How to Find the Best 3D Floor Plan Software?
Whether you are a Home Builder, a remodeler, or an interior designer, you have probably already noticed how difficult it is to find a 3D floor plan software that will best fit your need. The offer is vast:
- Free 3D Home Design Software: Often limited in functionality and generally used for Interior Design and Home Staging. These are ideal for home and DIY enthusiasts.
- CAD Software and Architectural Design Software: Unlimited construction projects possibilities, fully-featured, often very complete for one specific part of the job; a long learning-curve can be expected, as well as premium prices for some of them. Ideal for Architects and Civil Engineers.
- 3D Floor Plan Software for Sales: Usually much easier-to-use and offering functionality that is 100% adapted to the needs of professional construction projects. Home Builders, Interior Designers, Remodelers, or Home Designers use this kind of software to boost their business.
Whatever your needs are, it is necessary to ask yourself the right questions and look carefully at your future use before making any choice. We have identified 6 essential criteria to take into account when choosing your 3D floor plan software.
1. How Easy is it to Use? Your Learning Curve.
It is an essential criteria. Some programs can be tricky to use and may require a long learning curve before you can feel at ease with the functionality. A training session is sometimes included in a package. These training sessions can sometimes take days, or even weeks for the most challenging professional software. You should ask yourself how much time do you want to spend getting used to the software and how much time you have at your disposal to draw a floor plan when you have mastered the software? As mentioned earlier, some professional floor plan programs are fully featured - and thus more complex to use - making it more difficult to be up and running fast. Don’t expect to create a floor plan in a couple of hours. It will probably take 8 hours or more to get something that could be presented to your client.
Before making a choice, check if there are help resources available and regularly updated: online resources, tutorials, videos, webinars. You can also check if a dedicated support team is available to help and if you have to pay for it. A lot of programs don’t have this kind of service at all, and others ask for a monthly fee to get the support you may need. Online chat, email ticketing, or even phone support are very useful if you plan to use your floor plan software on a daily basis for your business.
- Does the software have too many features that you don't need?
- Are you able to reproduce one of your standard house floor plans with the program?
- Is a training session mandatory before beginning to use the software?
- Are there any support resources available online?
- Is there a team dedicated to support you by phone, email, or online chat?
- Are the support options free?
2. What Type of Home Projects do You Want to Draw? Your Software Usage.
Not all types of 3D floor plan software available on the market will fit your needs. You won’t be able to create the same types of projects with all of them. A lot of them are aimed more at interior design and home staging. They typically won’t let you create a model of the exterior of a real estate project. This is the first criteria that will determine which floor plan software is best for you: does the program provides you with features to draw a complete plan for your projects and create exterior 3D renderings including land management, openings, shutters, fireplaces, and of course, roofs.
Drawing and modeling roofs in 3D is precisely a key element to take into account. Depending on the complexity of the project you want to draw, adding roofs can quickly become challenging. For the fastest learning curve, and especially to save time in your preliminary designs, we advise you to choose a software with automatic roofing options. Manual roofing can be used for more complex projects.
Another point that you need to pay attention to: does the software propose interior and exterior 3D design options (textures and materials, and 3D furnitures)? Interior and exterior design is a powerful tool to speed up the decision making process when presenting a project to home buyers.
A personalized design gives your client a realistic vision of what their future home will look like. It increases the chances that the project will turn into an actual sale. In particular if you are in the home interior design business. Layouts, light management, colors and furnishing styles are key to communicate your design vision to your client. In that case, think of checking if the 3D objects library is large enough and corresponds to the type of design you are used to creating. Same for colors, textures and materials.
- Does the software allow you to create both interior and exterior 3D visualization?
- What are the roofing options? Are roofs easy to modelize?
- Is the 3D objects library large enough for my interior design projects?
3. What Quality 3D Renderings do You Expect? The Time You Dedicate to 3D Renderings Creation.
Of course, the more qualitative is your 3D rendering (ie: the more photo-realistic it is), the more you help your client picture themselves in a house that doesn’t exist yet. You can see by yourself, after a few web researches, that all software is not equal when it comes to creating high quality 3D renderings. You’ll probably want the 3D renderings to be integrated into your sales presentations, and showcased on your website and on social media. The level of quality of the 3D views you create helps you build a strong brand image.
The ratio between the level of quality and the necessary creation time is a major factor that could determine whether the floor plan software is best for you or not. Indeed, the challenge here is not only to create an incredible 3D visual but to create a great one quickly. With some programs, a few minutes or even a few seconds are enough. With others, it will take several hours to see the final result.
Another interesting point, especially if you are looking to create photorealistic renderings: look at the options for managing the sun orientation and controlling the brightness of your home design project. This option makes all the difference and increases the realism of an image. Bonus: 3D visuals at sunset!
