What to look for when shopping an architect?

Finding someone to design your perfect home is a large piece of the puzzle and a decision you won’t want to make in haste. There are a number of important factors to consider when agreeing on an architect. Remember, you will be spending a lot of time together and you want to be sure that he or she can implement your vision into the layout of your home.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when meeting with architects.

  • Is this architect a good listener? When you share your design ideas, does he take notes, ask questions about how you’d like to live in the house, and offer solutions to design complications? There may be some elements to your design that might not seem feasible to him, but does he offer alternatives you’d be just as happy with?
  • Do you feel like he will build what you want him to build or does he seem more interested in creating a show home that he can put into his portfolio? Some architects will redesign your ideas to make them look more attractive to the everyday consumer and to boost their online resume. Make sure that you both see eye-to-eye and that he’s putting to paper what you have always envisioned.
  • Has he built many different styles of homes? You want an architect who is diverse and doesn’t have a problem making a custom home that will suit your specifications. Make sure that the homes he is showing you look and feel different—this will show that he is capable of building any kind of home the client may want.
  • Does he have good references? Before getting started with an architect, you want to be sure he can provide at least three references. A few days after he’s supplied the first three, ask him for another three references. These are the references you want to talk to.
  • Does his timeline work for you? If he has another job that will take a year to complete or other obligations that will conflict with the timeframe you have worked out in your head, this might not be a good fit.
  • How does he charge? Architects will either charge by the square foot, by the hour, or by an estimated construction cost. It’s important to know how you will be billed before you go through with the construction so there are no surprises in the end.
  • Is this architect a team player? You will be interacting with your architect and builder on a frequent basis and you want to be sure that all parties are flexible.
  • And finally, who do you feel understands you the best? It’s important that the architect you choose can turn a simple blueprint into the home of your dreams.

Good luck!