Getting a Great Deal on Your Home Plans: Why Buy Direct?

Getting a Great Deal on Your Home Plans: Why Buy Direct?

It’s time for a new phone. You’ve compared different models to narrow down your choice. You’ve also narrowed your options for where to purchase it down to retail store, your cell phone service provider, or directly from the company. With all of them charging about the same price, where do you buy the phone?

It’s similar with house plans. From your extensive search you’ve fallen in love with a Design Basics’ home plan, and that plan may be available from select websites and first-rate lumberyards as well as directly from Design Basics. Pricing is similar, so where do you buy your plan?

Design Basics Low Price Guarantee is simple. If you do find a lower price on one of our home plans elsewhere, we’ll match it. See terms of the Low Price Guarantee.

Study Sets minimize your risk. You can order discounted study sets – the full construction drawings stamped “illegal to build – for estimating only” directly from Design Basics for most of the home plans we offer. Study Sets allow you to obtain all necessary bids and pricing to verify the home works for you. Plus, the money you pay for the Study Set is credited to you when you license that plan for construction. With most other plan sellers, you’ll be out the money you paid for your home plans, even if you can’t use them.

Exchanges available. When you buy your plan directly from Design Basics, if you find you can’t use that plan, you can exchange it for a different plan*. Most other plan sellers do not allow exchanges.

*Some limitations apply. Click for details.

Special offers. Design Basics’ exclusive Builder-CentricSM Preferred Builder Program offers savings on home plan licenses year round – never wait for a sale. Also, get Study Sets for just $100 per plan (up to five different plans per year), discounted marketing materials and digital plan books, plus many other benefits.  

Multi-Elevation Plan Sets. Available when ordering directly from Design Basics, plan sets offer builders additional exterior designs for a given floorplan, at considerable savings over licensing each of those plans individually.

Neighborhood in a Box®. Another Design Basics’ exclusive, Neighborhood in a Box bundles multiple plans and marketing materials into a turnkey, deeply-discounted package. Builders receive their choice of plans in both forward and right-reading reverse, the foundation and exterior wall framing of their choice, marketing materials, unlimited-build construction licenses, and more!

Builder Centric Logo

Don’t overpay for Design Basics’ home plans elsewhere – where you buy your Design Basics home plans matters! Beyond getting a great deal, there is yet another reason for choosing to buy your plans directly from Design Basics – a superior customer experience – which we discuss in our next blog post.

For more resources on thoughtful design and products:

Top 5 Online Home Plan Problems and Solutions – Problem #3: What about making changes to the plans?

Top 5 Online Home Plan Problems and Solutions – Problem #3: What about making changes to the plans?

You’ve found a home design online that could work – with some alterations. How can you best accomplish that? Most designers offering their home plans online will modify their plans based on your direction. They will usually provide you an estimate at no charge for the time frame and fees for the modifications. The plan’s original designer best understands the plan and the ramifications of your desired changes. Your desired changes may be so extensive that the designer may suggest that it would be a better idea to select a different plan or design a new custom home plan just for you.

A few design firms do not allow others to modify their plans, but most designers do allow changes to be made to their plans by other skilled professionals. If you are interested in having changes done locally, verify that the designer of the online plan you are interested in allows this.

The cost of changing a home plan will likely depend on the extent of the modifications you want to be made. The price you are quoted for plan alterations is based on the changes discussed. During the alterations process, should you identify further changes, expect that to add to the cost and time frame for modifying the plan. Additionally, if you will be having modifications done locally, your designer or drafting service will probably want the (more expensive) CAD file to make the changes to rather than starting with the non-editable PDF and having to completely redraw the home plan.

Design Basics license allows you to have changes made to our plans by others, however, you may no longer be eligible for plan technical support should there be questions, because we don’t know about the modifications made. Design Basics’ Plan Customization service goes beyond merely making your desired plan modifications. As we discuss the changes you would like, our designers may also identify related opportunities you’ve not considered made possible by the changes you seek. And, you retain full technical plan support throughout construction when you use our Plan Customization Service.

