Author Archives: Open Prairie Custom Homes

What is the most energy efficient house exterior?

energy efficient home frame

Making a more energy efficient home

All across the country, energy efficient homes are in high demand. What is energy efficient housing? Homes built today have stricter guidelines and standards to meet the government and the buyer’s demand for greater energy efficiency. The factors that considered important for energy efficient home builders to include are: 

  • Cost-effective: Energy efficient homes needs to be airtight and well insulated. High-efficiency heating and cooling system that keeps the utility bills low are a must and low-flow showerheads, toilets and other water accessories that lowers water consumption. 
  • Comfort and Healthy: Energy efficient homes are cool in the summer, warm in the winter without drafts. A great ventilation system that provide excellent air quality that isn’t too dry or too humid. Programmable thermostats are a must. 
  • Value Add: An energy efficient home features fixtures that are energy efficient and contribute to the resale value. Newer doors and windows with appliances and lighting that are high-efficiency that look good and save money. Solar panels are a value add that has a long-term ROI for current resident and future buyers.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Energy efficient homes feature elements that work together for lower energy consumption that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and minimizes the carbon footprint.

What is the most energy efficient home?

Energy efficient home plans for hot climates and cold climates will vary, but they need the same things too.  The Zero Home is a single-family smart home, certified as net-zero energy-efficient in Climate Zone 5. This means that any energy consumed by the occupants comes from renewable resources. This includes things like: 

  • The start of energy efficient homes like this will have 2×6 studs instead of 2×4, allowing more space for insulation. Because the studs are conduits drawing warm air inside during the summer and cold air inside during the winter, the 2×6 studs are on 24 inch centers. 
  • The exterior is wrapped in breathable, water-resistant DuPont Tyvek for a moisture and vapor barrier along with Dow EnergyComplete sealant at each framing point of wood-on-wood to create an air-proof and moisture-proof gasket. 
  • Continuing to make energy efficient homes, they will have spray foam insulation is applied to the exterior walls inside with blown-insulation next. 
  • The air conditioner and furnace are 95 percent efficient each, meaning only 5 percent of the energy to cool and heat is lost. Because the house is well insulated and sealed, the units operate in standby mode, only on when temps are at extreme. 
  • The system is an energy recovery ventilator that combines a heat exchanger and ventilation system that replaces the indoor air with fresh outdoor air, eliminating the need to open windows for fresh air.
  • These types of energy efficient homes  windows are sealed closed, dual-pane, with argon gas between the glass layers.  
  • Prewarmed water is pumped into a tankless water heater from 40-gallon natural gas tank, boosting the water temperature 104 degrees, consuming energy only when activated. 

Other factors for energy efficient homes like the Zero Home will include solar panels and a programmable thermostat that include security system too. All of that and the lighting are all controlled by cell phone and the garage is equipped with charging stating for your electric car. 

How can I make my house more energy efficient?

Follow the line of ideas that the Zero Home has! Yes, that is not possible for everyone, in fact, very few of us can afford those measures, and you already have a home, so, what are 10 ways to save energy?

  • Adjust daily behavior and routine: Energy efficient homes can be created by turning things off when they’re not in use, including appliances, lights, televisions, etc. Hang clothes to dry instead of using the clothes dryer and wash dishes by hand. 
  • Replace the light bulbs: Change out your traditional incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs and save up to 80% on energy costs. Yes, they cost more, but they last longer mean you won’t need to replace as often. 
  • Smart power strips: Energy efficient homes can use smart power strips that turn off the phantom electric mongers, saving you as much as 75%. 
  • Smart Thermostat: Anyone wanting to mimic energy efficient homes need to install a programmable smart thermostat that can be set for automatic off and on. This will reduce the time the cooling and heating is turned on, eliminating energy waste. 
  • Energy efficient appliances: You don’t have to go out and get all new appliances right away, but as you replace them go with the most energy efficient models you can afford. This will cut back on the 13% power use in your home and save you up to 25% in operating costs. 
  • Water heating expense reduction: Heating water is a huge energy consumption, so energy efficient homes choose an energy efficient water heater when replacing their current water heater. Other methods to help cost is to use less hot water and turn the thermostat down on the water heater. 
  • Energy efficient windows: A lot of energy is wasted through the windows, as much as 25%. Replace your windows with double pane windows to minimize that loss. 
  • HVAC system upgrade: Heating your home takes as much as 40% of your home energy use and in northern climates, eve more. Upgrade your HVAC system to an energy star rated system will save you money over time. 
  • Weatherizing: Weatherizing you home by sealing air leaks will reduce your cooling and heating expenses. Areas to check the sealing are doors, windows, and vents. 
  • Insulation: Energy efficient homes are well insulated which lowers utility bills by retaining cold during the summer and hot during the winter. The higher the R-Value, the better the temperature conserving.
Inside an energy efficient home

What are the energy efficient home pros and cons? 

The Pros: 

  • Saves money.
  • Helps the environment, reduces cO2 emissions.
  • Slows global warming.
  • It easy to do.

The Cons: 

  • Expensive to start with energy efficient appliances, solar panels.
  • Purchasing and switching to renewable energy is expensive.
  • Lifestyle change.

We have provided several energy efficient home ideas that you can do today, and several that you can do over time as well.  Step by step, each of us that can do a little more will add to a big difference. Call (817) 736-6323 today for your energy efficient custom built home in Weatherford and Aledo, TX.

Can I draw my own floor plans?

floor plans

Can a builder change the floor plan?

When you’re ready to buy a brand new, never occupied house, there are several builders out there with floor plans already designed. Floor plans and blueprints at each builder’s sales center are predetermined  based on what their architect and designer see as most desired and common. 

Sometimes those floor plans don’t fit your needs though, so you’re thinking maybe you should draw your own floor plans. Or should you? Do you have to draw your own in order to get what you want? What is there to know about floor plans and houses that built to those plans versus houses built to the buyer’s plans? 

