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Do I Need an Architect for my Remodeling Project?

Find out if hiring an architect is right for your home remodeling project.

There’s a lot to think about when taking on a home remodeling project. You’ll have to address many questions during the planning and execution stages, from budget and design considerations, to furnishings and fixtures selections (and many more!). Whether or not to hire an architect is a common question that crops up during the pre-planning stage, and making this decision isn't as simple as you may think.

With endless home design and remodeling inspiration on TV and social media, we live in a DIY world. It may be tempting to want to do all the design work yourself, and in many cases, you certainly can. But there may be situations where hiring a pro will deliver the quality results you desire. Whether you plan to do all the work yourself or hire a design professional, here are the most important considerations when making your decision. 

Your Budget

How much you have to spend could make the decision for you. Architect’s fee amounts and how they charge vary widely, but plan on paying 8% to 20% of the total project cost for budgeting purposes. For example, if you’re planning a kitchen remodel and have a budget of $40,000, plan to pay $6,000 to $8,000 in architectural fees. 

It seems counterintuitive, but hiring an architect can end up saving you money in the long run, depending on the project. Their design and product knowledge is extensive, and many can offer value-engineering suggestions to help you achieve the look you want for less money. Sometimes the cost savings can even meet or exceed their fees. 

If your project is a light renovation or room refresh that doesn’t require structural changes, hiring an architect may not be necessary. But if you're planning major improvements or are preparing your home for sale, getting advice from a professional will provide the kind of polished results that you (or a future homebuyer) will appreciate for many years to come.

Your Project’s Scale

As mentioned previously, the bigger the project, the bigger the need for professional assistance. Major remodeling jobs require permits and that everything meets or exceeds local code requirements. If your DIY work violates code, it could result in additional costs from potential fines and the work to bring everything up to code. If you're planning on getting a loan to finance your remodel, the loan may be contingent on providing the lender with copies of professionally drawn plans.

You Have a Design Dilemma

Taking your project’s scale a step further, if you are restoring a historic home, or have a challenging design problem, an architect will quickly become a valuable resource. If you want to restore a mid-century modern fixer-upper to its former glory or add another bathroom that flows well with the rest of the house, you’re going to need some expert design advice.  

Your Level of Involvement

When considering hiring an architect, you’ll have to be clear about everyone’s roles and responsibilities, yours included. If you have experience with home construction projects, your need for a professional touch won't be as great as someone with less expertise. But managing the various project stages and day-to-day activities can be stressful and time-consuming. The last thing you want is to have to manage a delivery mix-up during an important work meeting. Now’s the time to be realistic about your schedule and availability for project management. 

An architect’s responsibilities and duties can vary widely depending on the type of project. For example, some may be willing to help research and hire a general contractor, while others may not. Have a clear understanding of the services your architect will provide and be sure they are included in your contract. 

Home Remodeling, Simplified

Whether or not to hire an architect is one of the first decisions you’ll make planning your remodeling project. If you have the DIY spirit when it comes to design but prefer a streamlined installation experience, consider Renno. Create your new kitchen or bathroom with our online design planner, choose from professionally curated materials, and get an estimate for labor and materials. Select from a list of licensed contractors in your area to get the job done on your schedule and budget. Need more info? Check out our FAQs, or get started on your design today.  

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