Starting From Scratch? Here’s What You Need to Know About Working With an Architect to Design Your Home

by Alex ThatcherFebruary 28, 2018

Tips for Getting Your Dream Home With the Help of an Architect

For many, the prospect of building a home from scratch is daunting yet exciting, a dream that some brave souls make a reality with the help of some elbow grease and a trusted architect. Many folks overlook the role of the architect, opting instead to draw up a plan themselves and hire builders to ensure that the home is up to code and regulations.

But architects play a crucial role in the design and construction of a dream home. An architect has completed rigorous university courses and exams in subjects ranging from structural engineering to landscape design. Plans drawn up by an architect must bear the architect’s license number, and the architect is liable for the project’s structural integrity.

Although designing and building your home may seem cheaper without the use of an architect, hiring an architect could save money in the long run as your home will be built more efficiently, with structural integrity at the forefront. Read on for a list of tips for getting the most out of your architect when choosing to build your own dream home.
hiring an architect to design your home

Keep Lines of Communication Open

Remember that the architect’s job is to help you build your dream home. Communicate with your architect right from the start about your ideas for your home. Have a preliminary meeting with your potential architect to make sure that you will be able to work well together.

In this preliminary meeting, talk about your dreams for the new house and ask lots of questions about how they will be able to help you make those dreams a reality. Bring tangible forms of your inspiration to the table — photos of rooms, floor plans, and lifestyle photos will help get your ideas across. When your architect draws up plans, don’t be afraid to give feedback and ask for tweaks.
hiring an architect floor plans

Have a Clear Budget in Mind

Talk about your budget expectations on your first meeting with your architect. Remember that the service of your architect could add 20% to the overall cost of building your home. According to Home Advisor, architects often charge between $50 and $160 per hour, so make sure that the scope of your project matches the scope of your budget.

You can hire an architect to see through the entire construction of your house all the way up to move-in day, or you can just hire the architect to draw up the plans to pass on to the contractors. Many architects will happily do piece work, so don’t fret if your budget only allows for an architect to make small changes to a home plan from a catalog.

Know the Value of a Good Architect

Hiring an architect and having them stick around to give input and design advice may help you save money in the long run. For example, your architect will be able to help you choose sustainable building material and energy-efficient floor plans that will help you save money even after you move in.

With an architect’s watchful eye, you are less likely to have to pay the price of poor construction later on. In addition, good design and high functionality and efficiency will increase the overall value of your home should you ever decide to sell.

Get the Most Out of Your Architect

Your architect is not only skilled in designing homes – a good architect will also be able to help you play with balance, symmetry, and proportion in each room of your new home. Ask your architect for input on paint colors, finishes, surface materials, and even finishes – they are often an excellent resource worth taking advantage of.

Especially if you aren’t working with an interior designer, your architect will be able to give you valuable advice to help your home flow from room to room.
hiring an architect

Let Your Architect Be Your Advisor

Chances are this isn’t the first home that your architect will have designed. Take advantage of their experience by asking them for advice throughout the entire process. From tiny details about light fixtures to bigger decisions like which contractor to hire, an architect is an extremely valuable asset to your home building process.

If your budget allows, schedule weekly visits with your architect even when construction begins. This way, your architect will be able to make sure that all of your plans are carried out with precision. Allow your architect to be your new home’s best friend, and you’ll wind up with your dream home.

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About The Author
Alex Thatcher
Alex is a home staging guru who moonlights as a writer. She loves everything about interior design and loves working in the industry. Alex is an expert in finding what makes people light up when they walk into a room, and has made a living by creating interiors that are unique, warm and inviting. When she isn't arranging flowers or making sure she's found the right loveseat for prospective buyers, she writes about her passion — home design.