Many homes in Kelowna are built from stock house plans purchased from home plan books. But do these affordable, mass-produced plans actually save homeowner’s money? The answer to that question really does depend. If you are the type of investor who wants to live in a gated community of row-houses, then a stock house plan is a beautiful thing. When it comes to investing $500k, $1M or more in building a new residence, then browsing through that plan book might not be the best solution. Here is why.
A catalogue plan could be ideal where addressing specific site-characteristics is not important, like on a flat property with no view. However, in the Okanagan valley and much of British Columbia the homesite dictates a great deal respecting the basic layout of a home. It is common to see a home in Kelowna, perched on a nice property, that hasn’t taken the potential view into consideration. Living spaces that should enjoy the surrounding landscapes, don’t. Others have inappropriately sized windows or large expanses of glass that are unprotected from the scorching afternoon sun. So there are two key aspects that highlight the benefits of a custom designed home. Livability ( and in turn, resale value ) plus efficiency ( space and energy ) are important factors to consider when investing in the construction of a new dwelling for you and your family.
At resale many designer homes fetch 10-30% more than similarly sized, non-designer homes built with comparable materials. The model has been proven in other industries. For instance, a stylized, well thought through performance automobile, will command a higher price-point in the market than an everyday family sedan. Likewise, designer labelled clothing commands a higher dollar than similar garments from Walmart or Asda because they provide the wearer with a tailored, unique look. In general designer products are identifiable and add personality. If your home design captures a pleasing, identifiable personality, when it comes up for sale, the built home will appeal to a greater number and greater variety of buyers.
Further, a good residential designer will know how to shield a home from the elements, and in turn the client, from sizable maintenance and energy bills. Proper ventilation, sun protection, thermal bridging and massing; even landscaping features or color selection all contribute to how a building endures in it’s natural environment.
Additionally, hiring an architect and spending 10% or more on your home design may not be necessary. For most homes a well-respected residential designer can achieve a comparable, often more livable design for a fee of 3 to 5%. So in short, before you decide that having a designer home is not in your budget or that it is an unwise investment, take a moment and consider all the current and future factors that surround your project.