    Plan Customization Designer Tricia Baker discusses modifying home plans in this video

      The bottom line: Customizing an online home plan is like having a suit tailored.  It can be a much better “fit.” 

      In our next post, we examine problem #4 How do I know I’m dealing with a reputable firm?

      For more resources on thoughtful design and products:

      Exclusively Yours: Why Buy Direct?

      Exclusively Yours: Why Buy Direct?

      Design Basics values the relationships we have with select companies that also market our home plans. Quite simply, more people have the opportunity to consider our company’s designs when searching for a house plan. Which then begs the question, “Why buy directly from Design Basics?”

      A Better Home Plan

      As home buyer preferences and expectations evolve, home design evolves too. Design challenges and opportunities are addressed with new, innovative solutions, some of which later come to be recognized as the hot, “must-have” design trends. New home plans debut exclusively on our website for 12 months following their release.

      Service Exceeding Expectations

      The difference between a “good” home plan and the “perfect” home plan can be plan modifications tailored to your specific desires. When you choose to work with Design Basics, before or after you purchase your plan, you can talk directly with our Plan Alterations Designers about the changes you would like to make and how you want your home to live. With keen knowledge of our plans, our designers can propose the optimum solutions to achieve your goals – some you may not have thought of – while keeping an eye on both buildability and controlling costs.

      Home Builders also have access to professional plan-related marketing materials only when working directly with Design Basics. From presentation artwork of the home to customized flyers and yard signs, builders have come to appreciate that home design is an essential aspect of their company’s marketing efforts.

      Professional home builders further benefit from the availability of low-cost re-licensing of the plans they bought from Design Basics. To keep plan costs low, a license to build one home is included with the plan sent. Additional single-build licenses for that same are available exclusively from Design Basics for just $100. Or upgrade to an unlimited-build license for just $500 more!

      Design Basics Exclusives

      New Plans – EXCLUSIVELY on for 1 year.

      Trish Baker

      Trish Baker, Plan Alterations Designer

      Marketing Materials

      Sample 8.5”x11” flyer customized with builder logo and contact info

      We’ll look more at some of the other cost aspects in our next post.

      For more resources on thoughtful design and products:

      Top 5 Online Home Plan Problems and Solutions – Problem #2: Will I be able to build a home from the plans I receive?

      Top 5 Online Home Plan Problems and Solutions – Problem #2: Will I be able to build a home from the plans I receive?

      Building Codes. Designed to comply with local codes at the time they were designed, the home plans you see online usually are not warranted to comply with your specific code requirements. Residential building codes vary by jurisdiction and have evolved over time. Though efforts have been made to establish more uniform codes, you need to know what portion(s) of which specific codes have been adopted for where you will be building.

      It’s a good idea to check with your local building department to determine what is required of your home plans. Then talk with the company you would be ordering the plans from to find out if the plans include what your jurisdiction requires. Most, but not all, residential design companies will allow you to have modifications made locally, for compliance with local building codes. You may need to have home plans ordered from Design Basics modified locally to comply with your local codes and conditions. This is allowed under the license you receive, but not a service offered by Design Basics.

      Design Basics offers lower-cost “Dimensional Plan” versions of our plans for customers who must have the home plans redrawn locally to meet the specific building code requirements of their jurisdiction. The Dimensional Plan is a fully dimensioned CAD-file for your architect or drafting staff/service, saving considerable time over starting from scratch to re-draw the plan. Includes:

      • Design Basics’ federal Copyright and Construction License
      • Scale front, side, and rear elevations
      • Fully dimensioned ¼” scale floor plans
      • Fully dimensioned ¼” scale foundation plan
      • Roof plan (aerial pitches of the roof)
      • NO structural information is included.
        Dimensional Plan

