Frequently Asked Questions

Read these commonly asked questions from people just like you.

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General Questions

  1. What's included with your house plan order?
  2. How much will this house cost to build?
  3. What modifications can I make to a house plan?
  4. How do I choose right plan for my new home?
  5. How many sets of plans do I need to buy to build my house?
  6. Are your plans ready to submit to my building department for permitting?
  7. Can I view more photos of this house plan?
  8. How can I find a house in my area that has been built with a house plan from your site that I like?
  9. What is the difference between Right Reading Reverse and Mirror Reverse?
  10. What is a materials list and what does it include?
  11. Why are Signature plans more expensive?
  12. Why should I buy my plans from you?
  13. Why should I join the Houseplans Community?
  1. What's included with your house plan order?

    We have a created very nice page listing what you should expect with your order. Please click here.

  2. How much will this house cost to build?

    House construction costs are dependent on where the house is built, the level of finish (tile, trim, window quality, etc...) and the site.

    We can provide a “cost to build” estimate using the same software that many of the insurance companies use. Click here to read more about “cost to build.”

    When you have a specific plan selected, click on the “cost-to-build” button to get an estimate for that plan.

    Many banks will accept a plan set with a “cost to build” report to initiate a construction loan.

    To get an accurate estimate, purchase a set of plans and submit them to builders for bids.

    Houseplans Cost-to-Build reports are prepared using up-to-date data supplied by Xactware, Inc. an industry leader in estimating solutions and building cost information who has provided cost data and services since 1986.

    Click here to read more about our Cost-to-Build reports.

  3. What modifications can I make to a house plan?

    All stock house plans are modifiable. Some of the more commonly requested modifications are:

    • Eliminating windows, fireplaces, false dormers • Changing garages from a 2 to 3-car
    • Reconfiguring kitchen cabinets & appliances
    • Rearranging interior walls
    • Changing ceiling heights
    • Changing exterior surfaces (brick, siding, stucco)
    • Changing exterior wall framing (2x4 to 2x6)
    • Changing a foundation type
    • Changing a roof pitch
    • Relocating garage door openings / adding or eliminating bays • Changing garages entry location
    • Adding or eliminating a room (this would involve changes to all aspects of a plan--elevations, floor plans, roof, foundation & sections)
    • Stretching or reducing the square footage of a plan • Adding a bonus room

    Most modifications can be done by simply adjusting the existing plans. Other modifications require a more comprehensive re-design of the home.

    Modifications may cost $1,000 or more but represent a huge savings over creating a new plan from scratch.

    Total Square Footage only includes conditioned space and does not include garages, porches, bonus rooms, or decks.

  4. How do I choose right plan for my new home?
    1. Find a Plan that You Love

      Most searches begin with the square footage or the number of bedrooms that are desired. Since we have so many plans, it is usually necessary to further “filter” the search results. You can limit the results to an architectural style or or you can look at plans that have specific features. When you find a plan that you like click the “save” button so that you can find it easily later. If you find a great exterior and a different floor plan, give us a call we will look at adapting one of the plans to include the features of the other.

    2. Choose a House Plan That Suits Your Land

      Choose a plan that fits the characteristics of your land. It can be very expensive to haul in dirt or grade a lot to make it suitable for a plan. It's better to make the house fit the land rather than try to make the land fit the house. Also, the size and shape of your lot affects the type of home you can build on the lot.

    3. Be Open Minded

      It's important to be open-minded when looking at houses. By doing this, you'll learn things you never realized. Over time, your "ideal" home will evolve and change. If you're like most people, you'll probably buy a home that is different from what you thought you wanted. Don't quickly discard houses. You will have a better understanding of what you want by taking a close look at many houses.

    4. Exteriors Are Easy to Change

      Some people will only look at a house if they like its appearance. However, usually the house's exterior can easily be changed. The changes to an exterior can be so dramatic that you won't realize you are looking at the same house. To change the exterior, you can use different windows, modify rooflines, and change exterior details. Don't judge a home by its appearance. It's the inside that really counts. After all, you'll spend 90% of your time on the inside of your home.

    5. Your “Perfect” Home May Not Exist

      Some people spend years searching for the perfect home. Ask yourself what are features you must have and what are features you want to have. When you find a house that meets your requirements, it may not have all of your wants. Often we can work with you to close the gap.

    6. Blueprints Can Be Changed

      Almost everyone who buys stock blueprints changes them. Try to find something close to what you want and make changes to suit your needs. Common changes include doing a mirror reversal of the plan, moving walls, changing the location of the garage door (to make the garage a side garage or a front garage), and changing the size of the garage (such as lengthening a 2-car garage into a 3-car garage). You can also usually add features to a home. For example, most home plans can have a fireplace added.

    7. Square Footage May Change

      If you use a stock plan, you will probably make changes to the floor plan. Changes to a plan often increase or decrease the size of the house. Because of this, you should also look at plans that are smaller and larger than what you think you want. After changes are made, the plan may be close to the size you desire.

      Total Square Footage only includes conditioned space and does not include garages, porches, bonus rooms, or decks.

  5. How many sets of plans do I need to buy to build my house?

    You should keep a full set for your records plus enough plan sets for your builder and contractors, lending institution, and building department. A quick trip to your local building department or to their website will tell you how many copies they will need. Contractors and subcontractors will all need copies of the plan to create a bid. It is increasingly popular to buy the electronic “PDF” version of plans because you can take or send the file to your local print shop whenever you need another copy.

