There is considerable confusion over home plan copyrights. Basically, you cannot use someone else’s home design without their written permission, which usually requires paying a fee to “license” the use of that home design for the purposes of building your new home.

Even if you intend to make changes to the design, you must first license the underlying house plan. Failure to do so is a violation of copyright law which can halt construction at any point and cost you up to $150,000.

Copying, re-drawing (or having someone else redraw for you), or otherwise using a house plan you’ve seen in a publication is also a violation of copyright law if you have not already purchased the underlying house plan.