Customized blueprints for your new home

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PHOENIX -- If you're thinking of building your dream house some day, it might be easier and cheaper than you think.

With just a couple of clicks at your computer, you can build a customized blueprint yourself and send it off to the builder, all without using an architect. 

Websites like and are seeing an uptick in consumers going this route.

Buyers can tweak the existing plans on these websites to their own liking, adding extra trimmings or perhaps downsizing. The websites say a few thousand blueprints are sold every year, but lately, things are picking up.

It is supposed to be convenient and cost effective which is attractive, but there are some downsides.

There are limitations to buying prints online. They don't account for local building codes in your area. The cost to revise the plan could wipe out any up front savings you had, and a plan out of a book assumes a one-size fits all approach.

The American Institute of Architects says when you buy a plan it doesn't take account of the specific lot where you'll be building.