In the past year alone, “how to build a house” was the second-most popular home improvement-related search on Google. It’s safe to say that more than ever, Americans are hooked on the idea of designing their own homes.

There’s just something so satisfying about having a place to truly call your own. After all, you get to have a say on all of the critical parts. You can choose the perfect location, the right floor plan, customized design elements, and enjoy the home for years to come.

If you’re one of the many Americans looking to design from scratch, then you’re not alone. But before you get started, there are a few things you have to consider before you attempt to build your own home.

1. Find the Perfect House Plan

When you picture your perfect home, what do you see?

According to most homebuyers, open concept living is at the top of the list, closely followed by timeless designs like hardwood flooring and plenty of storage. Whatever it is you envision, there’s a floor plan out there with your name on it.

With thousands of floor plans available online, it’s easy to find the one that is just right for you. Best of all, you can customize your search by important features like bedrooms, bathrooms, basements, or even wine cellars! Most companies also offer custom floor planning, where an architect will speak with you about some of your must-have features.

2. It’s All About Location, Location, Location

You might have heard the saying “location, location, location” a few times before. Coined by real estate tycoon Lord Harold Samuel in 1926, the famous expression holds true that homes can be higher in value solely based on its location — a staggering 91 percent of people said location is the most important factor when buying a home!

The right location often includes important features like safe neighborhoods, friendly neighbors, and good schools. Beyond that, though, are some of the other most-wanted factors in an ideal neighborhood:

  1. Low home value to income ratio
  2. Good public school ratings
  3. Fair median monthly housing cost
  4. Reasonable cost of living grade
  5. Residents with a college education

And sometimes if you’re lucky, you’ll find the right piece of land in the perfect neighborhood. At this point, you should consult with a professional who can survey the land. They will be able to tell you whether it is accessible to the city, if it is leveled, the right size for your floor plan and if it’s without any zoning restrictions.

3. The Direction Your Home Will Face

The property you choose will also impact the direction of your home.

The direction a house faces might not be the first thing that comes to anybody’s mind — but it should be high on your list. The direction in which your home faces will directly impact how much sunlight you get, and therefore your heating and cooling costs. Homes that were oriented to face the sun had a 10 to 20 percent increase in savings on heating costs.

But the question is: which way is best? If you’re unsure which direction to face the home, then it might help to know more about where you can expect the sun and shade. The United States is in the Northern Hemisphere, which means that the sun offers the most light in the south, and is shadier in the north.

Since the sun shines year-round on the south, many builders recommend orienting the home this way so that the main rooms can get enough natural light. The south side of the house is also where patios and pools should be constructed. Bedrooms are generally on the northern or western end of a home where there is more shade.

4. Choose a Simple and Timeless Design

Remember that at one point, your grandmother’s ivy wallpaper and popcorn ceiling was popular! But as styles evolve, it’s crucial to pick the right elements without getting dated too quickly.

Even those with an eye for interior design might feel overwhelmed when choosing how to style their home. After all, there are so many trends and ideas to try out — and they’re everchanging. But the key to the right design is to choose something timeless or easy to update as the years go on.

“Interior design is like a three-dimensional game of chess: You have to think about space both vertically and horizontally,” says interior designer John Saladino. “You have to break down these rooms and create spaces with a human scale.”

With that said, it’s important to take advantage of each inch of space in your new home. Be sure to optimize space by adding plenty of closets, built-in cabinetry, and a basement or garage.

5. Always Consider the Cost

The million-dollar question is: How much does it cost to build your own home? Unfortunately, there is no set number on how much it costs to develop and design your own home.

But there are general estimations that offer a good starting point. For example, the average house size is about 2,400 square feet. With the average price per square foot at $100, you can expect to pay $240,000 including labor and material costs. This does not include builder profit and overhead if you are planning to hire a professional builder.

To get a true estimation, you’ll have to do some homework by researching local contractors. The good news is with Monster House Plan’s cost-to-build tool, you can easily get an estimate of how much your favorite floor plan will cost to build in your specific area within +/- 10%.

