Following is a list of things you should consider before choosing a house plan. These are basic issues that can help you to avoid unpleasant surprises and ensure that the house plan you choose will meet your needs.
It is best to have a site before buying a plan so that you know for sure that the house will fit on the site. This way there are no unwanted surprises – and it also gives you the best chance for your house to be optimized and work well with your site. There are many types of sites, including subdivision lots, zero-lot line lots, narrow lots, wide lots and acreage. The scale of your house should be appropriate to the size and location of your site.
One of the first things you should do is figure out the buildable area available on your site. To determine the buildable area, you need a copy of the subdivision plat or a survey of your property. Locate the property lines and their lengths. Now find the easements, the servitudes and the set-backs. Easements and servitudes are typically enforced by utility companies and/or municipalities. Easements are designated places where utilities such as electricity, water, sewage, gas or phone/television/internet can run without interruption and be accessible for repairs and upkeep. Servitudes such as for drainage are enforced to have access to drainage routes so they can be repaired and maintained. Set-backs at the front, sides and rear of your site can be enforced by both your city's zoning department and building permit department. However, set-backs can be further restrictive as imposed by a subdivision's covenants. Once you have identified these on your site, you will then know the buildable area of your site.
Important aspects of your site include solar orientation (where the sun rises and sets) and identifying any views you want to work with. This may influence whether or not to use a mirrored plan. Another aspect of the site that you should consider is how you approach the lot. This, too, can influence whether you use a mirrored plan. It is better to approach the house seeing the front door first rather than seeing the garage or service area.
Another very important consideration before you buy a plan is your furniture layout and whether or not it will work with the plan you are interested in. Take measurements of the rooms you live in now and compare these to the room sizes of the plan you want to buy. Also, take into consideration the traffic flow and how this affects the furniture placement.
The garage is often overlooked. Make sure it is large enough to accommodate the vehicles you drive. Measure your current garage, taking note of how your vehicle fits, and then compare that to garage dimensions on the floor plan.