How To Get Blueprints Of Your Home

If you’re looking for the original plans of your home, for a renovation project or your own curiosity, there are ways to find them.

What Are Blueprints?

A blueprint is a reproduction of a technical drawing or engineering drawing used in the construction of a home and thus show a house as it was first constructed. In the past, architectural plans were detailed technical drawings, created by the architect or their assistants by hand at a drafting desk. The originals were copied via a process called cyanotype, which produced a blue-colored duplicate — hence the term blueprint.

Now, with the advent of computer aided design (CAD), architectural plans are created on a computer, then printed on oversized plotter paper. Those copies are still known as blueprints. However, they’re seldom blue anymore.

Why Do You Need Blueprints of Your Home?

The most common reason to obtain drawings of your home would be for use in renovations, additions or repairs. The structure of a building is often hidden inside the walls so it can be extremely helpful to know what is there before you open anything up.

Most renovation projects require a permit, so you’ll need to submit new drawings of the area. Having something to start from can save a lot of time and effort.

It can be beneficial to access records and existing drawings to see what work on your home was done legally and what wasn’t. Whether you’re planning to build a home from scratch, construct an addition such as a first-floor master, finish a basement, add a deck, or replace a water heater, your local regulations likely require that you secure a permit. In simple terms, a permit is an approval granted by the local government agencies to build or make changes on a new or existing building. Building permits aim to not only ensure that construction work is done in accordance with local buildings and zoning codes, but also to enforce proper safety standards. While many homeowners and even professional contractors neglect to secure permits for renovations, often in an effort to avoid increases to the assessed value of their home for tax purposes.

Blueprints can also come in handy if you’re planning to sell your home, you’ll likely need an exact measurement of the “legal” square footage. If you’re in a recently built home and find defects or shortcomings related to construction, the blueprints are your “receipts” — evidence of what a builder was supposed to do, versus what they actually did.

Where To Find Blueprints of Your House

By now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Fine, but how do I get blueprints of my house?” The answer may be as simple as a digital search, or as complicated as some Sherlock Holmes-level detective work. Here are some places to start:

1. Search your local building department or archives

Most local jurisdictions keep the records of past permits so you should start by contacting your local building department.

In some cases, you may find your department complies an online database of permits and plans. If you can’t access records online, you can often submit a records request via an online form, then wait for digital records to be sent to you. There may be a fee for this service.

If you live in a smaller community or seek blueprints from pre-CAD days, you may need to visit your city or county records office and request these records be pulled. If you want physical copies of blueprints or other records, the office will likely charge a fee.

2. Contact the original architect or builder

If you know who the original architect or builder was, contact them. If you’re lucky and the building is modern enough you might even be able to obtain digital AutoCAD (or similar) files.

With builders, a lot will depend on your local market. If your home was built by an established builder who’s still in business, it’s worth checking with them. If your home was built by a smaller builder who is no longer in business, chances are they won’t be able to help, even if you are able to get a hold of one of their former employees.

3. Find the original owner

If you don’t know the original owner of the home, search county or local records to find them. You can try contacting them to see if they have original blueprints, or can at least point you in the right direction.

You can also reach out to the real estate agent who helped you purchase the home. If they can’t get their hands on the original plans, they might be willing to serve as a go-between and contact the past owner on your behalf.

4. Ask your neighbors

In planned communities, new homeowners often choose a floor plan from a selection of available models. If you’ve bought an existing home in such a community and can’t locate a copy of your blueprints, find a neighbor with the same model of home as your own and ask them.

Even if they don’t have blueprints, they may provide some clues, such as the name of the original architect, builder or developer.

5. Pay for a new blueprint

If you hit a dead end, new drawings can be created by measuring the current conditions of your home.

This is a costly undertaking. An architect or engineer will need to come to the house, take exact measurements and then create a new blueprint. Expect to pay up to a couple thousands of dollars for this service, depending on the square footage and complexity of your home. And the new blueprints can only reflect the way your house is now, not as originally constructed.

If you, or someone you know is considering Buying or Selling an Investment Property in Columbus, Ohio please give us a call and we’d be happy to assist you!

The Opland Group Specializes in Real Estate Sales, Luxury Home Sales, Short Sales in; Bexley 43209 Columbus 43201 43206 43214 43215 Delaware 43015 Downtown Dublin 43016 43017 Gahanna 43219 43230 Grandview Heights 43212 Galena 43021 Hilliard 43026 Lewis Center 43035 New Albany 43054 Pickerington 43147 Polaris Powell 43065 Upper Arlington 43220 43221 Westerville 43081 43082 Worthington 43235

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