Frequently Asked Questions Page

Display FAQs per page:

Q: Will I really be able to build this house from these plans?

Logo MHPMHP: Yes. Your plans (Construction Set, PDF, Reproducible, or CAD file) will include all the information your builder needs to construct your home. However, they may not include all the information your local building department wants in order to issue you a permit. For example, the house plans will not include a site plan, septic design, well permit, or engineering specific to your region's weather, wind, soil or seismic conditions. Your building department will provide you with a checklist of all requirements for a building permit. For more info, see Building Codes & Permits.

Q: Why should I buy a stock house plan rather than have an architect design a custom home for me?

Logo MHPMHP: Savings of approximately 80% is why you should consider a stock luxury house plan. Think of the difference between a custom design and a stock plan as being similar to having a custom gown designed for you by Giorgio Armani, or, going to Macys and purchasing one of the rack. The one off the rack will be close to what you need in looks and size, but may need some alterations or enhancements to really fit you. The custom, however, will be tailor-made to fit your body (and you'll pay the price for it!). Stock plans are homes that were designed by an architect or designer and built for a customer. Since the designer has already drawn the plan, you aren't paying for his time to create a design. They are plans he has "on-the-rack" so to speak.

Q: What is the difference between a "daylight basement" and a "walk-out basement"?

Logo MHPMHP: A daylight basement is not necessarily on a sloping lot. A daylight basement will have a portion of the basement with windows exposed, but not necessarily the ability to 'walk-out' from the basement level. A walk-out basement is built on a sloping lot (either upward, side, or downward) and on the sloping side, the basement is completely exposed with access to the outside from the basement level. See plan # 1-109 for an example of a "walk-out basement" and plan # 1-134 for an example of a "daylight basement".

Learn more about daylight vs walkout basements

Q: I love this house plan but the CC&R's in the neighborhood where I plan to build requires side-entry garages and this one is a front-entry. Any suggestions?

Logo MHPMHP: You bet! This is a very simple change that can very often be made locally by your builder. It not, it is generally a relatively cost effective change to make. Just click the "Modify This Plan" tab on your plan's search results page and we'll find out what the designer will charge to make this change for you.

Q: I don't know how many sets of plans I need. Can I just buy one set and then copy them as needed?

Logo MHPMHP: No. All of our designers plans are protected under Federal Copyright Law and cannot be copied. You could purchase a CAD file, Reproducible Master, or PDF. These plan sets provide you with a copyright release giving you permission to print up to 12 copies of the plans as you need them. However, the license is to build only one home unless otherwise stated.

Q: I'm in love with a house that is 2500 square feet, but my builder says I need to stay under 2200 square feet -- any suggestions?

Logo MHPMHP: Talk to your builder to see if there is a way to cut costs via the materials you choose. There might be ways to save money on the cabinets, fixtures, flooring, countertops, appliances, roofing, etc., that you select.

Q: Why do I need to purchase the house plan before it is modified?

Logo MHPMHP: It is not necessary to purchase the plan before getting a MODIFICATION QUOTE. Should you decide to accept the modification quote, you then need to purchase the reproducible plan set plus 75% of the quoted modification to get started because the plan will be customized for you.

Q: Should I only look at plans that were designed by an architect or designer from my state?

Logo MHPMHP: No. For the same reasons you don't need a driver's license from every state that you plan to drive in. The national codes the plans are drawn for are all very similar. Each of our designer's plans will reflect building codes in effect in the location and time they were designed. A designer or engineer in your state would be able to review the plans for any adjustments that may be needed for your region.

Q: What is a split entry?

Logo MHPMHP: Sometimes called a "split-foyer", "mid-level entry" or "raised-ranch", a split entry home is one where when you enter the front door, you are on the entry-level only. You must go either up or down a half-flight of stairs to get to living spaces. Typically going up leads to the main living quarters where downstairs would offer additional space for expansion, storage & laundry.

Q: Can you tell me where a house has been built?

Logo MHPMHP: Unfortunately, no. When we receive an order for a house plan, we only collect the billing and shipping address for the plans. We do not ask where the house will be built. Additionally, the Privacy Laws prohibit us from disclosing this information.

Q: What is the difference between the house plan set packages?

Logo MHPMHP: Click the "Buy This Plan" button below the exterior image of the plan you are interested in. This will display a list of the plan packages available for this design. You can click the "Show Detail" link to see a description of each package. OR, you can always give us a call if you need more clarification.

Q: I love this house, but it's a little too big. Can it be reduced it by about 200 square feet?

Logo MHPMHP: Anything is possible, but not always practical or economical. Technically, we can direct our CAD programs to reduce the size of a house by a certain percentage. However, you would have to find fixtures (such as doors, appliances, bathtubs, windows, etc.) that are the same percentage smaller. In other words, it would be very expensive, if not impossible! It would also be very difficult for a designer to remove 200 square feet from a plan without changing the entire arrangement. You would probably pay more for this modification than almost any other. It would be best to look for a plan in the square footage range that is within your budget, rather than trying to shrink a larger design to fit within your budget.

Q: I want to build a home as economically as possible. What should I look for in a house plan?

Logo MHPMHP: Architecturally, you want to keep the shape as simple as possible with the least amount of corners. You would also want to keep the roof simple. A crawlspace or slab foundation is less money to build than a basement. A simple 2-story home is less to build per square foot than a comparable 1-story due to less roof and foundation area.

Q: What is the difference between 'mirror' reverse and 'right reading reverse'?

