You’ve seen their profile online. Their photos look great, but what about in real life? You try to manage your expectations, but it’s hard not to get carried away, lost in thoughts of living happily ever after in a beautiful house. The venue has been set. You want to make a good first impression, you dress nicely and you make sure you turn up on time. You’re feeling nervous. I hope we get along…
Just like a first date, your first meeting with an architect determines if you want to see each other again and make beautiful buildings together! That’s a pretty big decision to make in just one meeting. Especially given the amount of time it takes from the first meeting until the day you move in. This is a long term relationship, on average 18 months to two years. There’s also a lot of your hard earned money involved, so if you’re not feeling it on the first date, walk away.
To help you with this important decision, here is my 5 criteria to consider at your first meeting:
1) Know what you want.
Spend time prior to your meeting to determine the rooms you need, what you do and don’t like, and what your lifestyle requirements are. This is the only way an architect can know what their work involves, if they can help you, and if what you want to achieve is possible.
2) Are you a good fit for each other?
This is a working relationship; will it work? The answer to that is in this previous blog, it’s one of the most important blogs to read on my website – It’s all the key ingredients for a great relationship between you and your architect.
You are going to be spending a lot of time together. Whilst you need to be confident of getting a great house, if at every meeting you feel like you need to bring in a mediator in order to communicate, than that 1.5 to two years you will be spending together, is going to be very painful! You are creating a new home, not an early grave.
Consider carefully – Do you like them as a person? Will you enjoy working together?
4) Your budget.
Don’t be shy, we all have our limits and the architect needs to know how much you have to spend in order to avoid going over it! Of equal importance – is what you want to create achievable with the money you have to spend? Best to find out before the bills start arriving. This blog I wrote on budgets goes into this in greater detail.
5) Know their value.
Unless you have been through the process before, you won’t understand how much time an architect spends on creating a house. It’s commonly thought that architects are expensive, but understand they are charging for months of work, not hours, hence the fees. When considered that way, you will see architects charge the same as any other professional.
Architects fees are based on a percentage of the construction price. The more the house costs, the more work there is to do. It is a sliding scale where the percentage lessens as the value of the construction increases – for example a $100k renovation, the percentage maybe 15% but for a 1.5 million dollar home perhaps 7%. You will also pay more for the quality of the design; a really good architect will put in a lot more time/work, and be more innovative than an average architect.
Paying for a good architect ensures your money sees you coming home every night to a high quality, beautifully designed home. Saving money by engaging a cheap architect or designer, gets you an ordinary design – you’ve spent the same budget, but come out with much less! The money saved on the lesser architect/designer, costs you so much more in the end.
By doing your homework before – determining what you want, your budget and taking the time to see the architects’ work prior, you’ll ensure you will walk away from your first meeting able to make an informed decision.
Fingers crossed it’s love at first sight.