If you are hiring an architect to build your home and haven’t been through the process before, you may find the learning curve a bit higher than you expected. Here are eight things residential architects wished their clients knew from the start to avoid confusion and to help their projects go more smoothly. 1. Understand why you hire an architect in the first place. When you build or remodel a home, you don’t have to use an architect. You have the option of using plans for purchase and hiring a builder or general contractor to oversee the project. However, if you want a unique design or have special needs, such as historic preservation, an architect is the way to go. 2. The architect is the expert. You may want a living room that is surrounded by a shark tank or a bedroom that connects by a zip line to your master bathroom. But if your architect says it can’t be done, their opinion trumps yours, no matter how cool or unusual your ideas. Architects study for years and have the benefit of experience in the field. They want to accommodate their clients’ wishes, but if structurally, legally, or financially they can’t accomplish what you want, you will have to look for other options. 3. Expect red tape, paperwork, and delays. Building and remodeling takes time and often, a great deal of paperwork. You may need to obtain building rights or get a permit from the local historical society. Other professionals need to be involved (see below). Expect there to be normal delays along the way with ordering materials, making changes, and dealing with weather. 4. Other professionals will be part of the process. Your architect will hire other people to be part of your construction project including potentially engineers energy experts landscape architects interior designers contractors These folks are just as expert at what they do as your architect, so do your best to respect their opinions and work as a team, with your architect as the liaison. 5. Agree on the budget and fees up front. You should have a budget in mind for your project, and make that clear to your architect. Your project will start with a schematic phase, then transition into design, blueprints, and construction. As you move into each new phase, it becomes harder and harder to make changes and stay within your original financial framework, so try to make any changes during the earliest stages. Architects generally charge either hourly (with a cap, if necessary) or as a percentage of the total project cost. Make sure you are in agreement about fees up front and when payments will be due. Expect to pay...