How to choose a residential architect for your home project
How to choose a residential architect
Anytime you are building a new home or planning a major overhaul to your current home, it’s beneficial to hire a residential architect. Architects are expert designers that will ensure your home is built or adjusted just the way you want it. Also, an architect will take much of your stress away as the project will be in control of someone you can trust.
The key word is “trust”. Architects are ubiquitous; they’re part of a defined field, but there is a lot of architectural competition out there. Thus, it is essential that you go through the process of finding the right architect for your particular job.
How to choose the right architect for your residential project
Ask around or search the web
If you’re are looking for an honest opinion, ask people you know if they have an architect to recommend. Friends, family, colleagues—you should be able to find someone that has had work done by a residential architect. Preferably, someone in your neighborhood, as the architect would then be familiar with the layout of the area and perhaps the layout of your home. Plus, you can go and observe the work yourself if it’s someone in your neighborhood.
Searching the internet is a good option as well. It’s always difficult to judge the validity of internet reviews or to determine how biased a particular website is. However, if you come across an architectural firm that appears legitimate and professional, it may present a good opportunity to bring them in for an interview.
You should interview at least three architects. This way you can compare each one to the others and you can weigh the pros and cons of each. Approach it as a job interview. After all, you are interviewing the architect to see if he/she is worthy of a specific architectural job. Be direct and honest. Ask questions such as:
- How would you approach this project?
- How much do you charge? Are there any fees I need to know about?
- Do you have any concerns with what I’m asking you to accomplish?
- How long do you think a project like this will take?
- Are you the specific architect that will be working on this project?
- What is the general communication process between the architect and client throughout a project?
Portfolio and References
Also ask if you can review his/her portfolio. You can review some of the architect’s successful projects to see how they compare to yours. In addition, you can pinpoint certain design techniques that may be a strength of the architect’s.
You should be able to obtain customer references as well. Previous customers could provide helpful input. You’ll be able to obtain a description of the architect’s customer service and the flow and execution of the project. Customer-to-customer conversation can be very beneficial.
Be direct about your budget. An architect needs to know what kind of budget he/she is working within advance in order to best prepare and outline the project. Another helpful tip: you should try to budget about 25% more than you expect the project to cost. In dealing with a home as a whole, you never know what will add to the cost of the project.
Ensure you’re both on the same page
At the end of any meeting, you want to make sure all parties are on the same page. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the process before the meeting concludes. Here is a checklist for your meeting:
- Overall Costs
- Design process
- Communication process
We hope this helps with your quest to find the right architect for the job! In fact, the best architectural option may have been right in front of you this entire time!