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Top 9 Exterior Remodels that may Require a Site Plan to Get a Building Permit

Major exterior remodeling upgrades such as building a new deck, adding a sun room or reshaping the landscape architecture on your property are exciting and fun, but these projects can go a lot smoother if you have a solid plan in place before any work is done. In many municipal districts i.e. local cities and towns, the local government will normally require a building permit to be “pulled” aka obtained prior to any major remodeling work commencing. Wait, What’s a Building Permit Anyways? A building permit provides a legal verification that the proposed project and its explicit plans meet the local building code requirements and state ordinances. Often times, many homeowners aren’t sure which projects require a permit and which don’t. Not surprisingly, most major projects do. It’s always prudent to contact your local zoning office to double check if your upcoming project(s) will require a permit. Doing this in advance can streamline the process, as approval can sometimes take weeks. When is the Building Permit Required? As a very general rule of thumb, most municipalities go with a figure of $5,000. If your project is priced at over $5,000, then plan on having to get a building permit. But, even if it costs less than that, you may still need one. Remodeling projects where building permits are almost always required include: yard fences over 3 feet tall, room additions, decks, garages, sheds, new windows and siding (to name a few). Upgrades that normally don’t require a permit are: installing hardwood floors or carpeting, minor electrical repairs, interior painting and/or wallpapering. What Happens If I Don’t Pull a Building Permit? Not having a building permit pulled for a project that actually needed one can have major repercussions for you later on. For instance, if you decide to sell your home at some point in the future, then any major upgrades for which the permit was not pulled, could open you up to a law suit, unless you disclose all the “unapproved” upgrades prior to the sale. If a home inspection or appraisal discovers an “unapproved” upgrade (especially, if on top of not having the permit pulled for, the upgrade in question is not in compliance with the local building code), then the buyer’s loan could be denied until or unless the project is remedied in such a way that a proper building permit is obtained. In other words, a time consuming process that could cost the seller a lot of money. There are also potential issues with your home insurance company denying a serious claim and nullifying your policy for non-compliance with the local building code requirements i.e. not pulling the permit and knowingly engaging in unauthorized improvements to your property. A Site Plan Can Help You “Hack” and Speed Up the Whole Building Permit Obtaining Process Part of what obtaining a building permit for some of the larger, outdoor home improvement projects may be significantly less painful — less costly — less time consuming, if you provide a site plan to accompany the proposed renovation. […]

Privacy Fence Ideas and Costs for Your Home, Garden and Backyard, Plus Pros and Cons of Each Fence Type

Yard fences come in a wide variety of materials and styles that can accent and compliment the look of any home. Fences contribute to safety, security, peace of mind, curb appeal and overall style of your home. Before delving into various types of privacy fences and their styles, we have to examine local construction ordinances. Let’s briefly address these considerations first, and then get to the top fence types for residential properties as well as their costs and pros and cons. […]

By | March 18th, 2017|Gates and Fences|0 Comments

What is a Site Plan? 12 Elements of a Smart Plot Plan, Plus a Floor Plan vs. a Site Plan — What’s the Difference?

Home and property improvements can result in significant changes to your residence and outdoor space including landscaping and backyard. Whether you do the work yourself or hire an architect, builder, or a contractor, the desired change to your property normally starts with a plan. And part of that plan is knowing the existing territory and layout of your property and understanding how it will be improved or altered. — This is where a site plan comes into the picture. In a Nutshell A site plan is a readable map or a residential diagram depicting the plot of land on which the house sits, along with landscape topography and any exterior features or structures such as a detached garage, in-ground swimming pool, large trees, fencing, utility poles and power lines, driveways, easements, etc. […]