- Are the created 3D renderings photorealistic?
- How much time does it take to create a high quality 3D rendering?
- Is it possible to manage brightness and sun orientation with this software?
4. Do You Plan to Work as a Team? Your Organization.
If you plan to find software for your entire team, you will probably want to test the collaboration options. Some floor plan software propose some project sharing options. These are precious if several people have to work on the same project. This is often the case for new home building projects, remodeling or interior design projects.
Sharing options are often managed by user roles. These determine how much the user can modify the project. If you work on new house construction projects, you can also upload your floor plan library on to the software. Any person within your team can then use the uploaded floor plans and customize them depending on their role. This saves valuable time in the pre-sales stage.
- Does the software offer collaborative options for working as a team on the same project?
- Is it possible to share a floor plan and 3D renderings with other team members?
- Is it possible to upload your floor plan library into the software?
5. What are the System Requirements? Your Hardware.
The device you plan to run your software on is key to decide which floor plan software is best for you, in particular if you plan to create 3D home renderings. You may have already asked yourself about the difference between a 100% online floor plan software and a downloadable one. Before making any decisions, you have to take this into account. If you want to use a software that needs to be installed on your computer, you should make sure that your hardware system meets the software requirements. If not, you’re exposed to a bad experience, especially if you want to generate 3D renderings. Depending on the renderings quality you need, 3D calculations can sometimes take hours with a downloaded software. Online floor plan software (or SaaS Software), on the contrary, don’t use your computer’s resources. The calculation required to produce high quality 3D views is not made on your machine but remotely, on powerful distant servers. The speed of calculation is much faster and it leads to a quicker generation of 3D views. Using an online software, you can get stunning 3D renderings in a few minutes.
In addition, downloaded software can only be used on the machine you installed it on. If you are used to working on different devices, you should definitely opt for an online software: you’ll then be able to draw floor plans or access your construction projects and documents from anywhere, on any device. It offers much higher flexibility. You just need to make sure that you have a good internet connection.
You should also ask yourself about how to access the software updates. A good floor plan software editor usually releases regular updates including new features, new 3D products in the library, new materials and textures, etc. Software also needs to follow the operating systems or browsers’ evolution to make it work properly and propose a constant user experience.
- Is it a 100% online floor plan software or do you have to install the program on your computer?
- What are the system requirements to run 3D floor plans and 3D renderings?
- How much time do you need to get your 3D rendering on your device?
- How do you access software updates?
- On which device can you use the program?
6. How Much are You Willing to Spend? Your Budget.
The choice of floor plan software offers is overwhelming. And the pricing options as well… Your budget will be key in making your choice. An important point to check before buying is the duration of engagement. Does the software you are interested in require an annual commitment, or can you pay a smaller monthly subscription fee and cancel at any time? Be careful however, an annual commitment is generally much more beneficial and will eventually cost you less money. Depending on the different pricing options, be sure to think about the services included in each offer before making your choice. The level of support is important. It can be free or paid and can sometimes be very expensive... If this is the case be sure to add the cost to your budget as it can significantly add up.
- What is the length of commitment?
- What are the pricing options? Are support services and resources included?
- Is a training session mandatory (or even recommended) and is it included in the final price?
Finally, How to Find the Best Floor Plan Software?
Test it Before You Buy it.
Take a look at the website of the 3D floor plan software vendor. You may find a way to get a free trial version to test it before buying. To get the most out of your free trial period, you may want to test the level of support available for the software: online videos, tutorials, phone, video training, online chat. This is the best way for you to get up and running quickly and make sure that you asked yourself the right questions: Is it easy-to-use? Are you able to create all the kinds of projects you want? Can you draw, furnish, and render both interiors and exteriors of your home projects? Does the floor plan software offer the 3D rendering quality you are looking for? Is it good enough for my clients’ presentations, to showcase my projects on my website or on social media? Can you share your projects easily with your team? Does the software run on my everyday laptop or do you need specialized hardware?
Why Cedreo is the Best Floor Plan Software for You?
Very few types of floor plan software on the market will be able meet your needs. Cedreo, however, provides a complete solution for housing professionals in the home building, remodeling, and interior design industries. Cedreo is the first 3D floor plan software which allows you to design complete floor plans and create stunning 3D renderings in less than 2 hours. Cedreo is so easy-to-use that you won't need expert technical skills to create a 3D home design project. Sales teams for home builders and remodelers use Cedreo to speed up the conceptual design phase: they provide home buyers with high quality sales presentations in no time and help home buyers to quickly and better understand what the final design will look like understand what the final design will look like better and quicker. It leads to a faster decision making process and increases new home sales. Cedreo offers commitment free 14-day trial so you can try it out for yourself at no cost.