“Building your own home is about desire…fantasy. But it’s achievable. Anyone can do it.”
~ Kevin McCloud, World-renowned design expert
When planning to build a home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you may wonder if it is better to go with an existing stock floor plan or choose a custom home design that was created just for you.
If you are like most people, you probably have only a very general idea of what you want and need in your new home — the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the inclusion of a home office, and so on.
When you meet with most builders, they will show you a huge selection of existing stock plans that meet your basic requirements. While that may sound convenient, it does have its drawbacks.
Having so many options can actually be overwhelming and frustrating. You flip through plan after plan that are close, but not exactly what you are really looking for. After looking at dozens or even hundreds of stock plans, you give up and settle for the next best thing that almost matches what you had in mind.
But what if you didn’t have to settle?
After all, shouldn’t your “dream home” match your dream?
To help that dream become a reality, here are 4 Reasons Why You Should Choose a Custom Home Design Over a Stock Floor Plan.
#1 Your Unique Needs
No one else’s lifestyle is identical to yours. A generic floor plan will almost certainly not meet the specific individual needs of you or your family. And the more unique those needs are, the more important customization becomes.
Important considerations that demonstrate why a custom home design might be the right choice for you include:
- You have a large family — This affects more than just the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. You might also need larger living and dining areas, wider hallways, a bigger garage, expanded laundry space, a high-capacity kitchen, and more closets and storage than is typical.
- Younger versus older children — An open floor plan that allows easy supervision might be the best option if you have young children, while older kids or young adults have a greater need for privacy. And while your younger children might like a playroom, older ones want bigger bedrooms.
- Elderly or special-needs family members — Properly equipping a home for someone with physical challenges often requires several design modifications — wheelchair ramps, wider hallways and door openings, handrails, accessible bathrooms, lower countertops and cabinets, and special flooring, for example.
- You entertain often — If you like to throw parties and have friends over, you might need a larger living area than would be typical for just your family. Frequent entertaining also necessitates a bigger-than-normal kitchen and more pantry space.
- You work from home — The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we work, making a private home office a greater necessity than ever. A stock floor plan might not include the features you need for your ideal workspace — soundproofing, storage, premium lighting, extra electrical outlets, etc.
With just these few examples, you can clearly see how your lifestyle is the biggest factor that should determine the design of your home.
Instead of wasting time and getting frustrated by generic floor plans that do not fit your unique lifestyle, find the right Dallas home builder who will listen and create a custom home plan with your needs in mind.
#2 You Might Save Serious Money
It is true that using a stock floor plan is generally less expensive in the beginning than having a custom home design created and constructed. But those savings start to rapidly evaporate if you need to make extensive modifications.
Matt Clancy, Director of Sales at eCommerce, says, “Oftentimes, it costs more than the plan itself.”
Making major changes to an existing floor plan may mean that your home builder has to temporarily bring in an architect on a cost-inefficient hourly basis. In general, modified ready-to-build house plans can run 1.25% of the total value of the home or more.
Then there are the risks associated with “redlining”. As the name implies, this is when modifications are made by making red marks on the plan.
Problems can arise during construction, however, because the builder — the person you mainly deal with — will typically have the main working copy of the house plan, while the subcontractors will have their own copies. If a quick redline change is made on the builder’s main copy, and it is not communicated or transcribed properly on each of the subcontractors’ copies, the result can be expensive mistakes and delays.
As Clancy warns, “(Redling) can be very costly to the homeowner.”
On the other hand, customized home plans are formally drawn up exactly to specifications. Everyone receives identical copies, reducing the likelihood of human error.
Another advantage to opting for a custom home design is you can also include the services of the architect who created the plan. While they may not normally show up on-site when frequently-used stock house plans are being used, architects often oversee custom home construction projects.
#3 You Home Can Match the Land
The land you decide to build on will largely determine the best plans for your home. The old phrase, “location, location, location” is especially apropos here in the Dallas area.
For example, if you have purchased a lot in the Belmont Conservation District, the Homeowner’s Association may place limits on the style of home you can build.
In a case like this, your best bet might be to go with an existing stock floor plan.
On the other hand, if you want to build your custom home in a more rural or scenic area, you are freer to choose a more customized home design. After all, if you own land south of Dallas along the Texas Bluebonnet Trail, or you decide to go west of Fort Worth and live among the peach trees in Weatherford, you will want a custom home that complements the natural local beauty.
#4 Your Home Can Truly Be One-of-a-Kind
Why do you want to build a home in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington? It’s probably not because you want a house that is just like everybody else’s. And yet, that is exactly what happens in too many neighborhoods.
“Many of these houses were the same, and many were completely identical to each other because they were being built by a single developer. At the time, it was criticized for wasting land and all looking the same,” says Richard Mohler, Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Washington.
If you hate the idea of living in a boring cookie-cutter home, opting for a custom design over a stock plan gives you the opportunity to build a home that fits your personality and interests.
The Bottom Line: Custom Design versus Stock Floor Plan
At the end of the day, you build your home for yourself. While resale value will always be a consideration, the most important thing is the enjoyment you and your family get out of living there.
And because your home is an extension of your personality, you can never go wrong when you choose a custom design instead of a stock home plan.