        Some jurisdictions require an engineer’s stamp on home plans. Again, find out from your building department whether an engineer’s stamp is required on the plans for your home. Online home plans do not carry an engineer’s stamp, as that would likely have to be for a specific home site. As with building codes, most residential design companies will allow you to have any additional required engineering done locally and any corresponding modifications made to their plans. Sometimes this depends on the size of the home (e.g., an engineer’s stamp might be required on homes 4,000 sq. ft. and above.) While Design Basics home plans are engineered, they are not stamped. If you will be working with a local engineer, you may want to order a Dimensional plan (see above). If you need engineer-stamped plans and do not have a local engineer to work with, Design Basics can refer you to a 3rd party engineering firm to get this done. 

        Some jurisdictions require an architect’s seal on home plans. Though rarer (except in Nevada) your building department may require an architect’s seal on the home plans. Online home plans do not carry an architect’s seal, as that would likely have to be for a specific home site. Again, most residential design companies will allow you to have the plans re-drawn by your architect and remain in compliance with copyright law. Having your architect re-draw a home plan based on a Design Basics plan is allowed under Design Basics Construction License. You may want to order a Dimensional plan (see box above).

        The bottom line: Check with your local building department as to what’s required to be shown on home plans. Then you may want to contact the plan designer to discuss, in order to identify and arrange for any additional work that may be needed to build a home from the plans you order.

        In our next post, we examine problem #3 What about making changes to the plans?

        For more resources on thoughtful design and products:

        Top 5 Online Home Plan Problems and Solutions – Problem #1: The Quality of Home Plans Varies

        Top 5 Online Home Plan Problems and Solutions – Problem #1: The Quality of Home Plans Varies

        Good design, immediate delivery, and low price are the bases for the popularity of online home plans (as well as those appearing in printed publications.) Still, such plans aren’t necessarily the best choice for everyone.  Join us as we look at the top 5 problems and our solutions with these readily-available home plans.

        Problem #1. The Quality of Home Plans Varies. 

        What’s included in a set of construction drawings differs widely. At a minimum, a set of plans should include all four exterior elevations and floor plans drawn to scale, the foundation plans, and the roof plan. There will also be general notes and design criteria as well as an explanation of the abbreviations and symbols appearing on the plan. Most plans will include wall sections and stair sections to further explain the construction of these areas. Are the plans engineered? Is the electrical, HVAC, and plumbing shown on the plans? Design Basics home plans are engineered, based on our local (Omaha, Nebraska) requirements. Additional engineering may be necessary for your home based on your local requirements. Home plans from Design Basics include the suggested electrical layout but do not include a suggested plumbing layout, as that is typically determined by the builder and plumbing contractor.

        It’s natural to assume the accuracy of home plans, but this too differs. The level of the draftsperson’s education, training, and experience will vary, as do any review processes. Design Basics team averages more than 15 years each with the company, and our proven double-check review process greatly minimizes the likelihood of any errors. 

        The level of plan-related product availability varies, too. The house online has the garage on the left, but you need the plan “flipped” so that the garage is on the right. Is a right-reading reverse plan available? Sure, prints from the original design could be printed off “backward” showing the garage on the right, but all the lettering and numbers would read backward, too, leading to construction errors. What type of foundation (basement, crawl space, slab on grade) is included, and can you order a different one if needed? The plan was designed with 2x4-inch exterior wall framing – can you get it in 2x6-inch? Is an estimate of the materials needed available? Can you build the home more than once from the plans you receive? Most home plans from Design Basics offer those options. Most plans with a main floor bedroom and minimum 32-inch wide interior doors can also be ordered with no-step entries to welcome people of all abilities.

        Floor Plan Flipped

        Is the plan you want available “flipped”?  What exterior wall thickness is appropriate for your climate?

        Wall Framing

        The bottom line: Online home plans are not all created equal. If you haven’t purchased home plans from that designer previously, it would be wise to contact them with such questions.

        In our next post, we examine problem #2 Will I be able to build a home from the plans I receive?

        For more resources on thoughtful design and products:

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