Most if not all of us have at one time wanted to design our own house; one that is uniquely designed for exactly the way we want to live. But designing your own home can be overwhelming and expensive. If you have a very limited budget then consider these this list of money saving tactics before you consider a reduction in quality.
A home cannot be built without plans. Many people believe that the only people qualified for that is a licensed architect. But it is simply not true in most cases. In Michigan, you do not need to be a licensed professional to design homes with 3500 sf or less. That is a very large home and the vast majority of single family homes in Michigan fall far below that size. You should research your states specific requirements.
If in your location you do not need a licensed professional, you can in fact draw the plans yourself or contact the builder that will be doing the construction. They typically do not need to be fancy professional prints. They just need to properly indicate that the plans follow all local and applicable building codes in order to get a building permit.
Another option is to look for students training to become architects, builders or contractors. Many times they are very eager to do the work for a little extra cash in their pockets and a big savings for yours. They also have the benefit of recent knowledge of building codes and practices. If you are having problems finding students, reach out to local trade schools or universities that teach design or drafting courses.
A third option is to purchase pre-made plans from the internet or from a building supply company. The plans they offer vary in price, scope and style. You should be very skeptical of how this particular plan will fit within your site. You want to be sure that the windows and doors are properly located so that the house plan will ultimately be perfect for that site. For example, if you are building on a busy corner lot you want to be aware that the bedrooms may need to be on a different side of the house to reduce noise.
Most of the online designers do offer customization of plans to some degree. But you should be aware of what customizations they can or will make and of any additional cost you may incur. This particular option is usually the most expensive of these three but will still save you money over the expensive fees of a professional designer. Especially if you just want an economical yet practical solution for your new home.