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Great Tips: Should you hire architects?

Should you buy a custom home plan or hire an architect or your new home? If so, what exactly should they be doing for you? To know the answer to these questions you should know the different services architects provide and if it makes more financial sense for you to hire an architect or buy a house plan.  Many people are under the assumption that most homes are designed by architects. Did you know that that is false? Less than 2% of all homes in the United States are designed by architects. There is a relatively small number of residential architects that specialize in designing homes.

custom home planAnother myth is that when you hire an architect to design your home they will in turn give the design over to your builder for the project to be completed. That is only one option. It is also an option to have an architect see the project from start to finish until you move in. That option would cost more. Depending on where you live in architect might be required to review and provide a stamp on the drawings.

Should you buy a custom home plan or just hire an architect?

So what do architects do?  They provide a variety of services broken down into several phases.  If we are talking about home designs their core projects can be broken down to five or six categories of work.

  • Schematic design:  the architect will visit in analyzed the building site for you, gather information from you about your ideas, budget and other details. Then the architect comes up with a rough sketch of what your home will look like. Communication is very critical in this phase.
  • Design development: once you accept the initial design the intricate work begins for the architect. This would concern spatial relationships into a real building design with your floor plans, roof, interior and exterior trims and more.
  • Construction documents: the architect provides detailed drawings or blueprints and your written specifications for contractors. These detailed drawings are also required for building permits.
  • Bidding or negotiations: the architect will help you solicit from a list of contractors that they feel are qualified to handle the project of building your home. Alternatively you can hire your own contractor. The architect may also answer contractor questions and clarify the plan specs.
  • Construction administration: with this item of work the architect acts as your agent making sure the builder and his subcontractors are strictly following the plans for your home. They should also ensure no corners are being cut so to speak.  In most cases it should be noted the architect is not contractually liable for supervising your contractors.

Architectural payments and different options

custom home planMost architects will work on an hourly or fixed fee based upon a percentage of your total construction costs. These might range from 5% on up to 15% for new home building. For remodeling the fee can be higher from 15% to 20%.  So on a $300,000 home design and architect would stand to make $30,000.  Another option is to buy a home plan and manage the project yourself. Unless you want a totally unique work of art for your home a custom home plan would do the trick. Should you decide to go this route you can count on saving around $28,000 and putting that money back in your pocket.  You could also use that money to add some upgrades to your new home if you chose a custom home plan from our site.  These are just some ideas. Some folks like the à la carte services that an architect offers and are willing to spend the extra money.  The choice is yours. We hope this article helps and good luck on your new home!

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