Building a home is difficult when the home is in the same city or town and you can be close by in case circumstances arise that need the homeowner’s immediate attention. So when it is this difficult when the owner is nearby, it only makes sense that it’s even more difficult when trying to build a home that is located in another town, city, or state. There are things that can be done to help with this difficulty and one of the first things is to find a good architect.
The first thing a homeowner should do is to look at the website of the American Institute of Architects. From here they can search for an architect by the zip code of the new home’s address.
If a builder has already been hired, it’s helpful to ask for referrals. Referrals can also be found through friends and local recommendations. Once the homeowner has a list of names, they should ask to see the architect’s portfolio and to see existing homes that the architect has designed. When visiting existing homes, try to speak to the owners to see if they had any problems with the architect. Homeowners should also ask the architect if they have existing relationships with builders. The owner needs to be very comfortable with the architect they choose and know that the architect will help take their dreams and put them onto paper.
The architect should be local to the area where the new home will be built. These architects will understand the environment, as well as local rules and regulations that may be part of building a new home. An architect needs to know how to build in areas that may have steep hills as well as be familiar with that area’s building codes.
Making sure that the architect’s personal style is in line with the homeowners is very important when building a home. For this reason, it’s important to interview several architects and make sure that the two visions are in sync with each other.
Homeowners also need to make sure that the work of the architect is guaranteed. When one receives the set of plans for their home, it is important to understand everything that those plans entail and to make sure that the plans will be able to be followed through. An architect needs to be able to revise plans in case something comes up that poses a problem with the plans.
Architects are aware that no plan will be perfect after the first drawing. They know that the plans will need to be revised two or three times. However, homeowners need to realize that they cannot expect the architect to revise the plans time and time again, with no limit as to the number of revisions that are made. Homeowners also need to stay open-minded. Architects are generally willing to put into place whatever the homeowner wants but will let the homeowner know when something is not possible. They are not doing this to impede the planning process, only to let the owner know what will work and what will not.
It’s also important to know exactly how much the fees are for the designer and what they entail. A lot of architects base their fee upon the square footage of the house and will determine a set price before anything is started. Making small changes to an initial set of drawings is a simple process and usually won’t have a large fee attached. However, revising entire drawings can be very expensive. Getting a builder involved to help with knowing how much costs will be could be very helpful. Some architects are paid depending on how much the construction amounts are and will take a percentage of those.
To avoid any misconceptions along the way, it’s often a good idea to hire an architect that is hired by a certain builder. This can prevent many problems down the road. Often times, architects will create a plan, get paid by the homeowner, and then their work will be done. Later, when the home is actually about to be built, the builder will let the owner know that the plans are not feasible and cannot be carried out. Or the plans may not be able to be carried out according to budget and the builder and the homeowner will need to make changes to the plans themselves. Working with an architect that already works with the builder can prevent this problem from ever arising.
Building long distance can be made very simple with the technology that is available today. Homeowners can be emailed or overnight couriered any plans that have been drawn up. Digital cameras, smart phones, and the Internet also make communicating very easy and is sometimes easier than speaking on the phone as the architect and owner both can look at the plans and discuss them together. Initially however, it’s wise to have a meeting between the homeowner and the architect to discuss each other’s visions and get a clear picture of what should be done. Another face to face meeting should also be arranged during the planning phase so that plans can be looked at and questions can be asked in person.
Building remotely doesn’t have to be the challenge that it seems. Homeowners only need to team up with a professional architect and a professional builder that will help them think and plan ahead.
Jeffrey G. Funk, P.A.
Realty Executives Central Florida
7932 West Sand Lake Road • Suite 302
Orlando, FL 32819