Stuck finding a house plan
We started looking to buy a home and in our area we are not finding what we need. We live in Utah, which seems to be a lower priced market, but the homes and plans that are popular with the national builders don't quite meet our needs, and I think a traditional custom build it just out of our price range. I'm hoping if I give all of the information here, I might be able to get some feedback about how I might be creative and resourceful in cutting costs one way or another to get what we want. Also, advice in general about where I can continue to research and how to learn more about reading floor plans and the hidden costs that can make them more or less expensive would really help me. This is what we are trying to build:
- master bed and bath on main floor
- kitchen and great room area
- main floor office and 1/2 guest bath
- 2 second floor bedrooms with a jack and jill bathroom we can adapt to meet the needs of my son
- 2nd floor loft area to serve as a playroom
- 2 car garage
- some kind of seasonal storage space, whether it be unfinished basement, attic, or garage space
We really aren't looking to build a castle - this is more about efficiency for our family than marble and custom cabinetry!
There are a couple national builders with current developments within our price range of 240-300k, but most of their plans aren't quite right.. All of them have plenty of square footage, but we have a child with special needs and we would need to make major modifications to accommodate his bathroom needs (it doesn't need to be wheelchair accessible, but it needs to be large enough for another person to help him, store his supplies, and because of all of the medical routines that he does in the bathroom both morning and night, he needs privacy, and my daughter needs her own separate vanity/sink area). My husband also works from home frequently, so we need a dedicated home office (it can be small but it must have a door : ) I'm pretty desperate for a separate play area for my kids to keep their toys out of our main living area, but we've been in a small townhouse for way too long so that desire may be coming from an emotional place and I might be able to sacrifice there.
What I've been reading is that while there are benefits to building with these national companies, especially as far as the ease involved with building and financing since we are first time builders and buyers, it can cost a lot more to make changes to their stock floor plans.
I do keep coming across home plans in various places that are closer to meeting our needs but they are consistently pricing around $30k more. I can't tell by looking what the cost difference is - vaulted ceilings or special decorative features? Is it really the overall square feet?
On paper we are financed for that amount, but looking at our budget we just can't do it. Our expenses aren't traditional so even though it seems like not much of a difference per month on paper, we will already be stretched if we go above 260k and are hoping to stay as close to the low end of our budget as possible.
Also, lots in our area are more expensive than the rest of the county (around $100k, leaving only $140-200 for building costs and excavation) so especially with the uncertainty of excavation and the cost that the developers save by buying the large parcels of land, I'm afraid we would pay more for a lot and would not be able to build as much if we tried to do a lower cost, traditional custom build.
So basically I'm stuck. I'm trying to learn as much as I possibly can about the practical side of building (lining up plumbing, etc) so I can become more educated about where to go next and evaluate plans better.
Anyway, thanks for letting me dump it all out there! I've learned a lot already reading here for a while, so I really appreciate any feedback and suggestions!