 The answer to this depends on the situation. If the house is in a development where there are a set number of different floor plans per block usually. If you have chosen a floor plan and signed the contract to purchase that specific floor plan, then, no, the builder cannot change the floor plan at their discretion without your permission. 

If you are in the process of choosing a floor plan and you’re asking the builder to make some changes, like floor plans with basement when there wasn’t one originally, they may be able to accommodate. That will depend on the building codes of the development and the city restrictions. A builder is often tied to so much square footage per house, thus a limit to floor plan options. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask and be sure to ask about any additional expense for this change. 

Can I use someone else’s house plans?

The general rule is anyone that draws up a house plan will have it copyright, which means, no, you can not use another person’s house plans.  You can ask, they may be willing to sell it to you, but they are not obligated to sell the plan, but you are obligated to not infringe on their copyright.

What is a good floor plan?

When you’re creating a floor plan for your home, the square footage is important, there is more to a home than the size of the house and the rooms inside. Floor plans should feature the following: 

  • Living space and workspace. Your home floor plans should signify the location of each bathroom, bedrooms, hallways, kitchen, and the basement/garage.
  • Room layouts. Floor plans should contain the layout for the floor space, like the kitchen should indicate where the breakfast nook will be located, how hallways and staircases connect with other rooms in the house. This will give you an idea if the “flow” is going to work for you.  
  • Doors and windows. Floor plans should have the location where doors and windows are to be installed. An example of furniture placement should be included so the width of the sofa to the window can be compared. 
  • Features. Any special features to a room’s layout should be noted, like built-in appliances, bookcases, fireplace, etc. Floor plans need to depict what each room is designed for and the fixtures should be a part of the floor plans. 

To give you a base on where to start in designing your own home and floor plans, here are four of the most basic floor plans examples:

  • The Ranch-Style. Ranch-style floor plans are typically designed as one-story homes. The kitchen is center of the house with the bedrooms on one side and the common living spaces on the other. 
  • The Cape Cod. A twist to the above described ranch style, this has the master bedroom and common areas on the ground floor and the other bedrooms on the second floor . The second floor has lower ceilings, and the second floor rooms are smaller square footage than the ranch-style. 
  • The Two-Story. With two-story floor plans, the bedrooms are all typically on the second floor and all the common living areas are on the ground floor.  These floor plans have taller ceiling than the above described Cape Code floor plans.   
  • The Multi-Level. Split-level floor plans have more options with the  architectural design. Options like a finished basement or a foyer. The floors are stacked with short stair runs leading from one floor to the next.  

What is the best way to draw a floor plan?

Good floor plans are important for the home to bring the enjoyment intended. There should be a good flow throughout the house and to outside. Good floor plans can keep the resale value strong going forward.  Some basic factors for creating good floor plans are: 

  • Select an area and determine the area that is to be drawn. If the structure is already in place, decide what floor or room, or if it is the entire structure being redesigned. If there is no existing structure, think of several design ideas that are based on the shape and size the structure will be located. 
  • Take measurements if an existing structure including the doors, walls, and any pertinent furniture. This is necessary for floor plans to be accurate. If this is a new structure, get the total size of the structure floor plans and if possible, visit the sight to get a visual. 
  • Draw the walls to scale for each room of the structure.
  • Draw in any architectural features, starting with the things that are unchangeable like the doors and windows. Then draw in appliances and other important fixtures like shower, sinks, toilets, and tubs. 
  • Add furniture when the floor plans dictate. 
drawing out flooring plans and home designs

What should you not skimp on when building a house?

The basic rule that experienced homebuyers will tell you not to skimp on, even splurge a little bit if you can are the permanent parts of the house! These are not always changeable, not easily anyway, and the specifics of this would be in order: 

  • The framing – hire experienced contractor and use 2×6 lumber.
  • Insulation – Get the highest R-Value possible and Energy Star standards. 
  • Double pane windows – they don’t have to be name brand, but make sure they are Energy Star rated. 
  • A continuous load path system – this is especially important if your home is located in an earthquake or storm area, you’ll be glad you have that extra structural support.
  • HVAC system – get the best brand you can afford at the right size. 
  • Quality roofing – this includes the framing elements, roof sheathing, trusses, and the roofing material. 

Don’t go cheap on the labor – you get what you pay for!  You don’t need to get the highest charging contractor, but don’t skimp for the cheapest one you can find either. Good workmanship is going to go a long way in the future. Call (817) 736-6323 today for your custom home needs in Weatherford and Aledo, TX.

Should You Build a Custom Home?

A Custom Home Design

Should you build a custom home?

If you are in the market for a new home, you can choose a home already on the market, a generic new construction home, or you might prefer having a custom home built. Each type of home has its advantages. For instance, the newer the home—no matter what you choose—the more energy-efficient it will be, which means long-term savings. Custom homes have distinct advantages other homes do not.

The biggest advantage you’ll have is the customization itself. This is a home you design. It fits your needs, your lifestyle, and your budget. It will meet your aesthetic tastes and have the features you want from custom kitchens to specialty rooms for hobbies. Your home can feature all the latest technology and it can be designed in a way that will best protect the environment. Best of all, you can put the home on property of your choosing.

If this is what you are looking for in a home, then you’ll want to consult with Open Prairie Custom Homes about our custom projects in Weatherford and Aledo, TX. Set up a consultation with us by calling (817) 736-6323.

What is a custom built house?

A custom home is designed specifically for you. You hire an architect, a design team, engineers, home builders, etc., to create a home. You are in complete control of all aspects of the home design. An architect will design the home based on your vision or you can buy floor plans and customize them. Instead of purchasing a home along with the land it’s on, you build on your own land or land that you buy specifically for the home. This home will be a true one-of-a-kind home.

Where to start if you want to build a house?

