Custom Homes, Spec Houses and Modifications

Custom Homes, Spec Houses and Modifications

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Custom Homes, Spec Houses and Modifications

Published at May 15 2024 by JFord

When you are looking at house plans or looking for a new home, sometimes you see what you think is going to be THE one. You see the plan and you’re like “Yes! This is it!" You start envisioning your furniture in the house. Start thinking about you and your family spending time in the house. You’re excited. You want this house. And then you realize the Master Bedroom’s closet is too small. Or the Kitchen needs more space so you can have a pantry. Or there aren’t enough windows. Or you realize that what you are looking for is an updated version of the house you grew up in. That’s when you definitely need to call the experts.

No, not the Ghostbusters. You need to call us here at Nelson Design Group. We specialize in custom homes and modifications to our plans. We modify plans and design custom homes every day. We have a team of designers lead by award winning designer Michael E. Nelson. They are here to make your dream home become a reality.

House Plan featured above is La Maison Point (SMN 1022).

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Common Modification Questions

  • What is a modification?
  • A modification is when you want to make changes to an existing plan. If you want to make changes to a plan, all you have to do is give us a call. We are always ready to help.

  • Is it like those modification apps? You just click and move the stuff around and you’re done, right?
  • We certainly wish it was that simple. Each plan that is modified actually takes several hours of intense work from our designers. It’s not just walls and windows that get moved. We design our plans to make it easy on builders and to follow international building codes.

    Even with CAD programs it can be difficult to take something and move it on a house plan. Sometimes the designers have to take the plan apart and completely redo it from scratch.

  • After the changes are done, am I stuck with the result?
  • Goodness, no! We are designing YOUR dream home. You are going to be a part of the design every step of the way. We don’t want you to ever be unhappy with what you receive.

  • Can I speak with my designer?
  • Of course! We do want to let you know that our designers are sometimes working on multiple clients at a time. It’s better to call and setup an appointment or send them an email. They get really busy.

  • Do you offer rush services?
  • Of course, but there is a fee that can be applied. This fee is calculated on the time allotted for the design. The rush service is also dependent on you. We need your feedback through many stages of the design process. So watch your email or keep an eye on your phone.

  • How long will it take to receive my plans?
  • That’s hard to answer. There are a lot of variables in place with each modification. It all depends on the season, the number of clients and the complexity of the modification. We can give you a custom time frame that is specific to your modification. Again, this is all based on the approval process.

  • What if I decide to add something to the process?
  • Small changes, like those during the approval process, are already a part of the modification estimate. Any major revisions require us to reassess the modification estimate and account for extra time. That will mean more cost added to the fee. Don’t worry, though. You will be quoted a balance before we bill you.

  • How do you decide how much to charge for a modification?
  • We charge a flat fee for the entire project. This flat fee is based on the complexity of the project, not by an hourly rate. The flat fee will be broken down by how you want your plans delivered and the type of modifications that have been requested. If a modification is added during the design process and the designer requires extra time to work on it, this is billed at the hourly rate.

Unique House

Custom Homes or Spec Houses

Custom homes are homes that are created entirely from scratch. These designs put the dream in dream home. Many people ask if we are able to design plans from custom homes and the answer is, yes. Our team of designers is always looking for a challenge and spec houses challenge them to do something new.

Custom homes usually start with a sketch or a description. Some are houses that are being recreated from childhood memories. Maybe you want a house that looks exactly like your grandparents’ house but you can’t find the blueprints anywhere.

Or maybe you want a recording studio in your home and can’t find a plan with a room for soundproofing? Or maybe you would really like to have a dedicated man-cave (or indoor she-shed) that is made to your specifications.

That’s where our team comes in. Nelson Design Group can help design your dream home, no matter how complicated or how simple.

The custom design process is a lengthy one. We want to make sure that every step that we take is towards your goal. Just hang in there with us and we can make it happen.


Modification Process

The modification process typically proceeds in a very step by step manner. It’s a linear process where each next step depends on the previous one. Let’s walk through it.

  1. Client chooses the plan and lets us know what part of the plan they would like modified.
  2. That’s you! So you pick out the plan that is closest to what your dream home looks like and let us know how to craft that dream home out of it.

  3. Then a Nelson Design Group representative provides a quote for the changes made to the plan.
  4. After processing the order, the client receives the stock plan files for reference.
  5. You’ll be able to see where exactly you are making the changes as they are being made.

  6. The Nelson Design Group representative will give a sketch of the client’s changes to the designers.
  7. The representative will be able to explain to the designers exactly what you are wanting.

  8. Our designers update the floor plan.
  9. This is the first draft of the changes.

  10. Client receives the first draft of the plan for review.
  11. Everything is in your hands now. You make all the calls. If you want something to change at this point this is when it happens. We plan on changes being made during the process. We love your input and want to make sure that this is the home of your dreams. Once you have approved the changes, the plan is sent back to the designers for more work.

  12. Now the designer updates the elevations of the home.
  13. Elevations are how the house will sit on the land and how high up the land needs to be on the home itself. This is the second draft of the plan.

  14. Once again, the updated plan is sent to you.
  15. This is when you want to make sure that everything has been done the way you want it to be done. This is your house and it’s an investment. We want you happy with the entire process. Once you approve the changes to your plan, it is sent back to us.

  16. Now the designer finishes off each page of the plan.
  17. This includes the roof, electrical and foundation pages. This is the final draft and it usually takes the longest time to finish. This work is very detailed oriented and our designer will want to make sure they get it right.

  18. For the last time, the plan will be sent to you for approval.
  19. This final draft will include all of the details of building a house on several pages. You’ll want to check every little detail and make sure it’s what you want. Once you give the “ok", you can send it back to us and we’ll go over it with a fine tooth comb.

  20. The last stage in the process is for our owner and lead designer Michael E. Nelson to go over your plan.
  21. The plan won’t leave the building until it is up to his standards. Once he approves, your designer will get your files together and have them sent to you within hours.

  22. Now you can build your dream home!

New House

Custom Homes/Spec Houses Design Process

The process to have a custom design done is very similar except we don’t start with an existing plan. We begin with a sketch from you. From there it plays out pretty much the same. It just takes a bit longer.

When we start with an existing plan, the basics are already there. We’re just tweaking it a bit. With a custom home or spec house we don’t have anything to start the process with.

It’s kind of like baking bread. If you have a starter, then you already have the yeast and all the yummy things yeast makes. This makes the bread rise better. But if you just have dried yeast you have to prepare it before you can do anything else.

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Benefits of Nelson Design Group

If you are looking at building a house, check out our Building Your Dream Home blog series. This series walks you through step by step on how to build a house and is updated regularly.

If you haven’t found a builder yet, we have a Find-a-Builder tool right here on our website. These are builders from around the country that we have vetted just for you! They are skilled in their professions and do a great job.

Nelson Design Group doesn’t just modify plans and design custom homes and spec houses. We already have over 1,800 house plans for you to choose from. If you’re unsure about finding what you need, give us a call at (870) 931-5777. Our representatives are always happy to help.

If you are a builder looking to buy plans, sign up for our Builder’s Program. We offer discounts you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

We also have resources that are just for you like access to our Master Planned Communities and Marketing Services.

All of the information in this blog post can be found on our Modification FAQ page.