In the show, twin brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott help couples find a fixer-upper and then transform it into a dream home. The couple tells the Property Brothers their budget, and they find a run-down disaster of a home to buy for cheap, telling them what wonderful things they’re going to do to it before finding out one or more of the following:
- The house is built entirely out of asbestos.
- The roofing is held together with chewing gum, and not even brand-name chewing gum.
- The black mold has its own black mold.
- The previous owner was a real do-it-yourself kind of guy when it came to electrical wiring—also, not real knowledgeable on electrical wiring.
- The previous owner warns them that the paint he used for the interior was lead-based, and delicious.
- They turn on a blacklight and immediately regret it.
- The foundation is somehow sloping at a 45-degree angle.
- A sinkhole exactly the size of the house has opened up underneath the house.
- You know popcorn ceilings? Popcorn floors.
- A family of rats has been there so long that the state requires you to go through the eviction process.
- The piping in the house is made from old toilet paper rolls.
- The house is broken and needs to be replaced with a new house.
But no one thinks about these things at the outset. Once the couple selects their home, it’s all roses and puppy dogs. The Property Brothers use a floor plan to explain to the buyers what their remodeling vision is, inevitably leaving the couple salivating over the impending remodel.
Floor plan software
The Property Brothers rely on floor planning tools to communicate their remodeling ideas. You can access similar software as well. Floor planning software allows estate agents, contractors, remodelers, and homeowners to create a visual representation of their home — both of what it currently is and what they would like it to be.
You can also use it to get your contractors on the same page about what the mission is for a remodel, and what the final results should look like. And there’s lots of highly polished and often free software options out there so you can get started right away.
First, we’ve got to figure out why you’d want a floor plan, and the answer to that is simple. As you can see in the case of the Property Brothers, it’s incredibly effective to sell a prospective client on the house before you even start on remodeling the home. And don’t you want your contractors to have the same vision you have rather than have to direct them through every little job?
We were able to find seven of what appear to be the best floor planning software (a specific kind of architecture software) options out there for estate agents based on the features they offer, and they’re listed below in alphabetic order.
Floorplanner is aimed more at estate agents who want to create a quick floor plan to give a prospective client a basic understanding of how the remodel would look. You have the option to spend more time on the floor plan and go into greater complexity, as the software offers a library of objects so you can spend hours (if you want) customizing the space to your heart’s content.
If you want to try it first, Floorplanner has a demo on their website that enables you to tinker with the software without having to download anything.
The software is widely used, with more than seven million registered users who have created more than 12 million floor plans, the company claims, adding that since 2007 it has expanded to 161 countries and is available in 14 languages. The most common customers are real estate brokers, drawing services, and project developers.
Pricing: Floorplanner has three tiers: basic, which is free for one project and $4.99 for each extra project; plus, which is 14.95 per year and allows you five projects per year, charging only $2.99 for each extra project; and pro, which is $29 per month but gives you 15 projects per month, and only charges $1.99 for extra projects.
Have you used Floorplanner? Leave a review.
Homebyme describes itself as a totally free (at least on the first few projects), totally online 3D-planning tool. It has its own community so you can discuss your projects with other floor-planning fans. Other people’s projects are posted in the gallery for inspiration.
Like Floorplanner, you can play around with the software directly on their website to get a feel for how it works.
The purpose of Homebyme is to create a virtual version of a home before you make a purchasing or remodeling decision. The software enables the user to create a detailed floor plan and then test different furniture styles and decoration elements.
Pricing: You can create the first three projects for free, but after that you’ll have to buy additional projects ($10 for two extra projects). You can also pay additional fees to transform a 2-D plan into a 3-D project, for realistic images, and for a panormaic 360-degree image. If you don’t want to buy features a la carte, a Homebyme pro annual subscription is $720 and allows you to create up to 120 projects and 120 realistic renderings.
Have you used Home By Me? Leave a review.
3. Planner 5D
Planner 5D is aimed at non-professionals who want to create detailed home plans and interior designs. The company boasts a community of more than 17 million users who share and comment on a vast collection of interior design ideas on the site.
Planner 5D enables you to visualize your project by drawing it up, and then rendering the design into a “photorealistic” high-definition 3-D representation.
This software is a bit different in that it has tiers of difficulty, with a basic version for users who don’t have much experience in drawing up floor plans, and you can scale up from there to higher difficulty levels and therefore more functionality, such as high-definition rendering and full catalog access.