Building a custom home might seem intimidating, but with a solid plan in place, it won’t be. If you are looking into how to design a custom home, the best place to start when building a house is with a making a list of all your home-building goals. Note down features you must have, what’s optional, and how will all the features fit into your budget. Once you have a general idea of what you want in the home, you’ll have some guideposts to fill in the details as you move forward to buy land, draw up plans and consult with architects and builders. The more advanced planning that you put in place, the easier it will be to get the home designed and built.

What questions to ask a custom home builder?

Your custom home builder will be a key to your successful home-building project. When you first consult with the home builder you will need to ask plenty of questions to make sure that the home builder is the right fit for you and can handle the project you have in mind. Key questions include asking about the builder’s experience and how long they’ve been in business as well as finding out what warranties are offered. Ask for references and if you can see current projects.

Other key questions include:

  • Are homes built from existing floor plans or can you use your own plans?
  • What are the standard features and what are upgrades?
  • When and how can you make changes?
  • Who oversees the project? Who can be contacted?
  • How long will it take to build the home?
  • How is the final cost determined? When is it determined?

What is the most expensive part of building a house?

Building a custom home is an expensive project, but the most expensive thing you will have to plan for in your budget is the frame. The exact cost of the frame will depend on the size and type of frame, as well as the materials and labor.

How do I build a custom home on a budget?

The idea of building a custom home might seem like something that’s out of reach financially for the average person, especially someone living on a tight budget. But, building a new home doesn’t have to come with an astronomical price tag. And in some cases, it might even be less expensive than a renovation of your current home. To build a home on a budget you must:

  • Determine exactly what’s important to you in a home. Ask yourself questions like “What rooms are used regularly? How much storage space is needed? How large of a home do you want? Will your needs change soon?”
  • It’s important to have a great home builder like Open Prairie Custom Homes on your side. You want to shop around for a builder that fits your needs and understands how to make sure you get what you want in a home. Build a strong relationship with the builder and stay in contact with them throughout the process.
  • You also want to shop around for the right financing when it comes to building and construction loans.
  • Use pre-designed floor plans that can be customized to fit your needs. It cans save you money and get you to the building phase quicker than expected. You can also use various 3D modeling software applications to design your home online. Your home builder may have such software available for you to use.
  • You also want to shop around for the best materials as well as other products like appliances. Look for materials and appliances that are energy-efficient. Energy-efficient materials and homes often have rebates and other money-saving incentives available.
  • Look into builders like Open Prairie Custom Homes that offer custom home and land packages. These deals are often less expensive than buying a property yourself.
A New Home Under Construction

Custom home designers near me

Do you want to build your dream home? If you are ready to get started on a custom home in Weatherford and Aledo, TX, look to the professionals at Open Prairie Custom Homes. We are ready to help you achieve your dreams. Set up a consultation with us today by calling (817) 736-6323.

Why Is a Custom Home Better?

custom home being brought to life

Bring your dream home to life

Custom home building – what is about it that makes this the thing to do?  Often referred to as ‘cookie cutter’ houses, meaning they all looked the same on the exterior as far as the design, everyone used to have look alike houses. 

They would have different color bricks and roofing, but the general architect is the same. The interior would have the same layout, some going to the right and next door neighbor to the left. Almost like living in an apartment, only bigger and you own it.  Then came along custom home building. 

What exactly is custom home building? Custom homes are built by small volume building contractors. They build single family homes on land a home buyer owns or plans to buy, sometimes in developments. The houses are unique in the fact they are built to plans the homeowner has designed or had designed.  Some custom home building contractors offer design services with their own architect. 

What are the advantages of a custom built home? 

Many of us have a dream home that we would like one day in the future. Most of us end up in a previously owned home or a development home, aka, the cookie cutter houses. When you can choose custom home building though, there are many advantages to be enjoyed. Here, we have the four biggest advantages that custom home building provides: 

  • Customized: With custom home building, you’ll be the first person, may be the only person, to live in this house. No wondering what the previous owners have done, this home has been personalized to meet your dreams and needs. Structural  personalization, personalized interior design features, including the appliances, cabinets, countertops, hardware, lighting, and more.  
  • Energy efficiency: Custom home building will give you the most energy-efficient features on the market. The saving that this will give you can offset what custom home building can cost.  If you’ve been wondering, “Is building a custom home expensive?”, yes, it usually is more expensive than a cookie cutter houses. Why?

Typically, a custom home building contractor will install top quality HVAC system, electrical, and plumbing. The construction will be a higher quality as well and comes with a better warranty. The stuff they use in the home are top quality and the best in energy efficiency on the market. 

  • Minimal Maintenance: Any brand new, never occupied home will have minimal maintenance for the first 5 to 10 years, maybe longer. The electrical is new, the plumbing is new, there are no hidden issues that passed through the inspection. But, if anything does break, it is under warranty.  
  • Financially Advantage: As we have stated here, the warranty that custom home building contractors provide on the electric, HVAC, plumbing, and more is typically the best of the best. There are benefits to financing a custom built home too in the mortgage department. 

Where do you start when building a custom home?

Choosing to go with custom home building, you’ll have so many choices, decisions, and options. Here, we have summarized the process into 7 steps of getting a custom home that matches your desires, needs, style, and taste. 

Step One: Purchase the Homesite 

This can be on some acreage or it can be in a development with lots. Select the lot that will accommodate your needs and is right for your family and future. The house can be renovated later, but the land is the land. What do you need to consider with this first step?   

  • Acreage and Lot Size
  • Location
  • Property Orientation and Views
  • Frontage Road, 
  • Gated or non-gated Community

Step Two: Select a Builder

If you don’t have a customer home building contractor in mind already, the realtor that helps your find the land or the development you choose to buy into will have recommendations. Interview them and make sure this is a person you’re going to want to work with. 

