When building your new home hiring an architect or a specialized design build team may be the best decision you could ever make. If you expect your new home to reflect all your personal preferences and needs than visualizing your home design prior to building makes a lot of sense. The first question you need to ask yourself with your largest life investment is what is important to you and your family. The first step in any process ultimately becomes the most important. There is a lot of confusion out there today about architectural design services and what exactly should you hire them to do. To answer these questions, you need to understand the range of services architects provides and which might make financial sense for you. Most new homes in the market today are not designed by architects, in fact its a very small percentage, just 1 or 2 percent. In addition while many architects have done residential design projects, a relatively small number of architects are “residential architects,” who specialize in designing homes (vs. commercial and institutional buildings). Another misconception is that when you hire an architect to design a house, he or she turns over the design to you and your builder, and their work is done. This is one option, but an architect can also see a project through from concept to move-in. Residential architects offer a variety of services and you can save a lot of money by hiring them only for the services you need.
1. Here’s the most important benefit to hiring an architect. Your architect can be your quarter-back for your team. He can be your advocate. Hiring an architect gives you someone on your team who understands the process, listens to exactly what you want, and can and will look out for your interests.
2. Your architect can look ahead and anticipate things you and the builder may not see coming. Most people who build houses won’t be building more than one or two in a lifetime, so it’s critical to have someone on your side that has a plenty of experience with the design and construction issues that inevitably come up.
3. Your architect unifies the design. You could think of a house design as a complex puzzle where all of the rooms and spaces inside and outside the house are pieces of the puzzle. To solve the puzzle, someone has to figure out how to ft the rooms together to get the right flow of spaces. Someone has to think about how you are going to get the groceries from the garage to the kitchen.
4. Architects offer technical experience and expertise their clients need. They know how to build the house in the most aesthetically pleasing manner. Architects know how to build “green” while maintaining the aesthetics. Good architects can help get your house built without breaking your budget.
5. Hiring an architect is a way to buy experience and knowledge. You get a wider view from someone who has “been there and done that.” Find yourself an architect who has had years of experience turning his clients’ dreams into reality, working with and staying within budgets, and handling the issues and problems that are a part of construction.
6. Architects think about how buildings feel to the people who live in them. Beyond the practical issues of size of rooms, quality of construction, and cost of construction, an architect considers the intangible aspects of feel, appropriateness, human scale, and aesthetics.
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