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10 steps to building your dream home

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Determine Needs

Selecting the right home design for your needs and lifestyle requires a lot of thought. Your new home is an investment in both the present and the future, so you should consider not only your current needs but also your future requirements. Versatility and the potential for converting certain areas to other uses could be an important factor later on. So, although a home office may seem unnecessary now, in years to come, the idea may seem ideal. Home plans that include flex spaces or bonus rooms can really adapt to your needs in the future.

partially built two-story house plan

Choose a Homesite

The site for your new home will have a definite impact on the home plan you select. It's a good idea to select a home design that will complement your site. This will save you time and money when you’re building. Or, you can then modify the design to specifically accommodate the site. For example, if you land slopes, a walk-out basement works perfectly. If it’s wooded, or has lake in the back, an atrium ranch house plan is a perfect style to take advantage of surrounding backyard views.

Some important criteria to consider when selecting a site are what type of improvements will have to be made for utilities, walks and driveways. Evaluate the local area as far as convenience to work, school, shops, etc. Don’t forget to ask about zoning requirements and property taxes. Consider hiring a civil engineer to investigate the soil conditions at your future site. Finally, order a title search to make sure the person or firm that sells you the land owns it free and clear.



close-up view of a laptop computer and house plan blueprints

Design Selection features over 15,000 home plans from some of the best architects and designers across the country. It includes a variety of styles and sizes to suit the needs and tastes of a broad spectrum of homeowners. Browse our website and search by style as well as other criteria and easily discover the home of your dreams. Each house plan has a front rendering, floor plan(s) and special features and many also feature rear, right and left elevations in addition to interior and exterior photos.

Material List

The material list is a helpful component of the building process and is available for many of our house plans. These materials, a major cost item for your new home, must be priced to obtain financing. A material list includes not only a detailed listing of materials, but also indicates where various cuts of lumber and other building components are to be used This will save your general contractor significant time and money since they won’t have to create this list before building begins.

Overall Cost

To determine the overall cost of your new home, many factors need to be considered. The six major expense categories are as follows:

  • Land
  • Foundation
  • Material Cost
  • General Contractor's Fee
  • Site Improvements

Some rules-of-thumb that you may find useful are: (a) the total labor cost will generally run a little higher that your total material cost; (b) it’s not unusual for a builder or general contractor to charge 15 to 20% of the combined cost for managing the overall project; and (c) don’t forget to add in the cost of your site improvements such as utilities, driveway, sidewalks, landscaping, etc., in figuring the total building cost.

Ordering Home Plans

If the plan you’ve selected is essentially what you’ve been looking for, it would be a good idea to order eight (or more) sets of blueprints at a time. The eight-set plan package offers a considerable savings and these additional sets will be required by your mortgage lender, local building department, builder, and sub-contractors. You’ll also want a set for yourself as a permanent record.

homeowner and builder discussing changes to a house plan


We understand that it is difficult to find blueprints for a home to meet all your needs. That is why we are pleased to offer home plan modification services. Customizing is available for all of the house plans on our website. Please go to the page called “Customizing a Plan” for all the specific information on this process.

couple shaking hands with a woman


Financing the home you plan to build is somewhat different than financing the purchase of an existing house. You’re going to need thousands of dollars for land, labor, and material ┬íV chances are you’re going to have to borrow most of it. Therefore, you will probably need to obtain a construction loan. This is a short-term loan to pay for building your house. When the house is completed, the loan is paid off in full, usually out of the proceeds from your long-term mortgage loan.

Lending institutions usually offer construction loans only to builders and developers. The best way for an individual to get a construction loan is to arrange for your long-term mortgage loan from a lender at the same time you ask for the construction loan. This makes you a much more desirable customer to the lender, since you will be paying interest over many years.

Furthermore, if you get your construction loan from the same source which provides your mortgage loan you may be charged lower interest for your construction loan if you borrowed it by itself.

woman and contractor discussing changes to a house plan design

Hire a Contractor

If you’re inexperienced in construction, you’ll probably want to hire a general contractor to manage the project. If you do not know a reputable general contractor, begin your search by contracting your local Home Builders Association to get references. Many states require building contractors to be licensed. If this is the case in your state, its licensing board is another referral source. Finding a reputable, quality-minded contractor is a key factor in ensuring that your new home is well constructed and is finished on time and within budget.

Order Materials

You can order yourself or have your contractor do it. Nevertheless, in order to thoroughly enjoy your new home you will want to personally select many of the materials that will go into its construction. Today, home improvement stores offer a wide variety of quality building products from which to choose. Only you can decide what specific types of windows, cabinets, bath fixtures, etc. will make your new home a dream home. Spend the time early on in the construction process to study the large selection of materials and products available. In this way, you’ll be assured of getting what you want..

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