The first step of home building is home design. For this, you have two choices: custom home plans or stock house plans. The one you choose affects not just the final design, but also your overall experience and satisfaction with your new home. Each has its advantages. 

You may gravitate to custom home design if you want:

  • More personalization
  • A precise fit to your lot
  • Future flexibility
  • Emotional satisfaction
  • Potential for higher resale value

You may choose stock house plans if you value:

  • Cost efficiency
  • Time savings
  • Simplicity
  • Wide selection

Ultimately, your choice depends on personal preferences, preferred timeline, budget, and how much you value your design. Find out more as we explore the differences between these two options ahead.

What Are Custom Home Plans?

Custom home plans are designed from scratch to meet your specific needs, preferences, and site conditions. Unlike stock plans, custom designs allow for personal touches, giving you the freedom to create a space exactly how you envision it. 

Custom Home Plan Benefits

  • Personalization & Customization: Custom home design can be tailored to your unique preferences—from the floor plan to the finishes. Dreaming of indoor-outdoor living? A custom home designer will listen and include that in your plan.
  • Optimal Use of the Lot: Sometimes, implementing a stock plan on a specific lot is like fitting a square peg into a round hole. It’ll eventually fit, but some sacrifices may need to be made. Custom designs are made to bring out the best features of your lot and maximize space. 
  • Increased Functionality & Efficiency: Custom home plans can accommodate specific aspects of your daily life that stock plans can’t. Plus, they can integrate wants such as sustainable building practices
  • Future Flexibility: We always consider your future needs when designing a custom home. Whether you would like a multi-generational home, to age in place, or sell, we adjust your design to reduce the need for costly renovations later.
  • Emotional Satisfaction: Creating a space that truly feels like your own can be incredibly rewarding. 
  • Potential for Higher Resale Value: Though this isn’t always guaranteed, custom homes may have higher resale value because of their unique features. This can appeal more to buyers looking for something different from a standard home.
  • Customized to Your Property: A custom house plan ensures your home will fit on your property. It will also help you take advantage of views and make sure all rooms are facing the right direction. 
Stock homes that all look alike

What Are Stock House Plans?

Stock house plans are pre-designed plans available for immediate purchase and use. Designed to be versatile and fit a range of lot sizes and styles, stock plans are simple and you’ll have a ton of options to pick from.

Stock House Plan Benefits 

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Typically, stock home plans cost less than custom designs. Plus, because these plans are more standardized, builders may be more familiar with them, leading to shorter time frames and lower construction costs.
  • Time Savings: While picking out the right plan may take you some time, you will save the time it takes to design a custom home. Without the need to draft and revise, builders can start quickly.
  • Simplicity & Convenience: It’s quite easy to select a stock plan. You just browse designs, select, and purchase.
  • Wide Selection: There are tons of different stock house plans available, which means whether you’re looking for a compact bungalow or a spacious family home, you’ll likely find one that fits your basic needs.

Choosing the Right Option

Custom home and stock house plans have clear differences, and the best choice for your project will depend on your unique preferences, budget, and time constraints. 

In our experience, those who would like a custom home wouldn’t choose a stock plan—it just doesn’t meet their needs or accommodate their vision. Though some modifications can be made to stock plans, if you have a specific vision, a custom plan is the better option. 

When deciding between custom house design and stock plans, consider your:

  • Priorities: What’s most important to you: A home built for your unique lifestyle and family, or one already designed and ready to use?
  • Budget: Determine your maximum spendable amount and ask for a quote from a custom home builder to see if it’s practical.
  • Timeline: How soon will you need to move into your new home?

A note on timelines: It’s important to keep in mind that, though stock house plans are ready to use, you’ll still need to apply for permits. The time frame permits are approved varies, but can take anywhere from weeks to several months. 

Collaboration on custom home design

Find the Right Home Design For YOU 

Ellergodt Design is a collaborative, client-first residential design firm serving Calgary and the surrounding areas. We work closely with our clients throughout the design process to bring their visions to life.

Ready to take the next step towards building your dream home? Let’s talk. Fill out our project intake form or book a consultation to get started. 


How long does it take to design a custom home in Calgary?

Generally, a custom home design takes about 2-3 months to complete, depending on municipal approval and client availability. Development permits take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months to be approved for inner city properties, whereas acreages don’t have as many permits, and the design stage is typically completed sooner. 

Does it cost more to build your own home?

Building a custom home usually costs more than using stock plans or buying a pre-fabricated home. However, custom homes are worth the extra money if you have a specific vision, want certain features, or are designing a multigenerational residence.