Architects are licensed professionals with college degrees in architecture who are in the business of designing new homes or remodels and additions whether simple or all the way from the foundation on up.
Even if you wind up not needing an architect or firm for the scope of what you are doing, they have the knowledge to help steer your project in the right direction which can minimize the various potential problems you may encounter during the project.
Do I really need to hire an architect?
Hiring an architect can help you in figuring out exactly what you want. Additionally architects have the benefit of working on lots of projects and can give you input and ideas that you might not otherwise think of no matter how many home improvement magazines you read.
With an architect involved you can eliminate some of the confusion involved in a major building project however you will still need to work with contractors and a general contractor. Remember architects can bill by the hour or by the project as a flat fee. Some of the billing method used will depend on the size of your project.
Many people believe hiring a residential architect is a waste of money. What those individuals fail to realize is that an architect more than earns his or her fee by saving construction costs. The other important benefit of having an architect is that you will have peace-of-mind during the construction process because you have an expert who knows exactly what the plans converted into your home will look like. The architect can help your contractor with supervising all the work to ensure things are built to specifications.
Helping with Home Additions or Remodeling Projects
Often homeowners know they want to remodel their home or want to build a home addition but they can't quite figure out how to get started. Most people do however know how much money they have to spend.
A great way to get your home improvement project started is to get a consult with a reputable architect. If you have seen in some magazines or books what you think you want take them with you for your consult. Your architect will be able to let you know if the budgeted amount you have is enough to afford the project you would like undertaken.
If the project is large enough to require the architect to draw plans likely they will waive the consult and include it in their bid. If your project is smaller and doesn't require an architect's full involvement they can bill you hourly for consulting on the project. While you need to be careful of this approach having an architect at your disposal can be very handy during a building project.