Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Step Five: Finding an Architect

We actually hired our architect before closing, after we learned of the health department’s requirements regarding the septic, because our attorney advised us that we would have a better negotiating power if we had plans already drawn up. We didn’t actually need those plans to reach an agreement, which is good because it took us two months to finalize our plans, but I get ahead of myself.

We tried to find floor plans that met our needs in the myriad available on line, but nothing we found met our (or really my) requirements for what we wanted our home to be like.  After much frustration we reached the conclusion that we were going to have to hire an architect and design a home specifically to our desires.
As with finding the property, we probably did not go about finding an architect in the normal way.  We knew we wanted to be as green and as energy efficient in our building as possible, so we asked for recommendations and did a web search for architects who specialized in green construction and were LEED certified in our area.  After our research we found one whose website and credentials we particularly liked and we went to meet him.  We liked him immediately and didn’t search any further, though apparently it’s customary to meet with, and get quotes from several architects before deciding which you’ll use. 
I have to admit, in our research to find an architect who would design something we liked, we never considered the cost of such services.  So we were a little put off at first by the proposal we received.  But, we did a little more research and learned that the general rule of thumb is about 10% of your overall budget.  The proposal we received did fall within that window, and the after getting over our initial sticker shock, we also realized that the amount of work the architect was committing himself to, and his hourly rate were indeed reasonable for a trained professional.  So, we agreed to go forward and hired Jason Kliwinski of Designs for Life to design our dream home.
Then we began the design process.

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