Step Three: The Floorplan 

Now you and the custom home building contractor you choose will need to schedule a design meeting and on the fun you’re about to start having! Maybe you have had a home design in your head for years and know exactly what you want. Or maybe you have no idea, a custom home building contractor will typically have a portfolio of previous homes. You may want to mix a few things between several. Some facts that you’ll need to determine: 

  • The square footage
  • Number of Bathrooms and Bedrooms
  • One story or multi story
  • Gourmet Kitchen, Master Suite, Wine Cellar
  • The Exterior and Interior Materials, Colors, and Fixtures
  • The Architecture Style
  • Your Must-Haves
  • The Position of the House
  • Budget and Timeline

Step Four: The Dotted Line 

With the design decisions complete, you’ll get the final cost from the builder. If all is approved with the budget and design, time to sign the agreement and finalize the financing.  

Step Five: Secure the Financing

Now that you have the land chosen and the custom home building design completed and priced, it is time to see a lender. Choose one that can offer a one-time closing on the land and the house to make it go faster and smoother.

Step Six: Architectural Review 

Before ground breaks and the custom home building starts, you’ll have a review with the builder. This may include a committee if the house is in a development to make sure it meets the requirements of the development and community. 

Step Seven: Time to Break Ground

Is it cheaper to design and build your own home?

It can be and it can also be more expensive, you need to do your research on the choices of what you need and  what you want. Sometimes, the better option is to buy a ready-built home, especially if your budget is maxed at  $150,000. However, with enough research and planning, you can keep your custom home building expenses at $100,000 or less. 

What kind of things do you need to research and price? 

  • The land
  • The financing
  • The utilities
  • The builder or self-build
  • The size and style

Make the choice for a small house in a  rural area, it will be less expensive, if you can get the utilities in at a reasonable price. There is where the research needs to be done.  If you want to have a custom home building contractor do the job, you’ll pay for that versus doing it yourself. 

What do I need to know about building a custom home?

The first thing you need to know is that custom home building is not a passive exercise. There are choices and decisions that need to be made. Anything you let the builder decide, you’ll have to live with it. Five things you need to consider when having a custom home built: 

  1. The numbers: Can you afford the size and style of home you want?
  2. The builder: Not all custom home building contractors are equal. Do your research and check the references.
  3. Keep reselling in mind: You may think this is your forever home, but we all don’t know what the future holds for us. 
  4. Going Green: Choose the aspects that will maximize the energy-efficiency of your new home. 
  5. The Punch List: Make sure your custom home building contractor has a punch list to review with you when the house is completed. 

Is it possible to build a house yourself?

Sure, if the area where you want to build allows it, like on a piece of raw land in an unincorporated area, that is more common than you may think. However, in a development, probably not. 

Knowing how to build your own home isn’t all there is to custom home building the structure. There is electrical and plumbing nuances that must be right and with just those two components, a DIY custom home building is not recommended. There are kits and plans that can guide you in the process of custom home building, but will you get it built according to code? 

Is building a custom home worth it?

Yes, if you intend to live in the house for years.  If your plans are to sell and move within 10 to 15 years, no. You will be better off buying a previously owned house. Custom home building takes extra money and time to design, build, and settle into the home. 

Which is better, the custom home building vs ready made homes?  Between the two choices, hiring architects and custom home building contractors, or buy a house that is ready made to move in, it is a personal budget and taste. The pros and cons of each: 

The Pros of  Ready Made Home:

  • Quick Construction
  • Hassle-Free 
  • Affordable
  • Appeal to Future Buyers
  • You can tour a model home first

The Cons of Ready Made Home: 

  • Limited Design
  • The Location
  • Quick Selling Tactics 

The Pros of Custom Home Building: 

  • Customized, Flexible Design
  • Location Choice

The Cons of Custom Home Building:

  • Time-Intensive
  • Delays
  • Expensive

Need to get started on your custom home project in Weatherford and Aledo, TX? Call (817) 736-6323 today.

What Is The Role of a Real Estate Developer?

A New Home Being Planned.

What is the role of a real estate developer?

If you are looking for property to build on, you might want to consult a real estate developer. In real estate development, developers wear different hats. They might be involved in buying land or creating building projects. These projects could range from large residential additions to finding the perfect lot for a single custom home. Some developers lease or renovate both commercial and residential properties. Developers often buy land, market the property, design and build homes or other structures, get public approval for the development and finance it. At Open Prairie Custom Homes, our primary role as developers is finding lots for our custom projects in Weatherford and Aledo, TX. We will find a property that you can build your dream home on. Get started on your project by calling (817) 736-6323.

What is the real estate development process?

When developing a property, real estate developers generally follow a similar process no matter what kind of property they are developing. In general, as a developer, you’re either building something new, renovating a property, or making some kind of improvements on a property so you can increase the value. Here is how real estate development works:

  • Pre-development: This part of the process is where you find and vet property. This is normally the hardest and most complicated process in development. It requires a great deal of planning and analyzing all situations. Once you’ve found a property, you then arrange for financing and purchase the property. 
  • Construction: Once you’ve found and bought a property, you next have to find a construction team to build the property. You will be responsible for monitoring progress and making sure any problems are addressed so the project can be completed.
  • Post-development: Once the construction project is completed, the property is either leased or sold.

Why real estate development is important

In general, real estate development adds value to a community. Although it can change the landscaping, increase traffic, and impact the ecosystem, the development also generates jobs, unites communities, and maintains or increases home values. Good developers find a balance between creating growth and retaining the character of a particular community.   

What is commercial real estate development?

Commercial real estate development involves building investment properties often leased to third parties. These properties could include anything from office or retail space to an industrial center. 

Open Prairie Custom Homes doesn’t venture into commercial property development. Our real estate development consists of finding properties for people looking to build a custom home. Our goal is to ensure people achieve their dreams of building the home they want in a location they want.