However, be sure to put aside enough money in case something unexpected happens. So, try to avoid spending every last penny on your dream home and set aside at least 10 percent of your budget as an emergency contingency.

Conclusion

When it comes to building and designing your own home, you’re sure to run into some trial and error scenarios. But as long as you carefully consider the five important rules before you build your home, you’ll be on the right path.

But for most, the fun part is finding the perfect floor plan — and with thousands of floor plans available, it’s never been easier to find your perfect home. Monster House Plans has a plethora of exterior and interior floor plans in dozens of design styles, ranging from contemporary to cottage, and everything in between.

What are you waiting for? Find your perfect house plan today!

The average cost of building a house on your own from scratch can range between $100,000 to more than $350,000.

When you picture your dream home, what do you see? Maybe it’s a pool in the backyard or perhaps it’s an in-home movie theater. Whatever your favorite characteristics are, there are eleven key features that the majority of homeowners want in their perfect home:

  • Central air conditioning
  • New kitchen appliances
  • Walk-in closets in the master bedroom
  • Granite countertops
  • Hardwood floors
  • Ensuite master bath
  • Kitchen island
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • A house that is less than five years old
  • Eat-in kitchen
  • One or more fireplaces

However, it’s nearly impossible to check everything on lists like this when it comes to searching for your perfect home. That’s why thousands of people each year decide to build their own home.

3 Reasons Why People Build Their Own Homes

Building your own home might sound intimidating. After all, there are extra costs and a lot of work that goes into the construction of a new home. But nearly 51,000 Americans decide to build their own homes every year based on three main reasons.

Reason #1: It’s Cheaper (In The Long Run)

Upfront, a new home can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But with a newly-built house, you can expect to pay less for many things, like utility bills by opting for energy-efficient options.

Reason #2: It’s Exactly What You Want

Buying prebuilt is definitely an easier option, but that means you’re compromising on upgrades and necessities you might want. Many people prefer things like big kitchens, tons of storage space, and heating and cooling at the touch of a button. These features weren’t standard a few years ago, which means they’re hard to find in homes today.

When you build your own home, you can add anything you want to a blueprint, like bonus rooms, garages, or even an elevator!

Reason #3: It’s Personal

Lastly, many Americans build their own home because it’s got that personal touch. A home customized to you will reflect all the time and effort that was put into building it, serving as a place where you raise your family for generations to come.

How Much Does It Cost To Build a House?

The most important thing to know before building your own home is that the cost ultimately depends on the size of the house and what you want to do with it.

Although these numbers can vary greatly, here’s a general breakdown of how much you can expect to split the budget between the necessities:

  • 25% for material
  • 25% for labor
  • 25% for land cost
  • 25% for builder profit and overhead

To put it in perspective, a typical single-family home is about 2,500 square feet. With the national average at $150 per square foot, you can expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $150,000 to $400,000 for just the square footage.

  • Small (around or less than 1,000 square feet): $150,000 to $180,000
  • Medium (around 2,500 square feet): $250,000 to $380,000
  • Large (over 3,000 square feet with accessories like windows, porches, and several roofs): $415,000 or more

These estimations don’t include labor, construction, or design costs. That’s why it’s essential to become familiar with what to expect when building your own home.

Before You Build

Creating a budget is one of the first things you have to do before the building begins.

But since the market changes all the time, it’s wise to double-check your area so you can get an idea of how much it might cost to build your home. You can use our Cost to Build reports to get an estimate of the costs you can expect, broken down by labor and material, eliminating guesswork.

After you’ve created a budget, you’re free to move onto the next vital steps in the process:

  1. Purchase the property, which averages $3,020 per acre
  2. Develop house plans and designs
  3. Obtain a building permit, which averages $1,043 nationally
  4. Get construction insurance
  5. Begin building!

Quick tip: When construction begins, you will want to set aside about $4,000 for contingency. This stash is for when anything unforeseen, like delayed construction, issues with the building, or an unexpected cost of materials.

Here are where the high costs come in: you’ll spend the majority of your budget on the foundation, framing, installation, labor costs, and interior design.

