After months of scrolling through Pinterest, you’re finally ready to make your dream home a reality. But there’s a catch. Are you ready to hire an architect to draw plans for your new home? How your home turns out depends on the architect you choose to partner with. There’s no shortage of architects in the United States. Many are self-proclaimed, while others have the expertise, certifications, and accreditations to back it up. But how will you know which one to pick? It doesn’t help that many architects will claim to be better than the last.
That’s the crux of the matter—how do I find an architect to design my home? The selection process calls for a little research on your part. You have several places to source an architect, there’s online, word-of-mouth referrals, and leads from design magazines, as well as industry trade magazines.
Scour the Internet
A few decades ago, the yellow pages were the best place to find any sort of professional service provider. But now, the best place to hire an architect to build a house would be the internet. It’s easy to find an architect with a quick Google search. Scouring the internet will reveal countless architectural services you can select.
However, don’t simply settle for the first architect you see. Probe a little further. Visit their website. Most established architects will have a portfolio of prior work on display for you to view and give you a sense of their particular style. After all, you wouldn’t want to choose an architect who specializes in European Contemporary for your New England Cottage!
It’s also a great idea to read reviews. They can give you detailed insight into what past customers have to say about the architect. You can find information about the architect’s areas of expertise, customer service, and professionalism. That being said, you should always take these reviews with a grain of salt, not all of them are fact-checked. Either way, they can help you arrive at a decision to fit your needs.
You could also visit the American Institute of Architects (AIA) website to fine-tune your search. Their website is home to countless licensed and accredited architects.
Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. Referrals are a great place to start when looking for an architect. Start by asking friends and family. You can take it a step further by asking for recommendations on local websites, or facebook groups related to home design or remodeling. At the very least you’re obtaining some form of assurance that the architect in question is tried and tested. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Try and find out as much information as you can about the architect.
See if the architect delivered according to their estimates on both time and cost. As well as how easy they were to work with. But you shouldn’t just take your family’s or a facebook stranger’s word for it. As mentioned above, examine their portfolio and ask for other examples of their work. Are you impressed with the choice of materials, layout, and final result?
Furthermore, you can also get referrals from fellow architects. Sometimes the architect you approach doesn’t feel qualified or suitable for your particular job. There’s no harm in asking who they would recommend for such a job.
Leads From Magazines & Design Tours
Leads from magazines can serve as a useful tool when looking to hire an architect. That’s because you have visual representations of the work you can expect to be done and by whom. So, Pinterest aside, don’t be afraid to flip through a few home style magazines. Another great place is architectural trade magazines, this is where architects themselves go for new ideas on what’s hot in the industry.
Do you know what’s better than viewing pictures in magazines? Seeing the home design in person! Why not attend a few design tours for inspiration? Several American cities host home design conventions where different architects and home decor makers showcase their work. A large number of well-designed homes are open to the public to explore. You can walk through and view the different designs and find something you like or a new idea you hadn’t considered. Usually there is a small admission fee, but the cost is insignificant compared to being able to put your hands on a finished product and to feel the size of a room when you’re standing in it.
Find designs you like, contact the architect, and take it from there. Of course, once you meet with the architect, you need to prepare a few questions. Find out their level of experience and credentials. Ask about their pricing, work ethic, and turnaround time. Compare with other architects before making your final decision.
The key to finding an architect to design your home is to cast your net wide. Take advantage of all platforms, from online to in-person design events. You can also take your cue from magazines. Not forgetting word-of-mouth referrals, which are a great source of finding a reliable architect. Most importantly, before you commit to deciding on an architect, do your homework. Find out everything you can about the architect. Read a few reviews and check out their portfolio. Just remember that the professional you pick can make the difference between a splendid dream home or a house filled with regret, so choose wisely.