Many life partners look at house plans and see things they like, but they don’t seem to be altogether in one house. They may decide they need an architect. There are two trends of thought about architects. Some believe they’re hugely expensive. Others don’t have any idea. Neither camp speaks from experience and has only a glimmer of what architects really do.
Having a basic idea of floor plans and building size is a good place to begin before calling an architect.
Learning about price per square foot in the local area should narrow down the choices for size. Searching house plan magazines and plan rooms should help develop room location and size preferences.
Next, pull these items together.
If the ideal plan doesn’t exist, it may be time to speak with an architect. Before you call the architect, first make a sketch that both agree satisfies needs and wishes. Here’s what the architect wants to see: outside dimensions of the house, size of each room, and if there’s a second floor, make a list of rooms and rough sizes to go with the first floor. Note the outside finish of the house, i.e., brick, stucco, lapped siding, etc.. Will you want a fireplace? Will you need closed-in garage or a carport? Make as many decisions as possible now as you look through plans.
When you speak with the architect be clear about what you want in the way of services.
Architects have an exhaustive list of services, and you will be charged for them. If you want the full treatment, ask the architect what is considered a full range of services and the fee attached to each. For instance, the architect can assist with a site plan, which shows where the house is located and the orientation. If the only interest is in is acquiring a set of plans, have the architect explain what that means, and what services are performed in that process. Understand also exactly what you will receive when the architect has finished designing the plans.
How architects structure their fees.
An architect can charge several ways for services. Depending on the range of services, it may rely on price per square foot or a percentage of the construction costs. With fewer services, there are other choices: phased fee structure involves an up-front fee, a design fee, and a drawing fee. An hourly fee may be more suitable; the architect provides a log to show time spent in preparing all drawings submitted to the home owner, whether they are approved or not. In most instances, architects will present the finished drawings on a DVD or flash drive. The owner should be prepared to have the drawings printed. The blueprint company will charge a set-up fee, and then charge a price per page for each set of drawings.
It will be more expensive for an architect to assist with plans. The question is whether it is worth the price to achieve the results owners have in mind.