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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am wanting to place a rambler style 1500 SF home on a lot and am wondering if anyone knows of any software that I can get that will help me design the home.
I'm hoping to find a software that will design from beginning to finish, meaning foundation to roof vents to interior and paint all in the same software, and that will state "flaws" in the design (structural flaws, etc.)
I do not want to hire an architect to do this. I will not be building the home alone either, I will have a professional builder helping me, but for the most part, this is something I want to do myself.
Thank you for your advice.
 

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No off-the-shelf software is going to do what you want. Soil conditions at the site, zoning, local building codes, etc. can all affect the specifics of how a house is constructed. That said, my wife and I designed and built our log home by ourselves. By "design" I mean footprint, room layout, roof pitch, porches, location of windows and doors, things like that. We used a relatively inexpensive program called 3D Home Architect. I think it was less than $50 four years ago. But no such program can tell you, for example, how much rebar is required in the footers, or how deep to dig them, or if radon mitigation is required. You will still need a professionally prepared set of engineering drawings to get a permit (ours were more than a dozen pages). We sent our layout drawings to the log home company we got our kit from and they did the engineering drawings. But there were still some minor changes required after the local building department looked them over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok. That is helpful. They have this software called "Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer". Any news on this one. It seems relatively inexpensive and the reviews I have read are I love it and I hate it. Some guy made a long blog as to why he supports it, but you never know if these people work for the company or not.
 

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I have heard of that software but don't know anything about it. I have also heard that 3D Home Architect is now called something else but I don't know what (helpful, aren't I).

Where in Washington are you? I used to live in the Tri-Cities.
 

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Bill Kearney
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None of the home design programs will do what you've asked. All they'll do is let you design the layout. None will take into account basic engineering or building codes. This is what an architect or civil engineer does. But they are handy for getting a better idea of what kinds of floorplans you might want to consider. There are also sources online to purchase engineered plans, but even those will likely require being tweaked to address issues local to the site and your area.

No software will get around having to hire someone to prepare engineered drawings for the building permit. But they will help you get prepared and potentially iron-out many of the initial issues that often end up running up a lot of billable hours.
 

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I've been designing new homes for over 30 years and there is no software I know of that will do it all out-of-the box. Chief Architect and similar packages used by home designers will cost almost as much as a designer would charge to design it for you, then you have to learn the software which takes time.
 

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Ok. That is helpful. They have this software called "Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer". Any news on this one. It seems relatively inexpensive and the reviews I have read are I love it and I hate it. Some guy made a long blog as to why he supports it, but you never know if these people work for the company or not.
you can use a package like this to help you develop ideas and maybe see how it might look. I cannot speak directly about this software as I have not used it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok, so i did end up picking up software. What I got was the "HGTV Ultimate Home design with Landscaping and decks". I could not find any reviews on it that were really helpful. People said they love it and hate it kind of thing. So I opened up the package, and now I get to read through a 670 PAGE USER MANUAL!!! Something they dont tell you on the description on the box. The good news is though, this allows you to design a more energy efficient home. So they say. So I guess I will see on that. I'm going to try it out now and will update.
 

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aww man you already got the hgtv software...it really sucks.. i used that one at first then i ended up paying out 60 bucks for "home designer 2014" its way easier to use and way less time consuming plus it a download so you wont have to wait for it to come in the mail and pay shipping.. they have it on amazon for 60 bucks but anywhere else its like almost 100..oh the link is check it out if hgtv does work out for you.http://amzn.to/144hKz8
 

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Ok. That is helpful. They have this software called "Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer". Any news on this one. It seems relatively inexpensive and the reviews I have read are I love it and I hate it. Some guy made a long blog as to why he supports it, but you never know if these people work for the company or not.
if your in washington state give me a PM I can point you in the right direction
 
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