What makes a successful real estate developer?

When you work with a successful real estate developer like Open Prairie Custom Homes, you’ll notice they’ll share specific traits that make them successful. Along with a great deal of business acumen and the ability to process and synthesize data, successful real estate development includes: 

  • Developing strong relationships: All business is about developing strong relationships. Developers have strong relationships with tenants, bankers, attorneys, architects, contractors, engineers, geologists, and others in related fields.  
  • Developing or finding specialized knowledge: You’re going to need to know about financing, contracting and multiple other fields, or you’re going to have to know people in fields as diverse as law, engineering, and geology, who can help you develop properties. 
  • Problem solving ability: You have to be extraordinary at solving problems. You’ll be able to analyze situations and get operations back on track when they go astray.
  • Ability to mitigate risk: Risk is a constant part of development. You’re able to make risks manageable.

Real estate development and construction

Construction is one of the primary processes involved in real estate development. As a developer, you’ll need to make contact with a long list of contractors in various fields from construction to plumbing. When you get started on a project, you’ll also have to keep track of its progress and help solve any problems involved with construction.

Real estate development and finance

Financing projects is essential in real estate development. Almost all development will require some kind of outside financing. You’re going to have to find ways to finance projects and make investment decisions throughout the development process. The financing generally will come from both equity investors and debt financing. Some developers have also tried crowdfunding as a way to generate money for projects. Crowdfunding, though, can be risky because it doesn’t guarantee you’ll raise all the capital needed for your project, and your project often has to fit into narrow parameters.  

A Contractor Looks Over Home Plans With a Couple.

Real estate development near me

If you are interested in building a custom home but don’t have a lot available to build on, for real estate development in Weatherford and Aledo, TX, turn to the experts at Open Prairie Custom Homes. We have the resources you need to find the right property for your dream home. You can find out more about our services by calling (817) 736-6323.

Why Floor Plan Is Important

A Custom Floor Plan.

What does floor plan mean?

When you’re designing a custom home, floor plans are the key to the design. At its basic, a floor plan is a scale drawing of a building or home that provides an overhead view of the building. It shows locations of doors and windows, as well as various rooms in the home or building. The dimensions of each room and feature are drawn to scale so architects and designers have a rough idea of the home’s layout and design. It may even feature a layout of furniture and appliances like stoves. Each story or level of structure will have a separate floor plan. 

As the name implies, the plans are used in the planning stages of designing the structure. While most floor plans are drawn representations on paper, some floor plans are 3D. Three dimensional models may be actual scale models of the structure or virtual computer models. If you are planning a custom home and are looking for floor plans in Weatherford and Aledo, TX, turn to the experts at Open Prairie Custom Homes. We provide custom floor planning for your dream home. Find out more about us and our services by calling (817) 736-6323.

How do I find the perfect floor plan?

When you’re planning to build a custom home, you’ll want the perfect floor plan to fit with your vision. Finding the perfect floor plans that fit your vision takes a lot of hard work and consideration. Here are some tips that can help you with those plans:

  • Consider the size: You have to make sure the size of the home will fit your family size. You want  to avoid overbuilding or underbuilding. Your home should be just right for you.
  • Take account of the design style: You definitely want a design that fits your tastes and vision.
  • Consider costs of furniture and materials: You want to be able to afford materials and furnishings that fit your budget and work in conjunction with the design.
  • Always keep your budget in mind: Your budget should influence all your choices when it comes to your creating your floor plan. You may have to cut back or rethink your design to keep it within your budget.
  • Make sure to trust your instincts: If something doesn’t seem right or feel right to you, don’t discount your instincts.
  • Keep any modifications in mind: As the plan is formed, you’ll need to consider any modifications you might want to make now  or in the future.

Can you draw your own house plans?

The internet has made it fairly simple to draw your own floor plans. Several programs and apps are available online that guide you through floor plan design. How can I get a free floor plan? One of the advantages of the online apps and services: Many are free. Of course, free doesn’t always mean quality. The design options you have with free services might be limited, especially  when it comes to design elements that fit local building codes. In some instances, the free software will have limited access to options only available on a paid service.

If you want to forego technology,  you can go the traditional route and set up a drafting table and purchase several sheets of 24-by-36-inch paper to draft the design by hand. Going this route might require a little more knowledge of design, drafting, and architecture than using an app that can guide you through the steps. 

If you choose to use internet sites or even draft by hand, you might get a rough idea of your home design. It’s useful, however, to consult with a professional to look over your plans to see if they are actually feasible. You can also consult with custom home design companies like Open Prairie Custom Homes that will have plans available that you can modify and customize as you see fit.

How do I make a floor plan?

One way to make floor plans is to use a floor plan app downloaded from the internet. Some of these apps are free and have features that guide you step by step through the planning process. With your floor plan, you’ll have to consider issues like the size of the structure, the dimensions of rooms and the overall layout of the building. It’s useful to have a budget handy for a custom design to make sure the plans fit within the budget. You’ll want to make sure your plans are versatile and flexible and meet your priorities and lifestyle.

Floor plan or blueprint

Floor plans are actually different from blueprints. Floor plans are diagrams of the interior of the building itself. They won’t include important design elements like electrical and plumbing plans, views of the exterior or details and cutaways of particular architectural or design features. Blueprints are used in the actual construction of the building and are highly detailed.

Building Plans.

Floor plan near me

Are you custom-designing a home? If you want to develop floor plans in Weatherford and Aledo, TX for your dream home, you can get all the help you need from the professionals at Open Prairie Custom Homes. We offer a full range of services, have many basic floor plans you can customize and can even find the land for you where you’ll build your home. Find out how we can help you by calling (817) 736-6323.

How do I make sure my house is secure?

home security

How do I protect my home from intruders?

