not allow changes to their plans without substantial extra costs. This can come as a surprise and run up the bill.
ACTION: Always find out if they will let you make changes. Also, determine the costs for having them make changes. Check with local architects to find one willing to alter another’s plans. Some will not do this even if it’s allowed by the plan company.
The worst case scenario might be that the plans you buy may be useless and you wasted several hundred (or thousands) of dollars and the time you spent. I’ve known this to happen to people when they didn’t do their homework first. The dream is dashed. It can be devastating.
There can be more potential dangers but as you can see, most of the problems can be avoided by just becoming familiar with your CC&Rs and talking with your local building authorities who are normally extremely helpful. Personally, I don’t like to waste time or money and I’m sure you’re the same. Do a little research. To really get that dream plan, you must learn as much as you can.
You can learn so much more about home building and remodeling online. One great option is to take advantage of a very informative yet simple to follow *free* e-course that you can find by clicking here http://www.DreamHomeCreation.com You will also find other tips and tools, surveys, videos, and additional articles by Mel Inglima.
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