How to Find the Original Floor Plans for Your House

floor plan example

Providing a detail-oriented and easy-to-follow floor plan can streamline any home remodeling project. It allows contractors and designers to see where the walls, wiring, plumbing pipes, among other systems, are located in the home. This knowledge helps electricians navigate these structures when wiring you home and avoid inflicting damage, saving you a significant amount of financial resources that you’d have to allocate to repairs. Providing your remodeling team with a floor plan can also minimize the risk of making errors that can delay the project’s competition date, shortening the time taken to complete the remodel.

Unfortunately, finding your home’s original floor plans may prove difficult, especially if you’ve purchased an older house. However, there are several places and ways you can locate the blueprints.

“As-built” plans

If you’ve explored all possible avenues and can’t locate the original floor plans, you can hire a firm to create “as-built” plans. In short, these blueprints depict how your house was designed and built while outlining the renovations that have taken place since construction. When hiring a firm to do the job, conduct online research to find reputable companies. Although recruiting a contractor may be cheaper, an architect will produce house plans with comprehensive details.

If you intend to renovate only certain portions of your home like the kitchen or bathrooms, you can forgo commissioning the whole building. A contracting firm may also give you a quote if you plan to begin renovations as soon as you receive the floor plans.

Local government

Visiting the local municipal office is a great way to acquire your house’s floor plans immediately. However, keep in mind that if your home is considered old, it will be quite challenging for these staff members to locate them. If your local municipal office can retrieve the house plans from their database, consider yourself lucky. 

Before you visit their offices, determine if the city or town has archives of photographs, old building plans, and maps to avoid wasting any time you could otherwise direct towards the renovation. A quick phone call should be enough to answer your question. 

You can also consult a city historian for informed insight on where you might locate these documents. Consider visiting the county clerk’s office, as these officials often store local building construction documents and permits. Note that every office sets its own rules regarding records or permits retrieval. Some offices may charge a small fee in exchange for these documents, such as house blueprints.

The original owners

If you bought the building from the original house owners, you could request a copy of the blueprints directly from them if you still have their contact information. If the previous homeowner purchased the home from another resident, search the public records to find the previous owners’ contact information. From there, you’ll be able to reach out and ask them for a copy of the floor plans. 

Once you’ve connected with the original homeowners, inquire about the construction team and try to collect information on the engineers, architects, and other individuals involved in the construction process, as these professionals have extensive knowledge of the house that may come in handy during the remodeling process.

Builders, primarily huge contracting companies, also keep the records of their work. Furthermore, if the original owners secured a loan to build the house, their lender may still have the floor plans on file. 

Realtors

The realtor that helped you buy your home could help simplify the process of obtaining floor plans if your house was constructed less than 50 years ago. Since real estate agents work with several clients and handle the sale and purchase of an array of different homes, they’ll likely have access to information regarding the housing patterns and house plans within your area.

Neighbors

Chances are your house resembles the home next to yours or across the street, as most builders try to maintain a cul-de-sac sense of continuity. These houses may have been built by the same contractor or designed by the same architect. Your home may be a mirror of your neighbors with minor modifications and finishing touches. Therefore, visiting your neighbor’s house will give you an idea of your home’s original floor plans.

If you’re considering contacting a neighbor for a copy of their floor plans, ensure that they haven’t modified their home or changed their house’s layout since purchasing the home. If everything remains according to the original plans, ask your neighbor to make a copy of their floor plans to use in your remodeling projects.

Obtain fire insurance maps

You can find fire insurance maps from the 1870s in the United States. When dropping by the local public offices, ask a staff member if you can access these fire insurance maps. These maps show at least the type of materials used to build the house and offer a 3-D drawing of homes in your neighborhood. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a physical representation of the shape and placements of porches, doors, and windows.

Conclusion

Locating your home’s floor plans can be time-consuming and tedious, and some homeowners may not have the will to do all the heavy lifting. If that’s the case, your best bet would be hiring a professional to locate the original floor plans for you. While some homeowners may feel tempted to skip this step and ignore the need for a floorplan altogether, you risk incurring unexpected costs due to contractor missteps. Take a proactive approach and protect your wallet from the financial impact of human error. 

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