How do I go about finding an architect?
To find an architect who specializes in custom homes, a great place to start is your local Homebuilders Association. They can refer you to a number of architects who have experience designing homes within your local market and can design a home that meets your individual needs. It is important in selecting an architect to find someone who has experience working within your price range and housing type. If possible, tour homes that they have designed and visit with their previous clients. The team of homeowner, architect and builder will be working very closely over the next several months, so choose a team with whom you feel very comfortable.
What about the builder? How do I find one that will work within my parameters?
Many architects have built relationships with builders that specialize in custom homes. The very best scenario is for the builder and the architect to work together as a team during the design process. This insures that the design meets the functional and aesthetic needs and desires of the buyer, as well as their budget. The most important element of the design process is communication between all the team members; thus it is critical that all the team members (builder, architect, interior designer, lender) be on board early in the process.
What can a custom builder offer that a conventional builder can’t?
A true custom home builder can offer a much higher degree of personalization. A custom home is designed to meet the specific needs and desires of a particular buyer, so this home is one of a kind. While conventional builders often offer a wide variety of options that allow a buyer to personalize their home, the custom builder offers a home that is unique to the individual buyer.
How does the architect price his or her services?
There are a variety of ways in which different firms price their services depending on the scope of the project. At osmosis architecture, we typically evaluate the scope and determine a fixed fee for the entire design process through construction documents. This allows the homeowner to know the architectural budget from the beginning. Only a change in the scope of services will change this fee. When the scope is not completely defined, we will often work on an hourly basis. In general, we provide services during construction on an hourly basis as requested by the homeowner. As with everything else in the custom home process, the pricing of the architectural services is determined by the size and complexity of the home.
What else should I consider?
The most critical step in the process of building a custom home is putting together your team. Find a builder and architect who have relevant experience, whose work you like, and with whom you feel comfortable. You will be working very closely with your team for the next 6 months to a year, so choose a team that you will enjoy. This can be a tremendously rewarding process if you do your homework and start with a qualified team.