Hiring an Architect vs Purchasing Plans

Before the start of any home, there must be a plan. That is a universality in the homebuilding world. However, there is some variation in where those plans originate. For many, the decision on how to acquire a design plan for their home comes down to two options: purchasing prefabricated plans on the internet or through a firm or hiring a professional architect to create and oversee the plans. There are positive and negative aspects of both options and ultimately it comes down to each home and homeowner’s needs.

Hiring An Architect


Having an experienced architect on hand to guide your project allows for a lot of customization. The architect will begin her or his project by asking you loads of questions, this in an effort to define exactly what you will need in your new home. This gives you the freedom to design with specific materials in mind, plan according to your specific lot, and truly make your home fit your lifestyle. This type of customization creates a truly unique home which can contribute to your resale value as well.

From Paper To Move In  
When you hire an architect often times there is an option to retain their services from the drawing of plans all the way through move in. This is important because if adjustments ever need to be made due to materials, changes in your lot, building codes, or problems regarding plumbing or electricity you won’t have to bootstrap the process. You’ll have a steady, experienced hand guiding the process from start to finish.


Short term expense
We realize building a home is an expensive endeavor. Hiring an architect is generally more expensive than purchasing pre-made plans online. However, we feel that this factor is minuscule when compared to the value that is gained through hiring a professional, we’re of the mindset that something of this magnitude -your home, should be done right the first time.

Time Factor
Hiring an architect to design your custom home is a bit of an extensive process. There are research and time spent find just to decide which architect you’ll use and then one on one time with your chosen architect to actually create a design that will suit your needs. If you’re in a hurry, this may not be the best route for you.

Purchasing Plans


Visually easy to grasp
Since these prefabricated home designs are copies of finished homes. There are generally photo samples of the blueprints as a finished product. This is helpful to those who can’t really visualize what they want in a home, or don’t find standard floor plans to be enough. This gives you all the visualization of a rendering without the spent time and energy.

Speed and Convenience
If you need a plan today it’s possible to go onto a website selling floor plans and purchase your desired layout. There are no other strings attached generally. This convenience and speed with which you can hit the ground running are valuable to some. But we must stress, this convenience comes at a cost; what you gain in speed now may become a problem later when the lot specifications and building materials come into play.  

Tried and True Design
Pre-made plans provide comfort for the homeowner in knowing that these designs have worked for someone, somewhere. There is a bit of risk taken out of the equation since these designs are tried and tested by hundreds of others before you.


Low Customization
That kitchen you’ve always dreamed of? You may have found it, but the plan it's associated with doesn’t include the number of bedrooms you wanted. Or you find the perfect number of bedrooms but it has a huge dining area that you’re sure you’ll never use. Such is the needle-in-the-haystack manner of finding a floor plan that suits all of your needs when buying online. You may find something that meets some or most of your desired features but it's a rare find to tick all your boxes with a bought plan.

Energy Spent on Adjustment
The plan you thought was perfect may have only had suggestions for water and electricity line placement, but with your specific lot this may not be possible. You may need to have your plumber or electrician around much longer to work around this obstacle or hire an architect or designer to make the adjustments for you and to make matters worse, sometimes an architect may be forced to have the entire plan must be redone.

Like most things regarding building a custom home, this decision comes down to which option best suits your needs and priorities. However, we will strongly suggest considering an architect for your custom home. It avoids many otherwise unnecessary obstacles and creates a sense of security for your entire process of building a new home.