Part of the excitement of an architectural project is that you will be able to watch an idea become realized. No matter the size of renovation you’re taking on, properly budgeting at the beginning of your project will save you stress down the road. You need to set aside funds to finance the various costs, including architect fees and interest on the loans if you are taking them out. Will your job require additional contractors or engineers? What kind of materials are needed? There are many details that must be accounted for in your breakdown before you begin any building or remodeling.

What does hiring an architect cost?

Architects may charge by the hour, by the square foot or by the project. Hourly fees vary and may differ depending upon the scheduled length of hiring or the experience of the architect (a partner, for example, can charge more than an associate). If you are building a home from the ground up, your architect may charge by the square footage, such as $5 per square foot, by the hour, which will be a higher rate such as $150 per hour, or by a percentage of the project, such as 10% of the total project costs.

Your fees will also be dependent upon what you are hiring them to do. Architects drawing up an original home design on an uncleared lot will spend a lot of time surveying, plotting and testing before presenting any designs. They may even need to research the zoning laws for the property and get further information before plans are drawn up. Architects hired for a remodeling project will want to charge for their time spent meeting with the homeowner, planning and drawing up plans. The architect is not only a problem solver, they usually do much of the pre-planning work and establish the tone for the rest of the project.

Some architects are even part of the interior design and landscaping design process. This is especially true for larger firms who house many specialists under one roof. Site engineering and surveying may also be part of their fees. Because of the various pricing structures and variants with cost, it’s best to have your general budget set prior to meeting with the architect. It is also important to sign a contract with your architect to ensure that all costs are outlined abiding by your terms and conditions in order for you to stay on budget.

Compromises and finances

To stay within your budget, you’ll probably have to make compromises. What you choose to trim from the project is your decision. This could involve eliminating a loft in your garage addition or simplifying the surrounding landscape. Cutting where you can will ensure you stick to your stated budget from the get-go.

How you decide to pay for your architectural project will depend on the initial estimated costs. Larger-scale projects will in all likelihood have you visiting a financial institution – most people don’t have cash to spend on a pricey remodel or renovation. Therefore, you’ll have to finance your architectural project with a bank, credit union, or other lender. Work it out so your monthly payments, interest, and other bank fees do not overwhelm your finances after the project is over. Utilizing the convenience of a home loan or home equity line of credit will allow you to get the space you’ve dreamed about without sacrificing your pocketbook.

Expecting the unexpected

It’s wise to plan a little cushion for your budget for when unplanned events occur. A good rule of thumb is to include up to 20% more in your budget to cover unexpected changes, additions, and extra services. Alternatively, you can figure out how much you are willing to spend and cut 20% out from that number before you begin approaching architects. Just like any home improvement project, your architectural remodel or renovation can run into some issues that may cause delays or additional costs. Keeping a strong line of communication between you and your contractor will help ensure that these issues are planned and accredited for.

Commitment and communication

A big part of a successful budget is clear communication with your architect from the beginning. Make sure you both understand what the budget entails and work towards a way to make the project happen within those parameters. If your architect is keen on adding things to your project to make it even bigger and better, you’ll end up spending way more than you wanted to. Stick to the budget and insist on keeping to the original work order your architect prepared. Too many change orders will balloon the scope of your project and your costs. Find the right professional and stay competitive in the marketplace by consulting the Porch Home Report on Porch for relevant industry information when completing your architectural project.