  6. Are your plans ready to submit to my building department for permitting?

    Every county is different. Our plans contain enough information to build a home, but they may not include all of the information that your local authority requires. Prior to application for a building permit or the start of actual construction, we strongly advise that you consult your local building official to verify what you will need to submit for your building permit.

    Houseplans represents hundreds of designers, each with their own standards for plans. Look in the “Plan Content Section” on each individual plan page to see what is included with that particular plan.

  7. Can I view more photos of this house plan?

    We are constantly requesting photographs from our Customers and Designers and we do upload many new photos every week. If the plan you like does not have photos displayed, it is likely we have not been able to get photographs yet. Please contact us and we will attempt to obtain additional photos for you.

  8. How can I find a house in my area that has been built with a house plan from your site that I like?

    This is a very common question, however due to our Privacy Policy, we do not release this information to protect the privacy of our customers. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

  9. What is the difference between Right Reading Reverse and Mirror Reverse?

    A mirror-reversed set is a printed copy of your house, resulting in the same image you would see if you held the drawing up to a mirror. Everything, including the text, is backward in relation to the original design. These kinds of drawing are typically used to reorient an original plan more advantageously on a site, either because the homeowner prefers it that way or because of limitations of the site itself. A Right Reading Reverse set is a True Reverse of the plan. The plans will be mirrored and text and dimensions are updated so they are not backwards. Not all our designers offer this option. However, you can always obtain a mirror-reverse version if right reading reverse is not available.

    Note: Mirror reverse sets are only available with a 5 copy or 8 copy set. With a Reproducible, PDF, or CAD set, you can print mirrored copies locally.

  10. What is a materials list and what does it include?

    A material list is a list of building supplies needed to construct the infrastructure of your new house and includes materials such as lumber, insulation, rafters, concrete, and hardware. However, it usually doesn't include hardware for lighting, heating, electrical, or plumbing.

    Many of our house plans have a material list available from the original designer or Architect. If a material list is available, it can be selected during the order process under "Additional Options." If a material list is not available, please contact us at 1-800-913-2350. We can create a material list for any of our plans.

  11. Why are Signature plans more expensive?

    Building a home from one of our signature plans allows you to access first class designs by extensively trained and experienced Architects and Designers, at a fraction of the cost of hiring them to create a custom home for you. Each of our signature plans was created, refined, and tweaked over hundreds, if not thousands of hours, resulting in a collection of homes by award winning architects and designers from around the world. Browsing our signature collection, you’ll find homes by architect and best selling Not So Big House author Sarah Susanka; popular Katrina Cottage designer Marianne Cusato; Fine Homebuilding award winning architect Nir Pearlson; Australian architect Leon Meyer, and many others.

  12. Why should I buy my plans from you?
    1. You can achieve cost savings of up to 90% over custom house plans. It may take hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to design a home from scratch. A ready-made plan saves you time and money - and can be modified to suit your needs.

    2. Many pre-drawn plans have been previously built, and most have had the construction problems resolved. This translates into far fewer design headaches and reduced labor costs for you at the time of building your plan.

    3. When working with a ready-made house plan, final cost estimates are more accurate because details, such as generating a materials list (check availability), are already taken into account. Savvy customers dedicate most of their budget towards high-quality building materials and home amenities, instead of losing the bulk of their budget to engage an expensive architect to design, re-design, and prepare working drawings for contractor bids - only to learn that the cost of building the house exceeds their budget.

    4. Ready-made house plans have the same high-quality design specs as custom plans, because many plans were originally created as custom plans by skilled architects and home designers.

    5. Speedy delivery of your plans - within a few days, instead of a few months, you'll have your construction documents in hand.

    6. The largest selection of quality plans in one place ensures you'll find the perfect design to match your ideal house. At Houseplans you can browse nearly 40,000 plans in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

    7. Whichever your decision - stock or custom - the right house plan is waiting for you!

  13. Why should I join the Houseplans Community?

    We help you find a "ready-made" plan that fits your needs and provide all the architectural resources and advice you need to build, whether you're ready to break ground tomorrow or are just beginning your journey to a new home. Houseplans offers tens of thousands of home, cottage, garage plans and more, many from world-renowned architects, making the once-expensive, and complex process of designing or renovating your home simple and affordable. Our plans are functional and customizable and our service will guide you through the home design process, so that you, too, can have the home of your dreams.

    • Search the largest inventory of home plans and floor plans available for purchase. We've made it simple to navigate through nearly 40,000 plans categorized by architectural style, house size, room specifics, your construction budget and other characteristics.

    • Save the plans that interest you to gather ideas, communicate with your builder or to refine your idea of what will make your new house great.

    • Customize any plan to suit your site, budget or any other criteria. Mix and match elements from different plans -- a kitchen from one plan and a master bathroom from another. Then work with our Plan Customization service to modify a plan in a matter of days, so your final design works for you.

    Founded in 2004, Houseplans has the largest online database of ready- made house blueprints. Thousands of homes have been built, remodeled or renovated using plans from Houseplans. Top architects and designers from around the world continually submit new plans to Houseplans and millions of people visit the site every year to browse kitchen and bath designs, start renovations or find the blueprint for their dream home.