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Table Of Content

Why you may need the original blueprints?

Steps to Find a Copy of the Original Blueprints for a House

1. Getting Started

2. Finding the Blueprints

How can Design Everest Help?

You may be thinking that a blueprint is a big blue set of construction plans for a building. In modern times it is actually a computer-aided drawing (CAD) of a structure with specifications regarding that structure. Typically, an architect or civil engineer would have prepared the blueprints and signed and stamped with their professional license identification number, but this was not always the case.

As a homeowner or an individual seeking to purchase an existing home, you are now looking to find the original blueprint for the home. Although it seems like an easy find, this may not be. Some homes were built long ago, and the plans were minimal sketches lacking any type of specifications.

Before you purchase a home, you will receive a title report with all the easements and encumbrances within the parcel. The building plans may not always accompany the title report either. This article will guide you through the process of finding the original blueprints for a house.

Why you may need the original blueprints?

There are many reasons a homeowner would want to get their hands on the original blueprints. Understanding the origin of your home’s design is key to restoring the intended architecture, establishing the home’s historical value, and using the prints as a resource during the remodeling process.

Here are 7 Common Mistakes you make while designing a House.

As a homeowner, you hope to find the dimensions, specifications, elevations, and placement of doors and windows for the house. Some key things to consider when finding and examining the original blueprints include the following:

●    Understanding deterioration of the materials and structure
●    The changes to the physical building overtime
●    Historic features of the building.**

**The caveat above is in reference to investigating property for its historical designation. The property must identify, retain, and preserve the form and detail of the original architectural materials and features that are considered the defining historic character of the house.

Steps to Find a Copy of the Original Blueprints for a House

1. Getting Started

You should consider the historical background of your home during the process of seeking to obtain any documents regarding the house. The deed records, which can provide a sequence of the prior homeowners, will help to identify the changes made by each occupant.

A deed is typically divided into three components - the premises, the habendum, and the testimonium. The premises include the date, parties, consideration, granting clause, description, recital, and appurtenances. By having the deed, you will have a timeline of the information in the premises portion of the deed that will assist in recognizing when changes took place. The deed is usually provided in the title report. Title reports consist of the documented jurisdictional records associated with a parcel, as mentioned previously. You can hire a title company to pull these records for you. 

Courthouse files will contain the names of each prior occupant and document any external changes to the property or legal changes regarding the home. Most jurisdictions have an online platform that allows you to access imaged court records based on the case type and location.

You can mail in a request for copies based on the location of the records filing with any associated fees. Also, there are in-person services at branch locations that can provide the actual hardcopy of the record.

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2. Finding the Blueprints

Now that you have begun the investigative process of finding documentation and the historical context of your home, there is additional help you can seek from within your community. Here are some groups that can help locate the blueprints:

●    Realtors
●    Neighbors with similar homes
●    Local inspectors, assessors, and building officials
●    Online fire insurance maps within the neighborhood
●    Historical society plan books
●    Archived newspaper clippings with floor plans for real estate advertisements.

In addition to these communities, you can reach out and hire Design Everest to accumulate the information needed to locate the blueprints.

Oftentimes, the builder previously owned the parcel. Being able to contact them may help lead you to the plans they used to build the original home.

For homes built within the last half-century, the local realtors in the area should have plans and information from developers. This includes what is known as stock building plans, which will be large-scale home plans based on communities that were built without custom home features. The realtor may also have knowledge of the trends for development in the community you are in. This will assist in determining whether the home is part of stock building plans.

Getting to know your neighbors can help you identify the similarities of your home and eventually learn the original design of the home’s floor plan. A neighbor may have a set of blueprints to the stock building plans meant for the entire co idea to familiarize yourself with the homes in the neighborhood if you decide to look for the original blueprints.

The best way to find blueprints is through the local public official’s office. Most jurisdictions have an assessor’s office or public records office. This is where they keep all the records for permits and construction sets that developers seek to build homes to standard and safety regulations, so more than likely, they will have permits filed at the public official’s office. Building permits are documents with floor plans and elevation drawings tied into the permitting process; therefore, the building inspector’s office will have record plans of the site. An important factor to note is that some prior occupants may not have permitted renovations or subtle changes on the home, so you may end up having to contact prior owners or permit the changes yourself. An appraiser will likely not include unpermitted changes done to a home in the valuation. Also, the integrity of unpermitted changes can be questionable. 

Fire insurance maps date pretty far back and may provide information on the dimensioning, placement of entryways and windows, and the exterior shape of the building. In addition to that information, the map should indicate the building material used for the house. These can be accessed online.

There is an approach to finding your house blueprints by digging up archived newspaper clippings with photos of the original build or stock plans in a real estate column. This is not common, but it is another resource to consider if nothing else is available. 

How can Design Everest Help?

Finding the original building blueprints for your home is a tedious process if the home is older than 50 years. The article detailed some strategic ways you can find your plans, such as – public officials’ offices, local realtors, talking to your neighbors, and online databases. At Design Everest, there are professionals familiar and skilled in the process that can assist in making it less tedious for you. Connect with us for a Free Quote today.

*Note: The content published above was made in collaboration with members of Design Everest.

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