Efficient Open Floor Plan Suggestions

Whitney_CMay 15, 2012

Hi, My husband and I are just beginning the process of building a new home. Where do you guys get your house plans? We have scoured the internet and some books but haven't found the perfect one yet. We are looking for something maybe around 1700 sqft. Nothing huge but something with a nice master bedroom/bath with shower and tub/walk in closet and 2 additional bedrooms. I would also like a pantry and a laundry room with a sink. We want one level with an unfinished basement. We're building in North Carolina (if that matters) - also wondering what people are paying these days to build in NC. Thanks!

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We got ours from sunplans.com - we did an adapt-a-plan. Hopefully we'll start digging in the next week or two. We love our plan, and Debbie has been amazing to work with. No regrets.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 8:49AM
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Some people find plans on the internet or in plan books. Some folks find a builder they like and then just choose one of the builder's plans. Some people hire an architect to design a custom plan just for them. A few of us spend uncounted hours designing our own homes.

It all depends on what you want, how much money you're willing to spend, and/or how much time/effort you're willing to spend educating yourself, and/or how much you want/need an expert to guide you through the entire process.

As for prices to build, everyone asks that question and nobody ever gets what feels like a satisfactory answer. The truth is, there are just too many variables for any answer you get - other than a bid price based on building a specific floor plan on a specified lot - to be anything more than the grossest of ball-park guesstimates.

Even narrowing down your request to "cost to build in NC" doesn't help. NC is a very big state with a highly varied geography and huge demographic and cost-of-living differences from one county to another. I can easily imagine that the price of building the exact same house could easily vary by 75% or more depending on whether you were talking about building it in the middle of the Research Triangle Park area, in the mountains around Asheville, along the Outer Banks somewhere, or down on an old tobacco farm in the Bladen Lakes region. And I'm not just talking about higher land values in some areas than others. Because cost-of-living is so different in some places than in others, labor prices will vary significantly. You would, for example, probably pay a whole lot more for a plumber to come out and lay your plumbing lines if you were building in Chapel Hill than you would if you were building in, say, Lumberton.

Wish I could give you a better answer. I know it frustrated me no end that I couldn't get a reasonable idea of what it would cost to build until after I'd already committed a heck of a lot of money towards building. Unfortunately, that is just the way the process works. You can try an online building cost calculator like the one in the link below - but I found it to underestimate the cost of building my home buy more than 40%.

However, if you're looking for a builder and happen to be planning to build in southeastern NC, I have an uncle that builds homes around that area and I can vouch for his integrity and for the beauty of his work. I'm in Texas so I couldn't get him to build my home for me but, when I go to visit, I'll often go round with him to see the houses he is working on. I've seen enough of his work to judge its quality for myself. And, I've met enough of his customers to know that they all consider him an honest, reliable businessman. Email me offline if you're interested in getting his name or more info. (Just click on the MY PAGE link after my name and that will take you to a page with a link that says "email me".)

Here is a link that might be useful: Online building cost estimator

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 1:41PM
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We toured model homes until we found one that felt like "home." Then our builder coordinated with the model home's builder to get the original plans, and then we sat down with our builder to make modifications to the existing plan. We're still wanting to do more tweaking, but it's close.

We toured about 75 model homes in Minneapolis and 25 in Phoenix before we finally found "the one."

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 3:13PM
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alliegator - do you mind saying how much your plan cost? It seems you need to know ahead of time that you definitely want one of their plans before starting the process. Can any contractor build one of these homes?

bevangel - you make great points. Thanks for the info. about the cost estimators. I just want to avoid buying a plan that ultimately will be out of our price range when we go for bids. We'll probably just talk to some contractors and see some things they have already built and start from there I suppose.

Thanks for your thoughts everyone.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 10:01PM
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