People hop onto the bandwagon of an architect’s reputation as soon as his portfolio makes it to the list of award-winning home designs, and you’ve probably noticed many of the houses in your neighborhood follow the same template. You don’t have to conform to the mold just to have a livable home, though. If you’re remodeling instead of building, then you should hire a house designer with contractor services to recommend. Your project always starts with the design, but how much are you willing to pay for the service? House designers and architects follow their own criteria concerning consultation fees; consider the terms of the service if you want to make the most out of your investment.
Most designers ask for a fraction of the construction costs. This arrangement is reasonable enough if it involves an 8% cut, but some choke you with as much as 16%. That’s 160,000 dollars piled on top of a million-dollar renovation, assuming you live in a posh neighborhood and you’re planning a complete overhaul. This applies to the small details as well; your designer can charge a consultation fee for any changes you make on the finalized construction plan. Commission is the industry standard, but it’ll put a serious dent on your finances.
Hourly fees seem cost-effective compared to commissions, but the downside is you won’t really know how much your project costs until after its completion. It’s commendable that house designers don’t bind their fees to the variables of the construction, presenting the total number of hours of rendered service in its stead. This is ideal for residential remodeling, but the costs could stack up for larger projects.
You’ll have to avoid contracts which combine the worst of both agreements. Your designer will charge an hourly rate during the initial phases of the project (design, proposal, permits, approval), and then demands a percentage of the construction costs after completion. This option is only appealing if the percentage involves a trifle amount, but you should opt out of an offer which requires a 20-30% add-on fee on top of your total costs.
Flat fees are your best option. This is the honest, cost-effective agreement, since you’ll know what to pay for even before the project kicks off. This method depends on the rate of completion, though. You’ll still have the advantage because the implemented hourly rate is lowered in case of delays. Even if your house designer raises the rates for a project that’s progressing ahead of schedule, the cost is offset by the savings gained from shorter manpower hours and equipment rentals. Award-winning home designs are only worth considering if these comply with your local building codes; it’s also a given that your architect’s fees and terms should fall within your means.