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  • by Wayne Tremblay

Create a Floor Plan for an Existing Home

A floor plan can be created in a number of different ways. Some apps are available for your smartphone to take room measurements and help build a plan. There are also a number of apps that have predefined room layouts, appliances, furniture, landscaping, etc. These apps will allow the user to create a fair representation of a floor plan and some are in 3D.

In my business (Apex Virtual Media), I use a fairly simple method of creating a 2D plan by taking measurement of a room, noting details and drawing it onto graph paper. On average, it takes about 30 minutes for each 1,000 square feet of living area while on-site. Yes, it is very time-consuming, but I don't charge by the hour :). The final result is a floor plan diagram with accurate measurements presented in an easy-to-read format that any agent would be proud to use in their advertising, as a handout or as a mounted display for open houses and buyer showings.

Here are the tools I use: laser tape measure, 16' standard tape measure, 100' reel-type tape measure, camera, clipboard, graph paper, pencils, desktop computer with large monitor, floor plan drawing software.

Some of the tools I use

Here are the steps I go through on-site (written on paper):

  1. Select a room (for open floor plans, I choose an area).

  2. Measure and draw walls, then input room name, length & width.

  3. Add doors, windows, stairs and wall openings.

  4. Measure and lay out counter tops.

  5. Add appliances, sinks, bathroom fixtures & fireplaces.

  6. Take photographs of especially tricky areas.

On occasion, I'm asked to verify square footage of the living space of a home. The 100' tape measure comes into play for getting the outside dimensions of the building. Then, I deduct the areas that are not part of the living space such as: unfinished basements, garages, unheated rooms, etc.

Back at the office, here are the steps I go through to produce the finished product:

  1. Copy all information from the graph paper to the floor planning software tool.

  2. Add property address, agent contact info and disclaimers.

  3. Tidy everything up. Sometimes a large home will appear over several pages.

  4. Render the final diagrams in PDF and JPG formats in both branded and non-branded versions.

  5. Email the final plan results (4 copies) to the client as attachments.

  6. If I am also doing photography plus a virtual tour for the client, the floor plan will be embedded in the virtual tour with “hotspots” appearing on the diagram that link to the photo taken from that location within a room.

The client may now decide how they would like to use the floor plan images. Some ways include: adding the plan to MLS along with the photos; printing the images on the back of a property info handout; printing hardcopies of the plan to hand out at open houses; having an enlarged copy mounted on foamboard to use on-site as a display.

Footnote: A great source of information for creating a floor plan rendering is a blueprint. The homeowner may have them or they may be available from the builder. For a tract home that's not too old, you may find floor plan diagrams at the sales office. Even when using either of these resources, I still measure all room dimensions since a blueprint will show stud-to-stud distance and we want to show finished room measurements including whatever was used to enclose the framing such as sheetrock, plasterboard, barnboard, brick or other materials. Also, any number of last minute changes may have been performed during actual construction (or in remodeling) but not reflected in the blueprint. We must double-check the blueprint against the “as built”, throughout the home, to ensure our depiction is accurate. Overall some time is saved when using a blueprint by not having to measure and draw everything from scratch, plus the final rendering will probably be more visually accurate.

Feel free to reach out to me by email or by phone or text at 413-449-4545 with any questions, comments or to schedule a floor plan appointment. I look forward to being of service!

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