The number of residential architects in the U.S. is increasing thanks to many people realizing the benefits of professional design for a home project. A skilled home architect can help you build a new home or make significant changes to an existing property. Extraordinary architectural design can earn you the envy of your friends and neighbors while adding value to your home.
There are several things to look at first before hiring a home architect, including asking about the experience and looking over a portfolio. You should also inquire about costs.
Here's more on what to look for in a residential architect for your home design.
Ask About Experience
Architects work on a variety of projects, including homes and commercial ventures. You want someone with the right experience as a residential architect to complete the vision for your home.
It's best to set up a consultation to go over your wishes. Question your residential architect about their experience with different architectural styles and architectural designs. Be sure you are both on the same page about everything from finishes to colors.
Be sure to find out about any professional organizations they might belong to and talk about their education.
During your consultation, ask about their strengths and weaknesses. Are there home projects they prefer not to work on? Ask if they created anything truly outstanding that other architects are not doing.
When hiring a home architect, it's also essential to find out how many homes they have built. Are they selective in their projects, or do they mass produce homes in developments?
Look Over Portfolios
Any good structural designer will be eager to show you their work, so ask to see photographs of projects. Do their architectural design and architectural styles match what you want? You might also question 'how did you do that?' or 'what does something like that cost?'
A residential architect might include their best designs, but it's also good to inquire about projects that might not be at the top of their list.
A good portfolio should be well organized and labeled. You should also be able to take it with you to show your family and friends. In many cases, an online portfolio is the best option!
In hiring a home architect, be sure to check references. Asking others about their experience with a residential architect will give you a good idea about professionalism, timeliness, and whether they stayed on budget.
Ask about a walk-through of homes where you can personally inspect design finishes and handiwork. You will get an up-close and personal view of each project.
You can also read online reviews about an architectural firm. Many people are not shy to write about their experiences (both good and bad), which can give you a good indication of their services.
There are also plenty of local resources to examine. The Better Business Bureau or your local chamber of commerce can also be invaluable during the home building or remodeling process.
Ask about what kind of insurance they carry, including workers' compensation insurance. It's essential to make sure there are no open claims.
Having the proper forms of insurance is essential to doing business, and it's important to work with a firm you can trust. If you have any questions, there are ways to verify insurance with state agencies.
Every project needs a budget, and it's important to discuss budgets with your architect.
Look for an architect who will sketch out your project from inception to completion. Be sure there are actionable goals along the way.
It's crucial to make a contingency plan in case things go awry. There are always unexpected costs. In some cases, some individual projects can blow the budget and impact other portions of the home.
Talk with your architect about financing. Be sure to explain how high you can go with your budget and if there might be room for additional upgrades and costs. You can always add upgrades but get all of the basics in writing.
It is important to make sure you are on the same page from the beginning when it comes to finances.
Does your architect recommend certain builders or contractors?
Many architects typically work with a set list of people and companies they trust. It's best to have these people lined up for your project. Repeat customers may also give you a better price or have better access to materials.
Of course, if you have suggestions (or someone you have worked with in the past), it's best to let your architect know how they will work into the plans.
Talk with your architect about builders who consider the environment and energy-efficient homes. You may want to consider solar panels or specific windows that can save you money on your utility bills.
Every project is different, but as a paying customer, you have a right to know how long your home project will take.
Get a timeline in writing. Find out how long each project will take. Moreover, ask about the additional contractors working on your home.
Who will be the point of contact for the architectural firm? It's best to work with one person overseeing the entire project rather than deal with separate people along the way. Will there be an assistant?
The home building and home remodeling process will go in stages. For example, HVAC and plumbing must be installed before drywall. Exterior work is typically the last step.
What to Look for in a Residential Architect
There are several things to look for in a residential architect for your next home building or home remodeling project. Ask about experience, portfolios, references, insurance, and budgets. Moreover, look into the builders they will use as well as a timeline for the project.
Hiring an architect will cost you a portion of your budget, and you want the project done right!
Contact us today and let us help you secure a great architect! We can take your vision and make it a reality!