How to Find the Perfect Floor Plan

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{all floor plans can be found on my design HOME EXTERIORS Pinterest Board}



Well, it’s official.


Our little french country cottage {okay 1992 rambler} is on the market.



We put a lot of sweat, blood, and tears into making this house go from this….




to this….




The before picture is from the MLS listing before we bought it. The after photo is one we snapped recently for our online listing five years after buying it. I cannot believe the transformation.


I’m actually really sad to part with this house.


Do you ever do that?


You are ready to move on, but yet still holding on to what you currently have because you know how hard you’ve worked to get there.  That’s me. I so desperately wish we could make this house work but with our growing family {baby #2 on the way}, we are ready for a bit bigger home that has ample storage space, a bigger yard, and a 3 car garage.


After doing some soul searching and really figuring out what our family goals where and what kind of lifestyle we want to have {this is where we created a dream or vision board…AKA I designed a photo that is now our computers desktop}, and much praying, we decided that building our next home would be the right decision.


Ok, now what?


Well, we then talked to a builder, began searching for a piece of land, and starting researching floor plans.




Now, you might think that finding a floor plan is a piece of cake. Well, that’s what I thought any ways. WOW! Was I in for a shock! We searched through thousands, and I literally mean THOUSANDS of house plans and it just didn’t feel like any of them were “us.”


What’s a girl to do?


Well, I am not going to let you make the same mistakes that we did when we first started our search {before we got serious}, so today, I am going to share with you some simple tips on finding the perfect floor plan.





1. Make a list of your resources.  I just pulled up a Word document on our computer and begin typing what we wanted on the exterior and interior room by room. This also included starred items that were our must haves.


parade of homes SLC utah


2. Compile your resources. Begin searching for areas you want to live, what kind of materials you want in your home, how do you want the garage, do you want a mudroom, a bonus room, a pool? Start searching for ideas and inspiration and keep a file of them or an online Pinboard like me.


3. Talk to a builder. Often times people wait until the very last minute to find a builder or so I’ve heard and I think it’s important to find who you want to work with up front. You are the interviewer here and determining who you want to work for you to build your home. Be confident, firm, yet willing to negotiate on pricing and terms to meet you and your families needs.


4. Find a lot {or maybe you already have one…then you are ahead of the game} and put an offer on it. You want to get this piece of land before it’s gone, especially in highly sought after neighborhoods or areas. Take it from us, we waited over 2 years to finally purchase our lot and by the time we did, sadly a lot of the areas we wanted to live in were already taken. It was a bummer but in the end we found a great lot that is in a great area with a country feel, which totally meets our needs and wants.


5. Check the developments CC&Rs. This stands for Convenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. CC&Rs are great for upholding the maintenance and “feel” of your new neighborhood and have requirements such as RV parking, amount of square footage a home must have, what type of fencing you have to use {or sometimes you cannot have a fence}, are animals allowed {meaning livestock}, what are the setbacks and easements, can you build a shop or a pool, is there an HOA {Homeowners Association}. These are the kind of questions you want answered before you decide to buy a lot and build your new home in an area. TRUST ME!


cottage craftsman


6. Utilize the top floor plan search engines online. There are thousands of floor plans online. Literally you may never run out of options to choose from, BUT, it’s good to know which search engines are really good to use. So, here you go. Frank Betz, Donald Gardner, E-Plans, and Alan Mascord are great sites to begin your search. Once you narrow down your search, on the Frank Betz and Donald Gardner sites they have a feature to find similar plans, so if you like the plan but it’s not perfect, try searching for similar plans instead of cutting that plan out of your choices altogether.


7. Weigh the costs of pre-designed vs. custom plans. Pre-designed plans are just that, pre-designed by a designer like I mentioned in Tip 6 above. Somtimes, but not in all cases, it is less expensive or about the same to have a custom plan drawn up instead of purchasing a pre-designed plan. You can however, use pre-designed plans to get your ideas going and make it easier for you to figure out what you really want your home to look like.


cottage side view


8. If you cannot find exactly what you want, talk to an Architect. If you do all of your searching and still come to the conclusion {like we did} that the perfect plan isn’t out there, then look either in your area {which I recommend} or online {be careful you find someone reputable} for an Architect to draw up your floor plan. When interviewing your Architect ask them questions like how much do their services costs, how many changes can be made to the plan, does it cost extra for elevation drawings, does it cost extra for 3-D designs. Get specific answers and a contract in place so both parties are fully aware of what’s expected.


9. Consider the costs involved to build {even the hidden ones}. So you purchased your lot, then your floor plan, now what? Well, you will have the cost of your home of course but in this bid consider how much escavation costs will be, will you need a septic tank or a well, are you on city or irrigation water, are gas lines available to the property. There are a lot of things to consider, so do some research and ask your builder what you can expect and make sure to get an accurate bid BEFORE you begin the building process. Even factors such as the slope of your roof peaks and whether or not you will have covered patios can increase the cost of your home, but is often things some home buyers don’t consider. Easements from the CC&Rs can also increase costs, such as setbacks from the road which could increase the cost of your driveway. Have a budget, but also keep in mind that there may need to be a flex in it to accommodate changes throughout the building process as well.

Cadence Home Exterior

10. Stay on your toes. Don’t go into the building process thinking everyone will be taking care of you and everything you need. We’d like to think this way,  but in all reality we will have our own best interests, over someone else having ours. So, like I’ve mentioned before, do your research, ask around for recommendations, and be a good steward of your money.


11. Communicate. Always. Communicate with your spouse, your builder, your lender, the title company, the HOA, workers on site, etc. Be involved in the process where you can and if you have a question, never be afraid to ask it. The only stupid question is one that’s never asked.


12. Relax. Really, relax. I know when you are building a custom home things can become stressful. Trust me, I’m there. BUT, at the end of the day this should be an exciting adventure and one that you and your spouse enjoy together. If you {or your spouse} is so stressed and uptight about the build, you will begin to argue, become edgy, and maybe even get so frustrated you think that building was a bad idea. Sadly, I have even heard that building a custom home can make people get a divorce! Really? Geez! So, take my advice {and one that I am working on too} to relax and enjoy the process.


Building a custom home isn’t easy but it doesn’t have to be hard either. Utilize the above steps to help you stay organized during the process and feel free to comment below or email me at blissfullyeverafter3{at}gmail{dot}com with any questions.


I wish you the best of luck and stay tuned for updates about our custom home!


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  1. says

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