How to Hire an Architect: What you Need to Know

Posted On March 21, 2023

Hiring an architect for your home remodeling project, ADU, or addition can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Want to learn how to hire an architect? Here are our suggestions for what to ask an architect before hiring them for your project, so you can make sure you achieve your home improvement goals.

  • Building Type and Architectural Design Style
    A factor to consider in how to hire an architect is to base your decision on their dominant architectural design style and area of expertise. Consider your preferred style of architecture and does the architect have experience designing homes of that style? For example, does the architect have experience designing modern, contemporary homes? 

    Also, some architects specialize in only one type of building, such as residential, commercial, or industrial spaces, and you want to work with someone who has plenty of experience in your particular renovation type.

  • Licensing
    Is the architect licensed? This means they are not simply a drafting or expediting service. Architects who are licensed have many years of education and mentorship and must pass a grueling exam to be considered for a license. Working with a licensed and experienced architect will ensure a better overall design and more efficient resolution of any potential issues.

Modern white home exterior with lawn and patio

  • Local
    Another consideration to make in how to hire an architect is their location in relation to your project. Make sure the architect has the knowledge and experience to navigate local building and zoning code requirements and that the design and drafting portions are not outsourced outside of your service area. Also make sure your architect works closely with local, licensed engineers and other consultants. Engineers may need to provide on-site structural observations and other services that require they be local as well.
  • Budget
    Ask the architect before hiring if your design goals match the construction budget. Is the architect able to design around your stated budget? Ask the architect before hiring what considerations will affect the cost of your project?  It’s important that the architect sets realistic expectations as well as offer alternatives to more expensive finishes, fixtures, and hardware to help control construction costs as needed.
  • Experience
    Some questions to ask potential architects before hiring include:
    • How many years has the firm been in business?
    • Who are the design principals?
    • Does the firm have experience with your particular type of project? For example hillside design or homes located in a historic preservation area?
    • Does the firm have experience hiring the consultants that may be required for the project such as soils engineers, civil engineers and plumbing consultants?
  • Services
    When it comes to knowing how to hire an architect for your home remodel or addition, make sure your architect offers a variety of services that complement the overall design and your goals for the project. Some architects provide “shell and core” only, leaving other design details to outside consultants.

    Another consideration before hiring an architect is does the firm offer optional add-on services such as Interior Finishing, Exterior Enhancement, and Landscape Concept Design services to ensure an overall, holistic design that will leave your home feeling refreshed and renewed? Will the work have a sense of completion? Does the firm provide an overall design solution so that you do not need to seek out additional experts to have your renovations completed?

Open dining room and living room with large windows

  • Fees 
    Not all architects are transparent about how they will bill you and whether they are able to complete their work within your architectural budget. Make sure the pricing is transparent and clear as to what you can expect to receive. Be mindful that some architects charge based on estimated construction costs or hourly billing, while others are fixed fee.

    EZ Plans architecture service provides full-fee transparency with our online pricing tool. Further transparency is provided during onboarding and as part of our Services Agreement to review items that may include:
    • Consultants
    • City Fees
    • Construction
    • Administration
    • Bidding Coordination Services
    • Additional Design Changes
  • Contractors 
    When you think about how to hire an architect, you also need to consider the architect’s relationships with the contractor and building community in order to execute the final vision. Is the architect able to recommend a contractor to work on the project? If you don’t have a contractor selected, make sure the architect can provide recommendations for builders.

    EZ Plans offers contractor referrals as well as bidding coordination services to ensure your project is built by a high-quality, local contractor who is licensed, bonded, and insured. We do not recommend signing up with a design/build firm over an architecture firm.  Why lock yourself into a contractor commitment before you have even worked through the architecture, design, engineering, and permitting?  Our experts can provide support for hiring contractors so that you end up with a competitive construction bid and a cohesive result.
  • Reviews and Recommendations 
    Make sure past clients are happy with the work provided by the architect. EZ Plans has 5 Star reviews for both great design and customer service from Yelp, Houzz, and Google, to name a few, along with glowing testimonials from past clients.  You might also ask your architect for references before hiring them to complete any work. Also, look at the portfolio of work completed by the architect to make sure they meet your design criteria.

Remodeled kitchen with skylights and pale green cabinets

  • Written Contract 
    Before you engage in architecture services, make sure you have read and reviewed a written contract. Contract items should include items such as:
    • Written description of the property and scope of work
    • Items to be included and/or excluded
    • List of possible consultants
    • Clarification of document ownership
    • Procedure for handling disputes
    • Fee payment schedule
  • Communications and Customer Service 
    When researching how to hire an architect, make sure the architect has clearly laid out their process as well as procedures for communications with all project stakeholders. At EZ Plans, we value transparent communication so much that we’ve developed  proprietary technology that enhances communications using our ArchiTech© Platform that enhances the client engagement process and keeps you informed throughout the life of your project.

Remodeled bathroom with glass shower door

How to Hire an Architect With Confidence: Choose EZ Plans

At EZ Plans we offer a unique, transparent experience that takes the guesswork out of your home remodeling or addition project so you can stay on budget and get the work done fast. We have a large network of licensed architects who specialize in various building types, including single-family, new construction and remodeling, multi-family, and commercial spaces.

Our architects also have experience in a variety of design styles and we keep that in mind as we match you with the best architect for your project, your home style,  and your personal tastes. Have any more questions? Review our FAQs to learn more about how we work and what to expect from the EZ Plans process. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin to see what we’ve been up to, and to be inspired for your next home remodel or addition!

Ready to get started? Fill out our pricing form to start designing your space.