Whether you’re a new homeowner or have already been settled in for a while nothing is more exciting than putting your home through a renovation. If you really want to change things up in your NYC home and make it something unique to your tastes and style, then hiring an architect should be first on the agenda. These professionals will take your project ideas from inspiration to the drawing board and beyond. They’ll be able to create a design specially tailored to your needs and help foresee all obstacles along the way. Your chosen architect will be someone you’ll be working very closely with for many months, so it’s vital that you hire someone you can trust. So how do you choose one that will match both your vision and budget? Here’s what to look for when choosing an architect for your NYC home.
Finding an Architect
Every architect has their own style, approach to design and methods of work. When choosing an architect, it’s important that you find one who understands your needs. If there’s a design in your community that you liked, find out who the architect was. Get recommendations from family, friends, and acquaintances who have worked with architects. Once you have some names, check to see if they’re a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Being a member of the AIA means they adhere to a professional code of ethics and have a range of professional and technical resources to call on.
Call each firm to request details and describe your project to see if they would be willing to take it on. Try to narrow your list down to three or four architects which you will interview. Below are the main qualities you should be looking for.
Likeability and easy to communicate with
The right architect should be willing to listen to you and translate those words into the design. This will be a very close working relationship so it’s important that you can get along well together. You may like a person’s design style but if their attitude doesn’t gel with yours then miscommunication and conflict could be inevitable. Right from the start, they should remain your direct contact throughout the whole process. A direct relationship will be vital in ensuring consistency in communications. When discussing your needs, it’s great to have an architect that can suggest other ideas you might not have thought of. But don’t let them get carried away and lose sight of those elements that are important to you.
Can manage budgets
Extensive renovations can be costly. As such, it’s important that your architect can manage your budget and clearly explain how any variables will affect design and cost. It’s almost a guarantee that you’ll go over budget, so you’ll need some flexibility in your budget and timeline. The key thing is that your architect can explain any variables early on, so you know what to expect. It’s important that right from the start you set a limit and to be sure your architect can work within these constraints.
They’re a team player
Designing a home is a team endeavor between you, the architect and other professionals that will have to be brought on over time. It’s important that your architect is a team player who can coordinate everyone and foster a cooperative atmosphere. Working through a creative challenge can be satisfying and exciting but it will also mean a lot of work. You should be able to discuss any concerns you have with the architect. They shouldn’t be allowed to control the project to the point where the home is no longer yours. But you also don’t want to restrict them so much that creativity suffers.
Have a good reputation
As with hiring any professional, their reputation will count for a lot. Ask for references not just from previous clients but also builders, interior designers and other professionals they’ve worked with. From these references, you should be able to judge their competency for the job. You can also look into their past projects and personal history. This will give you an idea of who you’ll be working with.
The architect will be providing you with a professional service, not a product. Unlike buying a car or new appliance you won’t be able to see the final product and test it out. Knowing the right architect to hire really comes down to finding someone you trust, and feel is right for the job. Different projects require different skills so make sure you know what you’re looking for before you start looking.