Buy a Home Plan or Hire an Architect?

Hooray! You’re building a custom home! A slew of questions have probably already been answered; such as, the location of the build site, budget, and timeframe. Now it is time to get down to the nitty gritty details of your custom home: size, must-haves, number of bedrooms, layout, basement, and on and on. From here, you have two options. The first is to buy a stock plan, previously designed by a licensed architect or designer. The second option is to purchase a custom drawn plan, where you sit down with an architect and discuss your family’s specific needs. Outlined below are the pros and cons of each of these options to help you determine which is the best route for you and your loved ones.

Custom Drawn Plans

The description is in its name: custom drawn plan. This option will lead you to a licensed building designer or architect who will sit with you to discuss your lifestyle. Do you spend a lot of time at home? Do you work at home? What are your 5 and 10 year goals? Do you like to entertain? The architect will compile all of your answers and draw a plan specifically for your family. 


  • Specifically drawn for the homeowner’s lifestyle and design preferences
  • Special needs may be included; such as extra-large master closet, wheelchair accessible, etc.


  • Considerably more costly than stock plans
  • Significantly more time consuming
  • Influenced by their taste and style preference
  • Potential conflicts with builder

Stock Plans

Stock plans are house plans that have been designed for a general group of people, based on features often requested by homeowners. Rather than being drawn for a particular family, these plans appeal to the masses. Stock plans provide a better value with much less time spent in meetings with your designer.


  • Cost savings; spend budget dollars on your home rather than meetings
  • Ability to customize a plan without starting from scratch
  • Built to IRC code
  • Simple and fast purchase process


  • Might need additional information to meet local regulations
  • Not as customizable as custom drawn plan

Either option gets you closer to the end goal, a custom home of your dreams. The choice made will ultimately be yours. Thousands of online plans will get you headed in the right direction, and if you’re able to save a few pennies in the process, that is a win win.