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House plans: Top 3 costly mistakes to avoid

You're preparing to build the home of your dreams, but like most people, you still have a budget to consider. Successfully fitting your new custom home into your budget begins with the right house plan. That means the house plan that fits your needs and wants but also one that's efficient to build.

There are some simple principles to follow when it comes to an efficient house plan, but most people who design house plans don't think about them because they don't build what they design. Here are the three most common costly house plan mistakes we've seen.

1. Designing a house plan with lots of unnecessary exterior corners

I'm not saying your house has to be a simple square box with no exterior character, but exterior walls should be purposeful. They should be designed to add value in terms of visual appeal, not used as an easy solution for a design problem that should be solved more creatively.

When a house turns a corner, you have wasted materials for lumber, drywall, and shingles. Turning corners also adds expensive foundation and exterior wall space without adding square feet of living space. In other words, every corner in the exterior wall of a house costs money. Make sure they serve an actual purpose in your design!

2. Bad room layout that requires lots of hallways

Hallways cost money, too. Yes, they count as living space and count in the square footage of your home, but hallways either reduce the size of the rooms you can afford or add to the total cost of the house without adding value.

Good house designers work hard to lay out rooms efficiently while keeping traffic flow in mind to reduce or eliminate hallways.

3. Roof designs that simply don't work

Bad roof designs are largely driven by bad house layouts. When a roof plan has two parallel planes that intersect, it creates a level valley that doesn't drain. Most house designers solve the problem in a way that's easy for them but tough for the builder (and your budget). They solve it with extra framing and roofing to add the necessary slopes. Like extra corners or unnecessary hallways, it adds to your cost without adding value.

Another roof design problem happens with two-story houses that don't allow adequate clearance for the stairs or some upstairs rooms. Ever been in a second-story room where you had to duck your head? As a builder, I've had to correct house plans where the roof, as drawn by the designer, didn't allow enough headroom over the stairs. At that point, it added to the cost of the house, but a slight design change from the beginning could have solved the problem without adding cost.

When designing your custom home, be sure you're working with a designer who understand the ins and outs of the building process to avoid these (and other) costly mistakes.

Download our free guide to getting the house plan of your dreams!

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