Every homeowner wants to work with an architect who will listen to their needs and meet their expectations. Whether you are building your home from scratch or preparing for a major renovation project, choosing to work with an architect is always worth it. However, if you are new to the home design market, selecting the best architectural firm can be daunting.
You’ll often need to consider several factors, such as the level of experience, reputation, and service cost. At some point, you may also need to meet up with many architects before choosing the best one to work with. Below, we have laid out the four golden rules that you can use to pick the right architect in Nashville.
1. Know What You Want
Before looking for the best architectural firm, always begin by reviewing your needs. You want to specify your goals and the architectural designs of choice. This will make work easier for you and the architect since you’ll have a common ground you can relate to. Where possible, highlight the crucial elements you want to be included in the design. If you have some samples to inspire the final look, share them with the architect to help them better understand your expectations.
Other aspects such as the number of rooms, material preferences, and décor elements are also crucial. The goal is to specify what you want and let the architect review them to see if they are structurally possible. Remember also to indicate your budget as this is critical to the success of your project.
2. Do Your Research
After you have specified what you want and expect from the architect, go ahead to do your homework. Begin by asking around for the best architects, either from your friends or family members. Word-of-mouth referrals from people who have recently worked with residential architects are often accurate. You can also search online for the best architectural firms and review their services on reputed third-party sites.
Once you have a couple of potential architects to work with, begin contacting them, one by one. During these interactions, keenly analyze the architect’s areas of specialization and level of experience. Similarly, you want to score their communication skills and quality of customer experience. Before you can wind up the meeting, ask for a list of testimonials and request to review a portfolio of recently completed projects.
3. Talk Pricing and Overall Cost
The cost of designing a home and the project’s overall cost are two vital considerations to keep in mind. Most architects charge fixed price or hourly rates for a project. Others may charge a given sum based on square footage, number of rooms, or apartment type and size. Regardless of the pricing technique, always communicate your expectations. Use your overall budget to ensure the pricing falls within a financially comfortable range.
That said, architectural design firms often offer several add-on services that may or may not be part of what you are paying for. To clear any doubts, ask for the cost breakdown and review the services offered. If there are services that you don’t need, you can ask for a bargain or service customization.
Last but not least, ask your architect to estimate the cost of materials needed to complete the project. This may be a tricky request, especially if you have not signed any contract with them. However, this can save you a lot of money in the long run since some architects know where to source quality materials at lower prices.
4. Get Everything in Writing
After reviewing your options and selecting the best from the average, you want to get everything in writing. Your architect will help you secure a building or renovation permit and other licenses required. The building codes will also vary from one state or municipality to another. So always prioritize working with a local architect who understands your local building rules and regulations.
The other documents to pay keen attention to are the agreement terms and the construction and budget design. Navigating this paperwork process isn’t complicated if you have selected the right architect. However, always ensure you are protected in case of any inconveniences.
Consulting an experienced lawyer may be a good idea when dealing with complex projects. You will want to know your position if things don’t go as planned. For instance, what happens if the architect fails to deliver on the promises? Or who is liable for damages incurred during the construction process, etc.
Design Your Home with Confidence
Nothing beats the assurance that your home will be constructed or renovated to meet your expectations. But before you get all excited, remember that not all architects are the same. And not all who make promises will deliver. Always weigh your options and only choose the best architectural firm with your best interests at heart. The tips we have highlighted above are relevant if you are remodeling, renovating, or building a new home. A rule of thumb is to communicate your expectations, do your homework, and put everything in writing.