1-Buy plans on the internet
2-Work with a draftsman
3-Work with an Architect
Buy Plans on the Internet ($750-$13,000)
Please don’t pick this option, and here is why:
-You will almost always have to modify (add $1500-$2500). This can cost as much as the original plans, and sometimes more, so the cost you see is not your true cost.
-It isn’t up to code (add $1500-$5000). The internet plan is not made to withstand our wind zone, and our seismic zone, you will have to hire an engineering firm.
-You can’t get a permit with it (add $1000-$3000). You won’t have a site plan, tree survey, topo survey, drainage plan, and all sorts of other site-specific things you need.
-It won’t be right ($?). How can it be? It isn’t designed around you! This will translate into change orders and conflicts between the plans, and what you actually want.
Work with a draftsman ($2,500-$10,000)
For many projects, this can be a fit. Here are the criteria that makes it a good fit:
-Diverse projects-additions, remodels
-Cost conscious client
-Willingness to take smaller projects
-Usually has in-house engineering
Work with an Architect ($10,000 and up)
If you are looking to achieve a one-of-a-kind outcome, the first building block is an Architect. Here are some ways they bring value:
-An in-depth look at your site- orientation, natural lighting, seismic, wind, flood
-Skill with preservation of trees and impact on the property
-A total design based around you and how you live
-A professional to navigate through the Review Boards
-Detailed plans with all your specifications to make sure the finishes are right
-A completely unique home that is yours alone, and a process to get you there
You don’t have to make this decision alone, and most of time you need some honest budget feedback about your project before you go too far. I recommend you talk to a builder for a ballpark, then go to the plans. A builder on the team early will narrow that focus and make sure you hit your target!