By | March 12th, 2017|Plot Plans|0 Comments

Top 20 Big Ticket Home Improvement Ideas and Their Costs in 2017

Spring is just around the corner, which means that now is the perfect time to start planning to tackle your next major home improvement project! 😉 With that being said, here the top 20 big ticket home improvement ideas, plus their costs including materials and professional installation. 1. Building a Garage: Detached vs. Attached There is one important consideration to take into the account: building an attached vs. a detached garage. All things being equal a detached garage will cost more to build vs. an attached one. If you opt for a detached garage, expect to pay between $25,000 and $40,000 for labor and materials. But, on top of that, you may also have to plan additional expenses for plumbing, electrical wiring, and heating, if you want to use the garage for more than just storage purposes. The average cost to build a detached garage is $40 per sq. ft. […]

Small House Movement: The Cost to Build a Tiny House – DIY Options – What to Expect

"Yea, I know what a tiny house is, I live in one." Many people who wake up every day in cramped living quarters feel like they ARE living in tiny houses. But there are folks, more and more as the years trickle by, who seek out smaller spaces, wanting a simpler, more efficient life. These [...]

By | January 8th, 2017|Design, Green Home Ideas, Green Living, Tiny Houses|0 Comments

Top 15 Solar Powered Home Designs, Plus their Costs, and Pros and Cons – Solar Power Ideas

Fossil fuel belongs to the past. The third millennium is, or at least can be, focused on alternative energy sources. PV solar power is one of the cheapest and most popular renewable energy sources for homes. Thanks to dramatic reductions in the cost of solar energy on a per watt basis over the last several years, the number of homes outfitted with PV solar panels has increased almost exponentially, especially in parts of the country that enjoy longer sun hour days, such as southern California. Below are just some of the reasons why you may want to consider getting a solar power system for your home: you can greatly reduce or even eliminate your energy bills entirely protect yourself against potentially-increasing energy prices increase property value protect the environment stay off the grid Solar Power System Installation Costs: In terms, of anticipated expenses, PV solar panel cost per watt have decreased from about $8 to $10 range in 2010 to about $4 per watt today. The average solar energy system size in the U.S is approximately 5 kilowatts (kW). Based on the average price of $3.57/watt, a 5kW system would cost $12,500 after tax credits. Below are some average quotes for other, differently-sized solar energy systems by size: 6kW solar energy system cost: $15,000 8kW solar energy system cost: $20,000 10kW solar energy system cost: $25,000 Now, let’s have a look at the top 15 solar powered homes in the US: Gibsonia, Pennsylvania Residence Image via Solar World USA This house has an impressive size and would not be suitable for urban settings. It belongs in the middle of nature surrounded by vegetation. 56 x 275W mono solar panels were installed on the rooftop in  June, 2014. The system provides a total power of 15.4 kW and has SMA America inverters.  The roof was sturdy enough to hold so many panels and the entire job was done with aesthetics in mind. The house is built of wood and combines rough straight lines with round curves. There are plenty of windows and a screened porch to make the connection between the inside and the outdoors. The house was built on a small hill thus having uneven heights. Cannon Beach, Oregon Residence Image via Inhabitat If you are looking for a design that says “these people are off the grid,” you have just found it. You don’t see this everywhere. This design screams uniqueness and it makes you think about those people who enjoy life in the middle of the woods. The curved roof didn’t pose any problems during the installation of the solar panels. The house was built with sustainable materials such as FSC certified wood, fly-ash, and reclaimed timbers. It even has a green roof that provides additional insulation, fire resistance and rainwater absorption. The grass is not very visible from this angle, but you can slightly see some plants on the top roof. The heating system relies on the 5.9kW power of the PV panels, and so does the electrical system of the house. […]

By | December 16th, 2016|Design, Energy Efficient Homes, Going Solar|0 Comments

Top 20 Tiny Home Designs and their Costs – Smart Green Living Ideas

If you don't want or can’t afford a brand spanking new, five bedroom home that occupies 4,000 sq. ft., don’t despair! ;) There’s still a chance for you to live the American dream! Let us present the top 20 professionally designed tiny houses. It’s true that a family of four will have problems living in [...]

