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  #1  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2007, 12:33 AM
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Hiring an architect

So I'm buying a house. It's a typical 1970's sub-urban piece of garbage, but it's got a beautiful yard. I'm wondering what the process would be and about how much it would cost to hire an architect to draw up some plans to spruce it up. I'd probably be doing slowly one upgrade at a time, but it'd be nice to have plans for an overall vision so I'm not doing work over.

Any ideas or thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old Posted Jan 20, 2007, 12:50 AM
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A couple of suggestions:

Talk to your friends who also own homes and find out of they've used one or talk to friends that either have used or are contractors. Either should point you in the right direction.

A couple of things...given that you likely bought a single family home, a contractor might be able to help you as much as an architect. For renovations, etc, it's not always necessary to have 'stamped' architectural drawings. That's why so many people do it themselves. Still, if you're starting at zero and don't know anything about it...I'd start with a contractor.

Any contractor you use should be licensed and will happily give you his license number. You should be able to look up whether or not there are complaints against him on the website of whatever state agency licenses contractors in Florida.

Same goes for architects. If someone is offering 'architectural' services, they HAVE to be licensed architects (at least in the states I'm licensed in). At least that way you know they meet minimum competencies.

Typically on a suburban home renovation, unless you're doing a huge addition, you aren't subject to local design review. If you are, an architect will be MUCH more helpful than a contractor. If you don't have a design review for your project, then it's simply a matter of permitting, in which case either an architect or a contractor is likely sufficient.

When it comes to pricing, if you go with a contractor, they will get you pricing. The problem is that then you only get one price, but it is usually quicker. An architect is likely to suggest several contractors and assist you in getting pricing.

There are pros and cons either way. For anything beyond a simple home renovation I'd completely recommend only getting an architect, but for this you have choices.

Start this way...go down to your city or county planning department (whichever you live in). You'll need your address and likely the parcel number (this is in your title report). Talk to someone at the planning counter about what you'd like to do and they'll likely be able to outline the entire process for you. It's an hour of work that will save you a couple hundred bucks from having someone else do it for you!

Kinda lengthy...if you want, PM me and I can explain a little better.

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Old Posted Jan 20, 2007, 6:10 AM
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Thanks for the info. It'll take me a while to digest what I want to do and what I can realisticly afford to do. The 2nd story loft addition probably won't make the cut, but the bay window probably will. I'll keep your advice in mind.
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