The problem with purchasing a house design/material package

There are numerous house package / build material kit companies in the marketplace.

They all carry a defined set of stock house plans that they offer a entire lumber/material package for (not including foundation & labour).  Basically they advertise a house design along with the price to purchase the material package.  You want the design/plans, you need to purchase the material kit.

We have had numerous clients that have started down this path and then realized the issues that lay ahead and ultimately reversed course.

Here are a few of those stumbling blocks with material package homes they have shared with us:

  • You have to commit to the purchase of material (lumber, trusses, shingles, windows, siding, insulation, etc..) when purchasing the plan.
  • You can not price out the material for the design you like at another lumber yard/supplier.  It’s their design and you only are able to use it if you agree to purchase the material   package. How do you get a second price on material to keep everyone honest?
  • If you are looking for a more custom design or to modify the stock plan, well good luck with these package homes.  Changes are limited as the design is pre-priced for the material.
  • Exterior renderings of the material kit house look better then what you actually get.  One client said he was told he gets “exactly what he sees on the photo in the flyer”, but upon receiving the material they realized that many things where not included.  Things like exterior high-end coach lights, glass panel railings, and wide profile vinyl siding was substituted for white spindle railings, low grade vinyl siding and no coach lights!  Costing the owner thousands more to get what he wanted!
  • A big issue is that if you are home-owner working with a major lender  – the material kit homes require a large deposit that can causes issues with the lender.  Typically construction mortgages provide money draws matching the progress and follows the build process.  Typically the foundation is the first large draw but in the case of the kit home you need to provide a large deposit at signing in order to get the plans to apply for building permit.
  • If you plan to hire a registered home builder to build your kit or material package home – think again.  Most of these builders use their own suppliers and get their preferred prices based on their many years of business relationship.
  • The so called in-store design consultants at these companies are merely order takers with no design experience.

Remember, these companies are in the business of selling lumber and build materials, they are not designers.