Should you buy online plans or should you hire an architect? It is a common question in this tight economy. If you are looking for the lowest price for the design solution, the simple answer is purchasing plans online will cost less than if you hire an architect.
However, if you are looking for the lowest price for the total project, I am confident hiring an architect will be the best value.
My question to you is: Why suffer the impacts of paying for generic design when you could get all the benefits of custom design?
Online plans are generic designs that offer the widest appeal to the biggest population. They are not designs that fit your specific needs, they don’t look at your land, and they don’t take time to understand your goals. Sure hiring an architect is more expensive if you are only comparing the cost of plans vs. the architect, but the architect brings all elements into the design. Looking at the best way to place your home on the lot can reduce your costs of excavation, heating and cooling (through passive design), and placing your home to make it livable for a lifetime. Architects bring a thorough understanding of structural efficiency and material characteristics. Architects study building science constantly, looking for the best solutions for their clients. Architects reduce your stress, simplify the finish selection process, and help you find the right builder for your home construction. Finally, the architect can help you stay in control during the construction process by catching problems before they are major issues, answering questions to keep the intent of the design intact, and offering insights from past experiences.