Foundation: $4,000 to $12,000

Although it would be great to begin building as soon as you purchase the land, it’s likely that the land needs to be prepared for construction. This might include excavating or flattening out the area.

If the land is ready for construction, then it will have to begin with the foundation process, where the workers will pour concrete to serve as your home’s base. Depending on the size and whether or not there is a basement, you can expect to pay between $4,000 and $12,000.

Framing: $1,500 to $6,500

The bare bones of the house completely depend on the sizes and locations of each room in your home. Larger homes with more rooms will err on the more expensive side, whereas smaller single-family homes will only cost a couple of thousand dollars to frame.

Major Systems Installation: $30,000 to $40,000

Major systems include electrical, plumbing, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and cooling).

Let’s break it down:

  • Septic tank: $5,500
  • Ductwork: $10,000 to $14,000
  • Plumbing: $11,000
  • Electricity: $10,000

These are essential to the functionality of your house, which means that a good chunk of your budget will go towards it.

Interior Finishes: $65,000 to $85,000

It’s finally time for the fun part! Once the major systems, insulation, and the framing are all complete, you will begin to see the final touches of your home come together.

Here’s a breakdown of the interior costs:

  • Cabinets and Countertops: $12,000
  • Doors, Trims and Mirrors: $11,000
  • Flooring: $10,000
  • Painting: $7,000
  • Appliances: $4,000
  • Plumbing Fixtures: $3,000
  • Lighting: $3,000

Since kitchens and bathrooms are the most expensive rooms in a home, it’s easy to spend a little extra. However, it’s important to keep your interior designs to about 30 percent of the entire budget. To be sure, you should discuss and enforce your budget with your designer to avoid going overboard.

Final Touches: $15,000 to $20,000

Although the home looks complete on the inside, the outside is far from finished. It will be time to clean up the construction mess and tend to the landscaping design. At this point, driveways and decks will be added if part of the plan.

  • Landscaping: $6,000
  • Driveway installation: $5,000
  • Porches or balconies: $3,000
  • Final cleanup: $2,500

Conclusion

Building a home is no easy task, but it’s become desirable to many people around the world. The idea of customization, saving money, and having something to call your own is plenty of incentive to build from the ground-up.

However, the idea seems daunting since many people aren’t sure whether or not they can afford it. It’s important to understand that depending on the size of the home and quality of materials, you can expect to spend between $200,000 and $500,000 on labor costs, permits, major systems, construction, interior finishes, and final touches.

If you’re considering joining the growing trend, there’s only one place to start: pick out some of your favorite floor plans to envision what your dream home could be!

Almost every home you see has a garage attached, usually tacked on to the front of the house. And as our cars get bigger, so too does the standard size of a garage. Spaces for three cars is not uncommon, and use of extra space for seasonal storage. Who could do without such space when building their dram home? A home seems almost bereft without the addition of a garage. Where else are we to park our cars, tuck away yard tools, and set up wood shop work benches? Providing an informal entrance to the home, often via a mud room or utility room, the garage is a frequently used, necessary part of many homes. But garages can be unsightly, awkward, or simply in the way of a carefully designed dream home exterior. Despite its many functions, the garage is arguably the least attractive part of your home’s exterior.

Solutions abound for this particular problem. Garages can be tucked around the side of the home, be situated at the rear, or be built as part of the lower level of the house, completely removing the necessity of a separate garage. Yet other house plans hide the garage in plain site, including such design features as bay windows, small covered porches, and cottage-style landscaping features.

There are many house plans that offer solutions such as these. Clever garage designs abound in the MonsterHousePlans.com library, and by selecting both the style of home you are looking for and the rear-entry garage selection you will access a tailored search filter with hundreds of house plans with out-of-sight garages. Remember also, that any house plan design can be customized to your specifications with the help of licensed architects.

Whether your dream home is lined with a Southern style wrap-around porch, a New England row of columns, or the handcrafted touches of a Craftsman home, a discreet garage enhances the curb appeal of any house.

The cost of building a new home can seem daunting at the outset, but there are a number of clever ways to keep costs down without cutting any corners. Use of salvaged building materials is becoming a popular money-saving trick many builders and contractors are offering.

Building materials and fixtures salvaged from old buildings first go through an evaluation process to ensure their quality remains intact. This deconstruction process can be quite lengthy but it often worth it in the long run when considering the reduced cost of materials. It is also a way to collect valuable old materials such as old growth timbers that are no longer available in other venues.

In addition to the cost benefit, there is an environmental benefit as well, as using materials already designed for construction save in terms of both the time is takes to generate new materials and the time it takes to process them as waste.

Salvaged building materials like beams, stairs, and framing supplies can save lots of money on home construction.

Salvaged building materials like beams, stairs, and framing supplies can save lots of money on home construction.

More than just wood timbers are used in salvage projects. Fixtures such as door knobs, sinks, bath tubs, and hinges are frequently resold for use in new home construction, as are actual building materials like bricks, concrete blocks, insulation, roofing tiles, wall paneling, molding, and baseboards. Considering the vast array of building materials that can be purchased from salvage yards and resellers, much of the new home you seek to build can be constructed with these repurposed items.

By using a combination of salvaged building materials and new, state of the art supplies, your dream home can be as unique as your family and be accomplished on a reasonable budget as well. Especially when considering the materials for low-visibility projects, look into salvage yards for low cost alternatives to brand new materials. It is important to work with a reputable contractor when purchasing refurbished building materials, or to buy from a credible retail location to ensure you are getting the highest quality.

Contact us today to find a house plan you’ll love!

Walkout basement homes are widely popular all across the country for the extra space and adaptability they offer. Although many imagine a perfectly flat, expansive lot on which to build a dream home, most lots present some degree of elevation that must be taken into account. Where possible, a walkout basement home provides a way to situate your home on such a lot without sacrificing any interior space.

For many busy families, having living space on a lower level provides a necessary separation between active gathering spaces on lower levels and quiet, more formal rooms for mature entertaining upstairs. Floor plans with walkout basement foundations often include rec rooms, home theaters and gyms, and expansive finished storage space with built-in features to maximize space-saving habits.  Guest suites are also common features of a lower level walkout basement house plan, providing a separate entrance and oftentimes a private patio or porch area for your guests to enjoy during their stay.

Maximizing square footage without enlarging the footprint of the house is perhaps the most beneficial feature of a walkout basement floor plan.  A single story home can still have a fully finished lower level, visible only from the back of the house and providing covered deck space below.

Walkout basement house plan exterior view

These types of plans are often the perfect choice to enjoy a rear-facing view, or when the home is situated on a lot so as to create an expansive backyard area. For the ultimate in home amenities, consider an elevator connecting the two floors or a lower level summer kitchen and BBQ porch to ensure seamless connection between separated floors and outside gathering spaces for the whole family to enjoy.

walkout basement floor plan

While the curbside view of a walkout basement home shows perhaps a modest single-story house, the rear of the home reveals two levels or more, with inside spaces connecting with outside spaces through skilled use of windows, porches, and patios.

Click here to see our wide variety of house plans!

The split-level home has long been a popular choice in the American landscape. Beginning in the 1950’s, with lots getting smaller as the home owning population grew, the sprawling Ranch-style home was getting more difficult to build and more expensive to maintain.

Early Ranch style homes evolved into the more modern split-level.

Early Ranch style homes were large, sprawling homes that required large lots; the split-level evolved out of this horizontal design and a need for more space.

 

Existing homes were modified and new homes being built kept the long lines and horizontal orientation of the ranch and prairie home but added more compact design concepts. The resulting home offered more interior living space on a smaller lot by stacking levels and using short staircases as conduits between gathering spaces. Now instead of a two story home, the house is divided at mid-height creating a third level and allowing more options for how to divide the space.

Most often, a split-level home will maintain those traditional ranch-style details like overhanging eaves and low pitched roofs. But considering the many ways a space can be differently utilized when stacked, there are several modern designs now entering the market with quite a high level of popularity. There are also new ways of utilizing the split-level design. A side-split denotes a split-level house plan where the two floors are visible from the front elevation of the home, while a back-split appears as a single-story from the front; only in the back are both stories visible.

Perhaps the most popular benefit of a split-level home design is the ability to divide living areas. For many families with children at home, a lower level with bedrooms or recreation space for games is a perfect way to lower the noise level and keep kids safely entertained yet separated from gathering adults. The daylight basement is another benefit of this design. Finished above-ground space that can be utilized for a number of purposes is appealing to many families, as future needs cannot always be predicted. Bonus space that can be used later on is a comfort to many.

Whether the traditional design or the more modern look is appealing to your family, split-level house plans have come a long way since their early needs-based inception. They continue to serve the modern family unit with efficiency, clever design technique, and classic exterior appeal. Click here to learn about the wide variety of house plans we offer!

Inverted floor plans have a long history of providing functional protection. Recent construction innovations and clever design trends have brought this practice back to the forefront of home floor plans in a variety of settings.

Perhaps the oldest examples of inverted floor plans are the castles of ancient Europe. A design of concentric circles- the outer moat, the stone wall surrounding the grounds, and stacked structures ending with the Castle Keep, offered several layers of protection from invading enemies. This innermost tower, the castle keep, was typically where the family slept. It also provided, one supposed, the best and most expansive views of the kingdom.

Castles were some of the first inverted floor plans, with sleeping quarters on upper floors for safety and warmth.

Castles were some of the first inverted floor plans, with sleeping quarters on upper floors for safety and warmth.

Fast forward to a more modern view of the world, in which single family homes dominate the landscape. Early examples of this show homes built around a single multi-purpose room, used for sleeping, cooking, and as a gathering space for the family. Families that could afford a slightly larger home would often position a loft above this main room to use as sleeping quarters, where the rising heat from the central fire would maintain warmth through the cold nights.

In today’s world, this natural vertical progression has lead most home plan designers to place bedrooms on the upper floors, and living areas on the main floor. And while there are some stylistic deviations, such as a first-floor master bedroom, many styles of house plans accept this template.

And it works for many families. Regional construction, however, has kept the inverted floor plan alive and well. In coastal areas, the low country lots, and areas where rising river levels threaten the foundation, inverted floor plans make the best use of space. A view-driven plan will often feature main living areas on the highest levels of the home, in order to see above a neighbor’s house or over the tree line. In hot and humid places, these upper floor are uniquely able to capture breezes while discouraging pesky insects who tend to congregate at lower altitudes.

Rooftop in an inverted floor plan home.

Roof decks make the most of seasonal weather.

It is no surprise then that most of the inverted floor plan models you see are either Coastal floor plans, Beach floor plans, Florida plans, European floor plans, and Modern or Contemporary floor plans. But an inverted floor plan is for more than just coastal properties. Even the more traditional house plans can make use of this design, as many of them draw from European design concepts.

Modern designs are beginning to make use of this feature as a way to make the absolute most out of available space, including outside areas like roof decks and balconies. And with modern amenities like elevators and dumb waiters, the logistics of spending most of your time on the upper floors are simply settled.

There are a number of factors that make an inverted floor plan the preferred choice for many families and builders. Whether its intent is to access sweeping views, to capture cool breezes, or to elevate the main gathering spaces for maximum light and openness, the inverted floor plan has evolved into one of the most efficient use of space available.

Building your dream home is often a very exciting process. As you witness each phase of construction you draw ever closer to the completion of your goal. But there can also be moments of uncertainty: did I choose the right home for my family? What if things change in a way I haven’t foreseen?  No one is better suited to anticipate the future needs of your family than you are. Even though you are uniquely qualified for this decision, unexpected changes occur in the life of a dynamic family. Having the ability to meet those changes head on provides a welcome comfort. For many families, the best way to mitigate this anxiety is to choose a house plan with built in expansion options, or flex space.

The cost and headache of building an addition on to your existing home can be dissuasive and discouraging. The perfect house plan for today’s changing family dynamic will include spaces for growth that can be finished at a later date when the need arises. House plans with unfinished basement levels offer open space that can be defined in any way your family needs, or can be left open for a generous rec room, storage, or craft space. Yet other house plans include the structure for additional bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, walk-in closets, and outdoor patios for an easy transition from flex space to living space.