As a custom home builder, Open Prairie Custom Homes occasionally gets the question of how homeowners can better secure their residence. In this area of expertise, we can help by both providing ways a homeowner can better their personal security and also advise on the best option for their home. Structurally speaking, a future homeowner can easily have a more private home through the way it is built and the things he or she adds to it after. A person does not need to seek out methods to entirely make their home impervious, especially when practical methods are by and large more successful. To that extent, we can help by providing: 

  • Hard to break exterior
  • Ample spots for lighting 
  • Create easy spots for security installation 
  • Extra measures in doors and windows

It should be noted that the easiest way to fend of a possible intruder is to make your home seem like a hassle when in consideration. When you discuss your home with one of our custom home builders in Weatherford and Aledo, TX, you will note that we already have forms of security before you consider the more electronic adaptions that can be made later on in the process. As the saying goes, your home is your castle, while it may not look imposing to you, it will appear so to those unfamiliar with it when built to be secure. Things like securely build doorways, windows, and garages are highly effective in fending off possible burglars. Call (817) 736-6323 today to schedule your appointment with our professionals.

How do I secure my home at night?

Theft at night is far more likely than during the day, but it can be thwarted with several simple measures. One of the best ways that you can be very certain your system is effective is be very clear around your property of what’s protecting you. This can largely be done through signs that clearly dictate the measures you have taken including cameras, motion trackers, dogs, and more. Much of the time, those that are committing to burglary do so with the intent to make an easy profit, security systems dwindle the chances of success by a wide margin. 

Furthermore, the general agreement among custom home builders is that plenty of light tends to frighten off critters and people alike. Motion-triggered lights on your driveway, gates, and general spots tend to scare away those with ill intent. We recommend having cameras on such lights to be extra cautious. Furthermore, you should have each entrance to your home secured. These definitely include:

  • Garages
  • Windows
  • Doors 

Any way that a person may enter your home, it should have a lock on it and be connected to your security system. One of the most important parts of your home security is making it appear someone is home even when there is not. This is because a person that catches trespassing in the act can call it into the police and have some way to defend their home.

How do I make my home Windows more secure?

Unlocked doors and windows are actually one of the most common ways burglaries happen to homes in the United States. When speaking to a custom home builder, there are several methods that deter burglars from these points of entry. Being that most homeowners get packages dropped off to their front porch at least a few times every month, making your front porch more inconspicuous so that a package can be placed and not seen helps exponentially. 

Lights that illuminate your doors and windows tend to make trespassing a difficult endeavor especially if you live in a neighborhood. Being that it heightens the chance of someone seeing the assailant, your chances of experiencing a break-in lower when you have lights on your entrances. 

As mentioned, locks play a key role in keeping intruders at bay due to making the act significantly much more difficult. It helps immensely when a homeowner gets locks that are difficult are near impossible to pick or hack. Generally, a person can have a defensible home through one-way locks and multi-lock doorways. While it may sound like a joke, most experts are serious about the benefits of owning a dog. Dogs can act as a solid way to defend your home, regardless of size, due to the amount of noise they can make in warning people something is not right.

security home camera

How do I secure my garage?

As a custom home provider, we have heard stories of garages being a point of entry for burglars looking to get an easy steal. Fortunately for our customers, we can help with that. When you leave a garage closed, you immediately cut off a point of entry for those that have little business in your private residency. Furthermore, we can suggest securing your garage with a lock, placing insulation around the doors, and adding making the entryway more private to you. For further methods at making your home more private from the get-go, call (817) 736-6323 for your own custom home today.

What is an Energy Efficient House?

energy saving, real estate and family home concept - closeup of female hands holding green paper house with energy efficiency rating

Learn More About an Energy Efficient Home

When you’re searching for ways to improve your home consider making efforts to implement an energy efficient home. Essentially an energy efficient home will be able to reduce the overall amount of energy consumption, demands for nonrenewable resources, and greenhouse gas emissions. An energy efficient home will instill healthier living conditions and with less energy usage will provide homeowners with significant money savings. If you’re interested in learning more about an energy efficient home get in touch with your local custom home company for more informaiton. Until then here is some helpful information regarding an energy efficient home.

Why is energy efficiency important in homes?

An energy efficient home is important to have in order to have a better carbon footprint and instill better practices with architecture, appliances, materials, energy use, and more that will serve better in the long term of use.

What is the most used type of energy in the home?

The most used type of energy used in a home is natural gas and electricity. Since elecricity is used in almost all homes it can account for almost half of energy consumption. Electrical energy accounted for 44% of household energy in 2017. If electricity is being used in homes consider ENERGY STAR or similar products for a more energy efficient home.

How do I make my house more cost effective?

Try to have all of your rooms that use plumbing such as your laundry room, kitchen, and bathroom close to one another. This will allow for more centralized plumbing which reduces the cost of laying pipes all over the home. Another idea is to build a two-story house where you can double the floor plan while reducing the square footage of the home’s foundation.

Are 2 story homes more energy efficient?

With a two-story house, you’ll have better fuel efficiency per square foot since there is less outdoor walls and roofing areas that are exposed to the weather. Money will be saved with plumbing and wiring as there will be less distance for utilities to travel. 

What direction should a house face for energy efficiency?

For a more energy efficient home an east or west-facing lot should have the long side facing south. The ridgeline should be oriented east-west which could mean that the narrow side of the house will face the street.

Energy efficiency rating graph on a desk with a wooden house model, calculator, folding ruler, drawing compass, pencil and a computer keyboard

How can I make my house more energy efficient?

  • Lower Your Thermostat
  • Start a Compost Pile
  • Install Low-Flow Showerheads
  • Seal All Windows
  • Limit Space Heater Use
  • Turn Off Unnecessary Water
  • Replace Incandescent Bulbs
  • Unplug Unused Chargers
  • Don’t Wash with Hot Water
  • Add Insulation to Your Attic
  • Install Solar Panels
  • Buy Energy Star Products
  • Tune-Up Your HVAC System

Can the color of your house reduce your energy footprint?