The floor planning software has a big emphasis on sharing those designs with both other users on the site, and with the outside world by publishing on social networks.
Pricing: The basic version of the software is free to use, but you will have to pay to access the full catalog of items or to do high-definition rendering. The company doesn’t list the prices, and the purchases are made within the app itself..
Have you used Planner 5D? Leave a review.
Roomle is another free floor planner that is best for homeowners and office managers laying out home and office floor plans, especially with furnishings, so this is a great option if you want to help your client visualize the space when it has been completely finished.
It’s also a great option for those who just like to sit on the couch with their iPad and just doodle away for hours on the perfect room concept. Roomle is available on tablets and smartphones, and you can move objects around with your fingertips — no keyboard required.
Roomle has a sizeable 3-D catalog to give users a wide variety of furnishings for designed spaces. You can modify objects to make your design even more customized.
The major downside to this software is it’s only available on Apple products, so Android users are out of luck. Roomle says on its website that they were looking into releasing Roomle for Android but it wouldn’t happen before 2016. As of May 2017, the option still doesn’t appear to be available.
Pricing: The basic version of Roomle is free, but you can get a quote on a business version of the software directly from the company (although it appears to be aimed a furniture buyers, so it’s probably not something that estate agents will find useful).
Have you used Roomle? Leave a review.
Real estate professionals use RoomSketcher to create 2-D or 3D floor plans they can print or showcase on the web to wow their clients. The software creates detailed 3D designs and walkthroughs ideal for showcasing a property.
Unlike most home layout tools, RoomSketcher gives you the option of either drawing the floor plan yourself or having them do it for you. In the latter case, you can upload a blueprint, sketch, or existing floor plan and then let an expert illustrator draw up the floor plan for you.
Pricing: There’s a free version of RoomSketcher for those who just want a basic floor plan platform, but you won’t be able to create 2D or 3D floor plans, so you’re stuck with snapshots. RoomSketcher VIP will give you access to both 2D and 3D plans for $49 per year, and it includes 20 credits for creating additional products. RoomSketcher Pro is $99 per year, comes with 55 credits, and includes extra features like personalized floor plans, a discount on floor plan services, and the ability to draw from a blueprint.
Have you used RoomSketcher? Leave a review.
SketchUp uses templates to help people jump in and get started with a floor plan, but after that, the focus is on allowing the user to be creative with the drawing tool. This software is meant to be used for drafting ideas and tweaking them, from the earliest stages of design all the way to the end of construction. This is ideal either for testing some preliminary design ideas, or documentation, or for RFIs, or whatever other use you can think of.
Like other options on this list, SketchUp seeks to be intuitive and easy-to-learn, which means you won’t get a highly detailed CAD (computer-aided design) model, but if you’re just using it as an estate agent, you may not need that level of detail anyway. Interested in products with similar features? These Sketchup alternatives might provide what you are looking for.
The software goes beyond drawings, however. They offer a tool called LayOut so you can design and craft a presentation that will impress your clients. You can also create a customized walkthrough so your client can really visualize what it would be like to be actually in the space.
Pricing: SketchUp Pro costs $695 for a license.
Have you used SketchUp? Leave a review.
Sweet Home 3D is a free and open-source interior design application that is meant for drawing up a quick house plan, arranging furniture, and then viewing the results in 3-D.
The software allows you to go beyond simply visualizing a space and into the execution of a remodeling project. You can annotate a plan with room areas, dimension lines, and other information, which will be helpful to contractors working on it.
The software also has a blueprint import option, allowing you to modify and build upon an existing design, and then print and export them as PDFs, videos, bitmaps, or vector graphics images.
Sweet Home 3D is good for estate agents who have to operate in more than one language, as they offer the software in 25 different languages. The software also translates well to most operating systems, as it runs on Windows, Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.12, Linux, and Solaris.
Pricing: The software is free and open source, published under the GNU General Public License.
Have you used Sweet Home 3D? Leave a review.
Did we miss anybody in our top floor plan tool roundup?
This article offers a cross-section of what you’re going to find when it comes to floor plan software, but we’re sure there are some great options we missed. I’m sure the Property Brothers would have liked to see a piece of software that can also help them keep their food separate in the fridge.
But what about you? What software did you last use when you designed a floor plan, and what did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.