I was at a workshop a short time ago, and a woman, who we will call Jane, who was there found out I was an architect and asked me a question I get a lot. The question starts off with a story on how they just purchased their home, and it took all their money, but it needs works done to it. And ends with “How can I remodel my home if I have spent all my money on the purchase price and had no equity.”
That is a difficult question to answer. I’m sorry, but tThere is no quick, easy answer. If you don’t have the money, you have to use your sweat equity. However, most times the homeowner knows this. But what Jane really was asking – “How can I hire an architect to design my remodel without spending a lot of money?” That is a question that is a little easier to answer. At least easier for me to answer.
The answer is clarity. The clearer you are about what you want to do to your home – the quicker the architect can get done to business.
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Keep It Simple Silly! The simpler your ideas, the more efficient your architect can be. Time is money, and the more time your architect needs to spend on the design the more money they need to charge. The architect needs to factor many items already – Planning issues, building code issues, homeowner associations, etc.. The simpler you make the project for the architect the less time and less money.
The clearer you are about your remodel or addition the less time the architect spends on the project. Now I am not saying that the architect will not spend any time designing your project. You want the architect to focus on those areas that you want to pop. Those areas that will make remodel special.
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You do not want to make a lot of changes. Changes equal time and that equals money. It is expected to make some revisions on the design the architect presents to you. But once you make a decision – stick with it. Being decisive will allow your architect to continue with the design process and not backtrack to make revisions to areas of the design that have been designed.
I just finished working with a couple with (1) child. They purchased their home and wanted to add a bathroom. They knew exactly how many square feet they needed, and the house was a very simple design. I was able to create the addition very quickly and submit for the permit within a few weeks. It was very efficient. The couple is hiring a contractor but only for the foundation, plumbing, and the exterior shell & finish. They will finish the interior to save money.
So if your means are limited, your vision for your dream home needs to clear. This saves the architect’s time which will save you money.