The color of paint or roofing material that you choose can make for a more energy efficient home as it can affect the amount of heat or cold air that comes through. More energy efficient colors can help lower energy bills as there is less mechanical heating being used to try to work with fluctuating temperature changes. Essentially lighter roof colors will allow for less heat being absorbed into the home. Roofing materials such as metal can block UV rays and allow for cool roofing.

What is the most energy efficient flooring?

If flooring is taken into consideration for a more energy efficient home consider vinyl or hardwood. Vinyl is not only energy efficient but is eco-friendly as well. It’s also affordable and can be manufactured into different textures, shapes, and colors.

Are windows energy efficient?

Installing energy efficient windows will make for a more energy efficient home as they are designed to prevent heated or cooled air from leaving the home. There is increased insulation with them so HVAC energy won’t have to be overwrought from changing internal temperatures.

How can I improve the thermal efficiency of my house?

An energy efficient home will be better achieved with proper insulation. Insulation in the loft, attic, basement, and cavity walls will allow for cool and heated air not to leave a home. This allows for better energy consumption with the HVAC system as it won’t work as hard. Another point is to upgrade your boiler as gas can amount to 60% of carbon dioxide emissions in a gas-heated property. Finally, consider using solar panels as this will completely allow you to produce power and heat from natural means.

Contact Your Local Roofing Company

When you’re looking to have a more energy efficient home get into contact with your local custom home company for assistance. They will be able to customize a floor plan with you and implement energy efficient materials and technology for a more eco-friendly end result. An energy efficient home is a great way to save on costs in the long run and have materials that will last for a long time. If you have any questions about how you can have a more energy efficient home start your custom home project today.

If you’re interested in a more energy efficient home in Weatherford and Aledo, TX call (817) 736-6323 with Open Prairie Custom Homes!

Is it Cheaper to Buy or Build a House?

A Home's Floor Plans.

Is it cheaper to buy or build a house?

When you are ready for a new home, you may want to consider getting a home custom built, rather than searching on the market for one you like. Depending on where you live, a custom home design may cost more upfront than buying a home, it has distinct advantages over buying. On average, the median cost of a current 1,500-square-foot home is about $223,000, which is about $148 per square foot. The average cost of a new construction is $289,415. While this is much more expensive at first glance, depending on where you live, the median size of a new construct is about 2,467 square feet, so you’re actually paying about $103 per square foot.

Another distinct advantage of a custom designed home is that you’ll only be paying for features you want. For an existing home, you’ll likely pay extra for interior or exterior features you may not want. If a custom home sounds worth considering and you’re ready to discuss custom projects in Weatherford and Aledo, TX, you’ll want to reach out to the experts at Open Prairie Custom Homes. We offer a full range of solutions for home design. Give us a call at (817) 736-6323.

How can I design my own house?

The custom home design process can be stressful and complicated, but can also be a great and educational experience. The first step in the process is to find a builder that fits with your personality, one that you feel confident you can work with. Builders will have a variety of plans available and can walk you through the whole process from initial sketches to the moment you open the doors. But, before you go to a builder, you’ll want to do some initial planning yourself.

Some initial planning advice includes:

  • Starting simple: Do some pencil-and-paper brainstorming, listing features, making rough sketches and working out ideas.
  • Thinking about the future: Take into consideration the future like whether you’re going to have children and how many or if you may have to take care of aging parents at some point. 
  • Making considerations about the lot: If you have a lot already, take in all the considerations about geography and topography when it comes to considering features and locations of rooms.
  • Prioritizing the features: As you rough out your ideas, begin to prioritize your features to know what you want more and how it will fit in a budget.
  • Considering function and flow: Begin to narrow down the design with the designer to get a feel for the function and flow of the different features.
  • Reflecting on light: Throughout your design process, always keep in mind your natural light and how rooms will be affected by natural light.

Who makes blueprints for houses?

For a custom house design, one essential person you’ll need is an architect. The architect will develop the blueprints for your new home. This is key to the design. An architect and engineer will often work together on the blueprints to make sure the design is sound.

How can I design a house online for free?

With the Internet, custom home design ideas aren’t hard to find. While you can find paid sites, there are many sites online as well as apps for your phone that can aid you in your design efforts. These sites and apps are great tools to use in the planning stages to design your new home. The plans can be saved and printed to share with your builder or architect. 

What is the best website for house plans?

With so many sites and apps available to create custom house design plans you might have trouble finding a site with all the features you want. Below is a list of some of the best sites online:

  • Architectural Designs
  • Builder House Plans
  • Dream Home Source
  • House Plan Shop
  • The House Plans Guide
  • Floorplanner

Some, like Architectural Designs, provide an archive of house plans that can be customized to suit your needs. Others are more hands-on, giving you the opportunity to play around with the design yourself. Open Prairie Custom Homes also has some basic floor plans that you can use and customize to your liking. For us, the sky’s the limit when it comes to designs.

How much does a custom home design cost

Costs will vary for custom home design. A significant factor that will impact the price is location. But you will also have to budget in who the builder is, as well as architect and engineer fees. On average people pay anywhere between $200 and $400 per square foot. Smaller homes may be less. Some custom home builders will not design homes under $1 million while others are happy to design any size home. This is another reason why you want to find the perfect builder for you, and what you have in mind. 

A Custom Home

Custom home design near me

If you are considering custom home design in Weatherford and Aledo, TX, look to leading builders like those at Open Prairie Custom Homes. We can help you at every stage of the process from initial design to finding the right land to the final build. Learn more about how we can help by calling (817) 736-6323.

Why choose a custom home builder?

home being custom built

Get the home of your dreams

When you reach that time in your life that you can afford a custom home to build from the ground up, it can be an exciting time, and it can be a headache, and it can be scary.  This is a home that you hope to spend the rest of your days in, or for the foreseeable future, anyway. There are custom home builders all around us these days, especially in this part of Texas.

