We've all been there. You're looking at a house and say, "Oh! I like that!" and then you move on with the buts:
"...but I want a bigger kitchen."
"...but I don't like the garage there."
"...but I was hoping for a covered porch."
Our large collection of house plans has something for everyone, but every once in a while, you may want to make a tweak or two to the plan. That's why we've compiled a list of the top 10 questions we get about house plan modifications.
This 3-bedroom, 2004-sq.-ft. Country style home features not one but TWO porches. You may not find much of anything you want to change, but if you do, it’s easy (Plan #142-1158)!
1. Communication of Mods
Q: After browsing the house plans on theplancollection.com, I've come up with one that I really like but would like to make some changes. How do I let you know what changes I want?
A: You can definitely call our toll-free number at 866-787-2023, but most of our customers prefer to use our online form. To do this, you'll need to go to our site and locate the plan you want to use. You can use our search function to locate it by typing in the seven-digit plan number or by searching for it manually.
Once you’re on the plan detail page, scroll down past the House Description and click on the green button that says "Modify This Plan." That button will bring you right to the Modify This Plan page where you will need to fill out a few boxes to give us some information. We'll need your name and contact info, as well as a description about what you want changed.
When you're on the plan detail page of the plan to which you're interested in making changes, scroll down until you see this button. Click on it to begin your modification process.
Be as descriptive as possible with the changes you want made. For example, "Push out the porch 10 feet and add a fireplace." Specific details go a long way. Submitting a sketch of the changes is also greatly appreciated, and there's a place to do that within the form.
After you're done writing the information, click "Submit For Free Quote!" It will go straight to us, and we’ll get back to you within two to three business days with a cost estimate at no charge or obligation.
After clicking the Modify This Plan button, you will be brought to this page for communicating your changes to us. Fill out the personal information and describe the changes you want to make, and we will send you a free quote for the cost of the changes directly to your email inbox.
2. Kinds of Mods
Q: What types of changes can I make to the home plans?
A: We can handle pretty much anything you throw at us, within reason. The only stumbling block for you may be the cost to make the changes. The more complicated the changes, the more expensive they will be (see below).
One major issue we run up against is shrinking down the house plan significantly. That’s costly, and you will usually be better off finding a similar house plan that is closer to your size requirements. There are also certain requirements, for door entrances, stairways, and hallways for example, that must be up to national guidelines, and those changes – if not within the guidelines – are non-negotiable.
3. Price Tag
Q: Okay, let's talk numbers. How much will a modification to the floor plans cost?
A: As easy as it would be to say that all modifications are a flat rate, that's not the case. Our designers and architects have to take in some major considerations and do the math to make sure the house is up to code and sustains the changes. With most modifications, you can expect the changes to add $150–$300 to the price of the home plan. Complicated or more significant changes like moving exterior walls to add square footage, can add $500–$600 or more.
Submit a "Modify This Plan" form to get an accurate (and free!) quote for your modifications.
Reversing this 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath Contemporary style home is an affordable change, as it has a standard right-reading-reverse option for $150. Other changes, like changing the exterior walls to block construction or raising the ceiling hight of the interior would be more costly (Plan #202-1013).
Q: How soon will I get my modified home plans?
A: We get it. Building a home is one long timeline, and there are deadlines that others are banking on along the way. With modifications, you can expect to get your plans back between 5 and 15 business days in most cases. Some of the larger modifications, such as those that include moving or eliminating exterior or load-bearing walls, may take a bit longer. We always give you a time estimate when you give you your quote. When you chat with our designer about your modifications once you place your order, they'll be able to give you a closer idea of when you can expect the final plans.
5. Degree of Customization
Q: Do I have to pay a fee for small tweaks like making a window larger?
A: Most often, you won’t have to pay extra for small changes like making a window a bit larger, moving a door, or making minor changes to the interior of a room.
Typically, these sorts of changes are called redlining and will be marked in by your builder on the plans. Because redlining the plans is unofficial (meaning not approved by the local building department) you may run into trouble, depending on your local codes. Some building departments have rules and regulations that state you must document each change – no matter how small – to the plan, and they'll need to approve it before you can build (especially with beachfront properties). In instances like that, you may be better off paying a modification fee and having our team of designers make those changes for you before you submit the plans for approval.
Some changes can be made by your builder by marking up the plan to show the modifications in red ink. It's best to have your builder make these changes before you submit the plans to the local building department for approval. But in many cases, that's not necessary. Check with your building inspector for what's required in your area (courtesy of McNemar House).
6. To Modify or Not to Modify
Q: Should I make redline changes if the codes in my area allow it? Is there any danger in it?
A: Redline changes are more dangerous to your wallet than your safety. Redline changes are actually quite common, and your builder should be used to them. The danger comes in when the builder makes the changes to their master set of plans but not to the plans that they've already distributed among their crew.
This may lead to a member of the crew framing a window that is actually too small for the new one that was ordered – or something similar – which leads to more work, time, and money on the backend.
This 4-Bedroom, 2.5-bath, 2173-sq.-ft. Country style farmhouse with wraparound porch has multiple foundation options (basement and daylight basement add $250), and the house plans can be reversed for $150 (Plan #153-1781).
7. Foundation Choices
Q: I need a different type of foundation. Am I able to change the foundation option?
A: Many of our house plans come with a choice of foundation options. If you find that the plan you want to purchase doesn't have the foundation option you need, reach out to us. It may be that we have that foundation option available but just haven't put it online yet.
If the foundation option is not available, you will need to purchase the plans and have them modified for between $150 and $300.
Foundation (top) choices – slab, crawlspace, basement, daylight (or walkout) basement, piers, and more – are options on many plans (dropdown menu, bottom), although some just offer one or two. Where options are available, they are flat rates. If you don't see an option you want in the drop-down menu, it will need to be an extra-cost quoted modification.
8. Simple Reverse
Q: I love the home design I’ve chosen but want it in reverse. Is that possible?
A: Absolutely! In fact, many of our plans have the standard option to purchase the plan in right-reading reverse or a mirror image, in which case the text will also be reversed. Some of our plans do not have this option, however, and you will need to pay between $150 or more plus the cost of the plans to get them modified with right-reading reverse.
Many plans came with standard options, such as mirror reverse, right-reading reverse, and others that have flat rates. The drop-down options menu above shows the selection available for this plan #141-1081
Q: How many modifications can I make to a plan?
A: Not every plan is perfect for everyone, so it’s not unusual that modifications will need to be made. There really is no limit except cost: the more changes you make the more expensive it may be to make them. If you find that you need quite a bit, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We have seen many modifications in our day, and we can help you determine which can be redline changes and which you will need to pay for. But it’s completely normal to make more than a few modifications to a plan.
You can make as many modifications to a house plan as you like, as long as you don't mind paying for them, For a house like this 4-bedroom, 3-bath Craftsman inspired county home, you might find out you don't need any mods (Plan #198-1083).
10. Custom Home
Q: Am I able to make a completely custom house plan?
A: The short answer is, yes – if you’re wiling to pay the price, which will be much, much more than the cost of a pre-designed stock house plan. We have a large network of talented designers and architects that we would be more than happy to refer you to. Just give contact us or call our toll-free number, and we'll get you connected with one in your area.
Hopefully you've got your home modification questions answered. Do you have more questions? We'll be happy to answer them! Reach out to us at 866-787-2023 or visit our contact page to shoot us a message.