Logo MHPMHP: Reversing a plan is the same whether it is Right Reading or Mirrored. In both cases, the structure is flipped so that all areas are on the opposite side of the existing drawing. Mirror reverse is done when plans are hand-drawn. The prints can be run flipped, but there is no way to also flip the text. Therefore, when we mirror a plan, all of the numbers and text read backwards. Right Reading Reverse is also flipped, but because the plan is drawn with a CAD program, we have the ability to flip the text and numbers so that they read properly.

Q: I'm confused about whether to purchase a Reproducible Master, a PDF, or a CAD file. Can you help me figure out which one I should buy?

Logo MHPMHP: All three of these plan set types come with a Copyright Release so that you or someone you hire have permission to make changes to the plans and then print them for use. PDF's (if available) are becoming more popular because you save shipping cost and delivery time. The designer e-mails the plans directly to you with the Copyright Release so that you can print the number of sets you need locally. You can have the copies printed on erasable vellum so that minor changes can be made. A Reproducible Master is the vellum that the designer prints and then ships to you. A CAD file is recommended when you want to make more than minor changes. Although a CAD file costs more, it is likely the professional you hire to make changes for you will be able to work faster with a CAD File, thus saving you money. Many designers, architects, and engineers have done-away-with their drawing boards and will only work with CAD files. Before you order, make sure you ask the professional you hire which method he will use to make changes. In all cases, your license to build will be for one house only (unless you purchase a plan with unlimited builds).

Q: What is your return/exchange policy?

Logo MHPMHP: Refund / Exchange Policy: Plans printed by's designers are refundable within 10 business days of purchase under the following conditions: Plans are in their sealed, original packaging and have not been opened (to be determined by the firm that shipped the original order). Customer will pay a 20% re-stocking fee plus all shipping charges. Reproducibles, CAD Files & PDF's are not refundable under any circumstances due to copyright issues. Plans ordered from may be exchanged within 30 days of purchase under the following conditions: Upon designer approval, customer may exchange for a plan within the same designer's collection (plan number to have same prefix). Customer will pay 20- 40% of the amount of the original order for re-stocking, plus the difference in cost if exchanging for a higher priced plan. Customer will also be responsible for all shipping charges. Reproducibles, CAD Files & PDF's are not exchangeable under any circumstances due to copyright issues.

Q: Why is it that when I add up all of the room dimensions, I come up with less square footage than you state the plan has?

Logo MHPMHP: Living square footage is calculated to the exterior surface of the heated walls. You probably have not included spaces such as hallways, linen closets, stairways and interior walls. All of these areas are considered part of the living square footage. Our designers are very careful to calculate this figure accurately.

Q: Why isn't engineering included with my plans?

Logo MHPMHP: The simple answer is that we cannot anticipate where plans will be built. If our plans were engineered for every location in North America, they would be over-kill and cost you thousands of dollars more to build than they should. Why should a house being built in Arizona be engineered for hurricanes? Why should a house being built in San Diego have beams designed for snow loads in Alaska? Why should a house being built in Detroit be engineered to withstand an 8.0 earthquake? You will be saving thousands of dollars by purchasing a pre-drawn stock house plan. Yes, you may still need to take that additional step and hire an engineer to review the plans for compliance in the area where you plan to build, but you'll still be saving a bundle on the architectural fee.

Q: Are mechanical details such as plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical included with the plans?

Logo MHPMHP: Plans will show the location of plumbing fixtures, lights, switches & outlets. They will not include the location of plumbing pipes and risers, nor will they show an electrical wiring diagram or panel location. This information must be determined locally by your builder, electrician and plumber based on the foundation you build and local requirements. Location and type of HVAC units (heating and air conditioning) will also be determined by local conditions and requirements. Note: Some designers do not show any electrical on the plans due to builder preferences in their area. If this is an issue, please check with us before ordering plans.

Q: How do I view my Favorite Plans?

Logo MHPMHP: Simply sign into your account with your username and password. This will display all of the plans that you have saved. Here you can add comments or delete saved plans.

Q: Help! I've forgotten my password.

Logo MHPMHP: No problem! Just send an email to We can't see your password, but we can reset it. We will assign a new password so you can access your account and saved plans. Once you have successfully logged in, you can change your password to anything you choose.

Q: Can I modify a set of house plans?

Logo MHPMHP: In almost all cases, yes. You may obtain a Modification Request from our designers by clicking the "Modify This Plan" button located just below the front view of the plan you are interested in. We will get back to you with a quote as soon as we get it from the designer which is usually within two days.

Q: Do your plans have everything I need to get my permits?

Logo MHPMHP: It's hard to say. It is quite possible that you will require location-specific engineering for your plan. For example, if you are building on the West Coast, your plan will most likely need seismic engineering. If you are building on the Gulf or Atlantic Coast, you will most likely need wind/hurricane engineering. If you're building in an area that experiences heavy snow loads, you will need to have beams checked to make sure they accommodate local requirements. Another climate factor is area-specific energy codes that need to be addressed. In all of these cases, you will need to consult with a professional licensed in your state. We recommend you check with your building department prior to purchasing plans so that you know what they will expect plans to include. Special restrictions apply in Nevada. Please call your local building department for further information before ordering plans for use in Nevada.

Q: What do you mean when you refer to 'total square footage'?

Logo MHPMHP: The total square footage of a house plan is the total of the areas inside the exterior face of the heated walls. It does not include areas like bonus rooms, basements, garages, porches, or decks. You cannot determine the actual square footage of a house by adding the square feet of each room because it does not include the interior walls, stairways, linen closets, etc.

Q: How can I get a Material List for the plan I want to order?

Logo MHPMHP: If a Material List is available, you will be able to order it from the Order Page. If one is not available, the lumber yard you select to purchase your lumber from will probably do it for free as a service for purchasing your lumber from them. We also offer a complete material list with our 3-D Intelligent House Plan® model that can be added to your order.

Display FAQs per page: