How to Buy House Plans Online

Buying a stock house plan online has many advantages. Buying online lets you browse thousands of possible layouts, sizes, and styles of homes, usually giving you the option of making small customizations to each plan. This method costs much less than hiring a designer to create a custom home plan for you, and is faster as well. There are many websites offering stock house plans, with thousands of plans to choose from, so the process can be a bit overwhelming. Learning how to buy house plans online requires carefully assessing your needs in a home plan and a design service.


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    List your requirements in a house plan. Before beginning your search, it is best to assess your needs in a home. Consider factors like total floor area, number of floors, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether or not you want an attached garage, architectural style, and anything else important to you. This list will help you to narrow your initial search and keep you focused on plans that are suited for you.
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    Evaluate several different house plan websites. There are many online services offering stock house plans. To keep your search focused, try a few of these sites to determine which one(s) is best for you.
    • Begin by assessing the usability of the website's interface. There will likely be thousands of plans to choose from, so it should be easy to narrow your search using specific criteria. It should be easy to view the home plans and renderings, and to read information about each plan.
    • You should also compare pricing between websites. Most websites will sell both reproducible master plans and a CAD (computer-aided design) drawing that can be changed easily. Services such as in-house customization by licensed architects may also be offered. The prices for these plans and services should be clearly presented.
    • Finally, consider any additional services or features offered through the website. For example, some companies offer cost estimation tools to help you plan your overall budget.
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    Browse for house plans. After finding a website that you like, browse for house plans using the search feature. Narrow your search based on the criteria you enumerated earlier, taking note of the plans that are appealing to you.
    • Consider printing out the plans so that you can compare them side by side and show them to family members for review. Printing plans out will also allow you to sketch potential changes directly onto the plans.
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    Assess how nearly your favorite plans would fit your living needs. After bookmarking several favorite plans, think carefully about each one. Floor plans, unlike physical homes, do not allow for a walk-through tour. It is therefore important to imagine how the plan would look when built and to imagine yourself living in the house.
    • Consider your own specific needs; perhaps you want to be able to cook in the kitchen without waking a sleeping child in their bedroom. The proximity of these rooms may not have been something considered in your original list of needs, but aspects like this should be carefully considered before purchasing.
    • Take measurements in you current home to better visualize the plan. For example, if you are worried that a 7 foot (2.1 m) wide room would feel cramped, try to find a room in your current home that is the same size for comparison.
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    Estimate the cost of building your home. Once you choose a house plan, you can usually use the website's cost estimation tool to determine how much the construction cost will be in your proposed area. There may be a small fee for ordering this cost report.
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    Order the plans. You usually have several options for purchasing home plans, each of which will vary in price.
    • If you don't want to make any changes to the plans, you can usually order a set of copies. These copies can be permitted and used by your builder as-is.
    • If you want to hire an architect to make small changes, you should purchase a reproducible master drawing. This drawing allows the architect to produce an updated copy that can be permitted.
    • Purchasing a CAD drawing is best if you want to make major changes to the plan. CAD drawings can be altered thoroughly by an architect before printing.
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    Proceed with the construction. Depending on the building regulations in your area, you may be able to give the plans directly to your contractor and begin building. Other jurisdictions may require you to get a building official's stamp of approval on the plans. Most stock house plan websites will guarantee that the plans they sell will be approved readily.


  • There are many websites selling stock house plans. Some of the major ones are,,,, and
  • If you like a plan by a given designer (whose name will be credited on the plan seller's website), consider checking out the designer's own website for more ideas.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Computer
  • Internet access

Article Info

Categories: Real Estate