Land developers are moving east, west, north, and south of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex and custom home builders are flocking in with them. It is a sign of the times that the old-timers hate to see, but the younger, happening now group is ready to see it.

So, when it comes to having a custom home built, where do you start? Do you know how to find one out of all the custom home builders in the area that you want to live in? Do you have your own house plans, or do you want to choose from custom home plans that are offered by custom home builders with floor plans already designed and just waiting for your final touches?

With having a custom home built and choosing the right one from all the custom home builders are around today, how do you know you’re getting the right one for you? There are so many concerns and questions, and it is understandable because this is your home. It is an investment. You will spend a lot of time here and a lot of money.

How do I choose a home builder?

When you make that decision to travel the road of having a custom home built, the first decision is important: Choosing the right custom home builder FOR YOU. Just because your sister and her husband loved theirs, that doesn’t mean that is the right one for you. It also doesn’t mean that because a co-worker has had a horrible time with any of the custom home builders, they’ve used, it doesn’t mean you will too.   

You want a builder that will be a partner in this venture, a partner that will bring your dreams to life. A partner that will ultimately hand you keys to the house that is your forever home. This is not the time to settle for less.  We offer you these 5 tips to consider when you narrow down the right one out of the many custom home builders: 


For the money you’re paying, this isn’t a temporary place to rest your head. This will be your residence, your home, where your kids will grow up and the grandkids come to visit. You will entertain here; you will spend quiet nights and hectic days here. There will be birthdays and holidays celebrated and a place to relax on a rare Saturday afternoon. 

Repairs are the last thing you should need to be concerned with, especially with any of the structural systems critical to a home. The quality of a builder’s work should be the first thing you check into. Ask to take a tour of a completed past project and ask for a reference. As about the structural materials that are visible. 

Having a solid foundation throughout your home is key to the longevity of it, and experienced quality custom home builders use nothing less than high-quality products. From the framing in the beginning to the finishing touches like countertops and flooring. Ask all the custom home builders you’re considering what materials they use, so you’re getting the quality-built home that you’re paying for. 


It’s overwhelming to narrow down the right one out of the many custom home builders out there today. Start your journey by researching where your future home will be located. Custom home builders stay in certain areas, so you can find out who is building in that area and browse their portfolios and floor plans. While we stated earlier that your sister and brother-in-law’s builder may not be for, it doesn’t hurt to get recommendations from others about local custom home builders. 


Most custom home builders are fully transparent and will happily answer your questions right from the beginning. They will promptly provide a comprehensive estimate and timeline and share their philosophy. They will talk about the products that are used in their homes and the different people they work with, including contractors like electricians and plumbers. If any of the custom home builders you interview can’t provide you clear, straightforward answers, move on to the next one. 


If this is your first time to have a custom home built, you will have questions. Every custom home builder of quality shouldn’t have any problem with that. Remember, this is your money, and this will be your home. You may ask questions and be informed of the whole process. The only stupid question is one that isn’t asked. 


You want to find a custom home builder that you can connect with, including their design team. The ideal customer home building team will ask you questions AND listen to your answers, learn your goals, and see your vision. They will strive to understand what design and products will fit your lifestyle the best and connect your needs and wants early on so that headaches are avoided. 

Any custom home builder that takes too long in responding to you could be the sign you need to find another one. Custom home builders worthy of their reputation will always respond promptly, making you feel that you are the only customer they have.      

What questions should I ask a builder?

When you’re choosing one from the many custom home builders in this area, there are important questions you need to ask, and you need to get answers for them. The following questions can help you choose the custom home builder right for you and the home you want to create:

  • How long have you been in the custom home building business?
  • How many custom homes have you built?
  • Do you have full insurance and licensing for this area?
  • What are the most benefits of the custom homes you build?
  • What is your new home warranty?
  • Do you have references you can give me of prior custom homes you’ve built?
  • Do you have model homes for touring?
  • If not, can you make an appointment for me to see a custom home you’ve built?
  • What energy-saving features do your custom build homes feature?
  • Do you build custom homes from your plans or can you build from my plans?
  • What are the standard features do your custom-built homes?
  • What options and upgrades do you offer?
  • Who will oversee the construction of my custom-built home, the custom home builder vs general contractor?
  • Who should I contact with any questions I have, you or the general contractor?
  • Can I make changes or upgrades during construction?
  • When will I have the final price for my custom-built home?
  • Will I have access to my home while it’s being built?
  • How long will it take to complete my home?
  • Are there homeowner’s association fees or Architectural Review Committee?
  • What is your inspection process during construction?
  • Who will do the final walk-through with me?
  • How long will changes or corrections take after the walk-through?

What is the most expensive part of building a house?

The framing of a house is the expensive part of building a home when good quality wood is used, and framing a house takes a lot of wood. For an average 3-bedroom 2 bath house of average size, farming can cost upward of $25,000 or more. This includes framing studs, sheathing, and trusses.

Custom home and lovely garden

How can I save when building a house?

Buying a custom-built home isn’t cheap and will probably be the biggest investment in your life. There are things you can do that will save you some money though:

  • Set a budget you’ll stick to but flexible at the same time
  • Research several custom home builders and be selective
  • Look for custom home builders that are offering incentives
  • Research the appliances you have installed
  • Don’t be shy about fake wood floors
  • Go with the standard and budget for upgrades later

If you’re reading this because you’re about to start that custom-built home journey, congratulations! Our biggest advice we can give you is research, research, research and be flexible. A quality home builder will strive to meet your dreams and goals, but some things may be out of their reach and out of your budget. Flexibility is often the key to happiness.  Want to get started on your custom built home today in Weatherford and Aledo, TX? Call Open Prairie Custom Homes at (817) 736-6323!