Top 15 Prefab Home Designs, and their Costs – Modern Home Design & Architecture

While having a custom-designed home might seem like the golden standard in terms of getting that beautiful and exquisite architecture, design, and decor elements, there are many good reasons why you might opt for a prefab house instead. First of all, you have to consider the cost. Building a custom house requires you to pay 15-30% more. Then, there is the significantly longer time frame necessary to build a custom house from scratch. With prefab houses, you simply order the kit, and then you can actually put the pieces together by yourself, provided that you have some construction experience. If you don’t, you’ll have to hire professionals to get the work done. Either way, you will pay less for labor, not to mention that you can completely bypass the costs related to the actual design of the house. Architects are not that cheap to hire, so if the whole prefab house idea doesn’t make you happy, you should expect to give 8-15% of the project value to the architect. If you are planning on building a house worth $100,000 you would be paying an extra $8,000-$15,000 to the architect. If this doesn’t chip away at your enthusiasm, then you are probably making the right call. Anyway, for all of you who are on board with the prefab home idea, we scoured the internet for 15 designs that will show you don’t have to wait years to have a brand new home. The HOMB House Image via Method Homes Developed by Method Homes and Skylab Architecture, this design comes in different sizes. Regardless of size, the house will be made of 100 sq. ft. triangular models that can be transported hundreds of miles away from the construction site. If you are looking for the cost effective option, the 1 bedroom 900 sq. ft. XS model is perfect for a couple with no kids. However, you have to think about the future, which is why the 3-bedroom M model would be more suitable if you think you will expand your family in the future. Besides, the M, L and XL models offer garage space. The very essence of the design is to combine coziness with some pragmatism, and we can say they nailed it. A great feature of the HOMB house is that regardless of how small it is you always get at least 400 sq. ft. of deck space. How awesome is it to wake up in the morning to drink your coffee on your deck watching the sun come up? It’s not only very romantic but also relaxing. Such an experience fuels you up for the entire day that lies ahead of you. It’s important to note that in many cases it may be necessary to provide a site plan to obtain various home building permits from your city hall or township. You can turn to 24h Plans to get a custom site plan drawing prepared for your dream home in less than 24 hours by our team of experienced architects and drafters. Use the promotion code: 24hplans-20off to get a 20% discount off any package. — Please note this is a limited time offer, exclusive to the readers of our blog. This offer is not being advertised anywhere else. […]

By | December 6th, 2016|Architecture, House Design, House Plans, Modular Homes, Prefab Homes|0 Comments

Top 15 Custom Homes, Plus their Design and Decor Elements, and Costs

Custom homes allow consumers to control everything from size to layout and interior design. In most cases, the buyer already owns a land lot on which the house will be built. It’s important that the architect sees the lot or at least a site plan before starting the design process. Expect to meet with him several times, because good communication between the architect and the buyer is the key for a successful collaboration. If your dream is to have a one-of-a-kind house, you have no other choice but to get a custom made home plan. You will have to pay an architect to design your plan, and then contract a builder to actually build the house. You could look for professional home builders that offer both design and build services in order to simplify the whole process. When asked “how do you want your house to look like?”, many people lack the words to enunciate their desires or they don’t even have a specific image in mind. We are going to jog your imagination by presenting 15 models of custom built home. The trend is for custom builders to build high-end homes but you will find decent companies who will take a project estimated at less than $1 million. All of the following designs can be built with that sum or less. The construction cost of a custom home ranges between $200 and $400 per sq. ft. depending on multiple factors such as the average price in that area, the quality of the materials, specific design requests that are tricky to build etc. The cost of hiring an architect to make the plan of the house ranges between $0.75 (western Texas) and $3.5 (southern California) per sq. ft. depending on what state you live in. Other factors that affect the price of hiring an architect relate to his experience. Architects can charge an hourly fee or a percentage of the value of a project (5-15%). An intern architect with 3-5 years of experience charges around $65 per hour whereas a project manager with more than 10 years of experience charges close to $100 per hour. Acacia Avenue Custom Home Image via Patterson Custom Homes What better way to start the list than with a contemporary design? Built in the Corona del Mar neighborhood of Newport Beach, this custom home has 2 levels above ground, one of which is represented by the roof deck that was beautifully decorated for the taste of anyone who enjoys modern designs. This compensates for the small are of green space in front of the house, thus making it perfect for small land lots or neighborhoods where houses are tightly packed. The big windows play a major role in this design that’s mainly comprised of straight long lines. This rectangular appearance is sweetened by curvy interior elements. If you take a look inside, you will notice the central concept of openness alongside more transparent glass surfaces. It’s important to note that in many cases it may be necessary to provide a site plan to obtain various home building permits from your city hall or township. You can turn to 24h Plans to get a custom site plan drawing prepared for your dream home in less than 24 hours by our team of experienced architects and drafters. Use the promotion code: 24hplans-20off to get a 20% discount off any package. — Please note this is a limited time offer, exclusive to the readers of our blog. This offer is not being advertised anywhere else. […]

