Who Should You Hire to Design Your Home in 2023?

You will have a lot of options when it comes to who to choose to design your dream home whether it be a stock home plan, custom home designer / drafter or an architect. In this blog post we'll talk about how to choose between stock and custom home designs as well as the pros and cons of working with an home designer vs. an architect for your new house build.

When it comes to home design, there are so many variables that need to be considered before you can get started. How big is your budget? Do you have a floor layout in mind already? What style do you want your designer to focus on? Do they specialize in the type of work you're looking for or will they have a team working with them from different backgrounds and styles who may not meet what you're going for? We know how overwhelming this process can be when starting out. 

Choosing Between Stock & Custom House Plans:

Shopping for a home design is like shopping for a painting or piece of art. You might start your process by visiting an art gallery and browsing options. From there you might fall in love with an artist's style and decide that you want to commission them to produce a custom piece of art for you, or you might find the perfect piece of art off the wall and purchase that. 

We like this analogy because home architecture is truly an art form, so if you must have a certain style that an home designer is designing then it makes sense to hire them. But if you are more comfortable shopping by being able to see the house plans before committing to purchase them then shopping stock plans may be the best option for you. We offer both stock house plans, floor plan modifications as well as custom home design services

The Difference Between an Architect & Home Designer:

If you’re like most people, you may not know the difference is between architects and home designers, which is why we created this post. We want everyone to be able to make an informed decision about who they hire for their next project. It doesn't matter if it's a new house or just some renovations - hiring the right person is important!

Both architects and home designers are trained in architecture, engineering, construction methods, building codes, zoning laws, environmental systems (HVAC), structural design and safety procedures. They also have a knowledge of materials science as well as architectural history and theory.

Both architects and home designers will give you the same product; a set of custom construction documents (house plans). But there are some key differences between them:

Services: Architects often go beyond this by offering two additional services, construction administration (occasionally visiting the site and ensuring the plans are being followed by the builders) and specification writing (choosing the specific materials, finishes and fixtures)

Pricing: Architects typically charge around 5-15% of the final build price to design a custom home. Home designers / drafters tend to charge much less. For instance, we charge 1.5% for custom home designs.

Engineering: Either way, the plans need to be engineered for your local site conditions so there's no cost savings in either direction. (Here's our post on House Plan Engineering)

Stamps: Architects are registered at the state level jurisdiction and can stamp (or seal) drawings which is sometimes required locally. Most of the time, the required stamp can be provided by the structural engineer (which means that the architect's stamp is redundant). Check with your local building department.

Consider Additional Design Professionals:

An experienced interior designer can help with everything from furniture placement to material and color choices. This is something that can pay for itself if you are planning resale value in mind. 

We also sometimes recommend a landscape architect. Indoor/outdoor living is becoming increasingly common so choosing curb appeal and backyard aesthetics over increased interior floorspace may be a tradeoff worth making.

Back to blog