Are you looking for an architect for your home improvement project or a complete new home design? Finding a reliable and trusted architect isn’t that easy. You will have to do research on the available ones in your area. But also, you should look for one that matches your preferred style. If your overwhelmed by all the different factors involved, consider reading further and hopefully our guide will be very useful. Once you go through it, you will know which steps to undertake. So make sure that you don’t miss these smart tips!
1. Word-of-mouth is the good old way
If you know someone that has had home improvement projects recently, ask them about their architect. Or, ask your neighbors if they have had any need for an architect. This is a very reliable way to find the right one, as the number of architects that work within your area might be limited. Your neighbors will certainly know some good ones. This is especially helpful if you are new to the neighborhood. Or maybe you will see that a house in your street is undergoing a home improvement project. Check the company’s sign placed outside, and find the business online. You can even ask the neighbors if they are satisfied.
Asking for people’s experience is the best source of information. When someone has been through the process, they will be able to share the experience with you. And you will understand that the architect’s job is crucial for the whole project
2. Do online research
If your friends or neighbors don’t know a good architect, then you can find one online. You can start the search by simply typing in your area and the word architect. You will come to a page where you can see so many businesses that operate within your area. However, keep in mind that you might see fewer ones. You can also look at architectural books for inspiration and featured architects, but another way is looking at online architectural magazines like the following:
Once you have gone through different businesses, you should make a list of the ones that you are interested in. You will need to choose someone that you can build a business relationship with. Don’t think of your architect as someone that you will hire for a specific job to be done. Keep in mind that the project requires participation from your side as well. But you also need someone that you can have excellent communication with. They should be able to understand your requirements and preferences.
When you have a few architects on your mind, it is time to research each one of them individually. You will want to make a list with all the pros and cons of each one so that you can make the final decision by having them on your mind.
1. Visit their site
We live in the digital era, where every business is present online. Your first stop is their website. The goal is to get more info about their work. Look for the portfolio on the site. Every architect should have a portfolio with their past projects. It will help you catch their vibe and see their style. If the portfolio isn’t listed or you want additional info, you should always contact them directly.
2. Read reviews
The reviews are a modern version of the word of mouth. If you don’t know anyone personally that has worked with the architect, you can read written reviews by people that did. You can find reviews on their Facebook page, on their sites, or on independent platforms like Yelp.
Scan the reviews carefully, and look for the ones that offer more detailed info about the whole experience. Comments that only say “good” or “bad” won’t be of any use for you. You will need a more detailed review that describes the experience from start to finish. Note the communication between the customer and the architect and their openness. As we already said, you will need to build a relationship with them. Don’t think of yourself as just being the boss and them an employee. They need to be open to hear your wishes and you should be open to hearing their suggestions. After all, it is their field of expertise.
Also, check to see how they deal with any unexpected issues. These can happen at any phase of the project, so it is very important to work with someone that knows how to manage every situation.
3. Contact them directly
When you have done your research, you can directly contact the chosen companies. Call them on the phone or write them an email. The initial contact will set the tone for any further actions. You can note whether they are open to communication or they are too busy on other projects.
This is the phase when you can solve any questions that you had on your mind. You can ask for them to send a portfolio. If you read something negative in the reviews, you can ask how do they deal with that kind of issue. Feel free to ask any questions that bother you.
The price is a very important factor. Architects have different methods of payment, so it is better to know theirs. Some will ask for an hourly fee, some might have a fixed labor cost. In any case, you should know it so that you can calculate it in your budget.
Making a final decision might be difficult. A face to face meeting is the last point. When you have compared all the pros and cons, you will get to a choice of few architects. You might have to meet with three different architects before you make the final decision. When you are sitting face to face with them, you will be able to see their level of communication. You can present your specific project, and they should provide a price estimation.