Whether planning for your aging parents or in-laws to move in, or transitioning into a work-from-home or self-employed arrangement, or the knowledge that your young children will one day want their own bathroom: having undefined space built into your dream home offers growth potential with ease.

Life is full of exciting opportunities and unexpected moments of change. The feeling of having flexibility on your side makes it easy to meet those opportunities with a positive outlook. A custom home plays a large role in terms of meeting the future needs of your family. By harnessing your unique ability to predict upcoming needs and changes, and including space for the unforeseen, your house plan can serve you for many years to come.

Mountain homes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Rather than being an architectural distinction, mountain house plans represent a collection of common features designed for rugged landscapes. Also called Rustic house plans, these homes tend to be on the smaller side and boast design elements perfect for vacation homes in beautiful settings.

rustic home design exterior view

Natural materials are often used in mountain house construction: treated wood siding, unfinished logs, and stone elements are commonly seen in these types of homes. Metal roofs are desirable for their low maintenance as much as for the uniquely peaceful sound of rainfall they provide. A mountain house plan will often have lots of windows from which you can watch the changing of the seasons. Formal rooms are replaced with cozy gathering spaces usually centered around a stone fireplace. Traditionally open designs make these smaller mountain house plans feel simultaneously expansive and intimate. Rustic floor plans will have several covered patios or a wrap-around porch for taking in the fresh mountain air.

Seasonal weather in mountainous areas can be unpredictable and extreme, and a good rustic house plan will reflect the sturdiness required to withstand colder seasons. A-frame designs are quite popular in areas where annual snowfall is high, while other mountain house plans will be multiple stories high to separate bedrooms from living areas and are suitable for building on a sloping lot. It is somewhat common for a mountain house plan to not include a garage, as these are often used as vacation homes. However, for those attracted to the style and wish for a permanent residence with a rustic feel, garages can either be added to existing plans or you can choose from the many larger sized mountain house plans that include space for storing vehicles.

Having a quiet place to escape to feels vital for many families living in densely populated areas. And for those who cannot build their dream home just yet, a vacation property is an approachable first step: a uniquely designed home on a slightly smaller scale and perfectly suited to your family’s needs is a choice everyone can get behind.

 

Search for Mountain and Rustic floor Plans here, and click here for information on all other house plans we have to offer.

There are numerous studies to show that Americans take trips more frequently when they have a permanent vacation home as a destination. The peace of mind that comes from staying in your own space is a powerful motivator, and the ability to store necessities on site is yet another big incentive. In the busy lives we live, time away from the daily grind can be hard to come by. Vacations are complicated things to pull off: making travel arrangements, taking time off from work, packing, researching, and staying in unfamiliar accommodations can all put a damper on the experience, and many people just don’t have the spare time to put all the details in order.

Especially popular in recent years are vacation homes in the mountains.  These rugged, sturdy floor vacation floor plans are designed to withstand seasonal storms and provide a haven from day to day life all year long. Typically low-maintenance materials are used in construction and mountain house plans are uniquely suited for sloped lots and breath-taking views.

Whether you build a fishing cabin in the mountains  or a beach cottage on the coast, there are numerous benefits to be found in building a custom vacation home:

  1. Tax Incentive

Depending on the tax laws in your state, there is a possibility that you can write off the property value from your annual income. Check with a professional in the area you want to build to make sure you’re getting the most accurate tax advice.

  1. Earned Rental Income

Many folks don’t mind others using their vacation home and with the advent of sites like Air B&B and VRBO home owners can generate income by renting their vacation properties when not in use.

  1. Vacations are Good for Your Health

There are countless medical studies to show the positive effects of fresh air and the increased activity that mountain travel inspires. Lowered blood pressure, increased oxygen in the body, and a relaxed state of mind have all been linked in correlation to longevity and lower incidences of major chronic health issues.

For many families who feel that building their dream home is out of reach at this time, considering a vacation home is a perfect first step. Smaller in scale and often quite simple in design, working from a vacation house plan that has been modified to your specifications makes the possibility of regular vacations a reality.

Click here to get started on your next house plan today!