By | November 21st, 2016|Architecture, Design, Home Designs, House Design|0 Comments

Top 15 Garage Designs and DIY Ideas, Plus their Costs in 2016 – Smart Home Improvements

A garage is one of the most-commonly overlooked structures when it comes improving and remodeling a house or buying a new one. More attention is paid to the inside of the house and the garage is just something that’s supposed to exist. Because of this superficial attitude, many home owners later realize they should’ve taken a second look at the garage before making the purchase or a major home improvement decision. Luckily, it’s not difficult to build a new garage. It’s a significant investment however, which is why you have to put a lot of thought into this project. We are here to give you a hand in finding out what you really want. Let us present 15 garage plans, each with its pros and cons. The most common dissatisfaction reasons relate to the size of the garage, because you may say “it’s fine, I don’t have much stuff anyways”, until you have to actually fit everything in there. That’s often when you realize that you have a lot of stuff to store, which may force you to park the car in the driveway. 😉 Drive-thru garage Images via The Garage Plan Shop Here is a 4439 sq. ft. drive-thru garage on a slab foundation. The gable style roof has a truss frame. The front of the garage is made of brick whereas the other walls can be made of wood. The inside of the garage is not compartmentalized in any way. Building 1 sq. ft. of brick wall costs $ which is higher than the price of 1 sq. ft. of wooden wall. The garage can shelter 1 car and it has 2 entries at either side of the building. This design is suitable for properties with access to 2 different streets. The plan costs $500 and the cost to build is estimated at $200,000 because of its huge size. 1-Car gable roof garage Images via The Garage Plan Shop Here’s a much smaller gable style garage on slab foundation. The property measures 424 sq. ft. featuring one large door for vehicles and one smaller door for human use. There are no interior walls and the roof is built on stick framing. The design is perfect for those who want storage space and enough room to shelter a car from bad weather. There is a considerable amount of empty space left along the wall after you park the car inside. You are free to add cabinetry, a counter and even a workbench. The space can be used to open your own car repair shop if you give up on keeping your own car inside. The garage walls are made entirely of brick. You will see this design more often in European countries because Americans prefer wood as building material but why not bring some innovation into your neighborhood? The plan costs $350 and the estimated cost-to-build rises up to $22,000. Modern 1-car garage with sloped roof Images via The Garage Plan Shop This design offers 432 sq. ft. of unheated space on monolithic slab. The roof is framed with truss trusses featuring a rather contemporary design that fits modern houses. Gable style roofs are known to be perfect for rainy or snowy areas because the slope doesn’t not allow snow and/or rain to stop on top of the building. This type of roof design serves this purpose too, but not as well as gable style roofs. There’s a door dedicated to human use, which is a great idea considering the garage is not attached to the house. The walls seem to be made of a combination of wood and brick that go well together. The plan costs $250 and the construction price rises up to $24,000. […]

By | November 9th, 2016|Architecture, Design, Garages, Home Additions|0 Comments