How much does it cost to have an architect design a custom home?

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We charge a flat fee of $3.00 per square foot of living (heated) area. This usually works out to between 2% and 3% of the total investment in house and lot. Refer to "who we are and what we do" to see what this includes. If you choose HCH to build your home, we will rebate 50% of the architectural fee.
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Hiring an architect to custom design your home can add considerable extra costs to the price of building your house. An architect is a professionally trained and educated individual who can help you design and construct your home to fit your desired use of space, look and feel, and efficiency. Typically, hiring an architect can add on anywhere from 8 to 20% of construction costs of a new or remodeled home.


In Massachusetts the going rate to hire an architect to design a custom home is between 10 - 15% of the estimated total cost of the project. Generally speaking, architects charge $75-200 per hour.  I know this to be true because I contact architects in my area and ask the very same question on a regular basis in order to decide on what my fee should be.

I am a Residential Designer and charge a fixed fee. I base that fixed fee on $40 hour. I multiply my hourly rate by the estimated hours I think it will take to produce a set of detailed construction documents for any specific project. An "average" project takes 100 hours of my time, therefore an "average" set of plans cost $4,000. This typically works out to be a third of what an architect would charge for the same project.

With that said, you could hire 100 different architects or residential designers and get 100 entirely different sets of construction documents delivered to you. No two sets would be exactly alike. In my opinion, the real "value" in a set of documents is in the design itself. I offer an unlimited design phase. Most architects and designers will charge hourly for the design phase. The longer the client is in the design phase, the more the final fee will be. A good design, along with a highly detailed set of plans will definately pay for itself. A bad design coupled with a mediocre set of plans will cost more than money. It will cause headaches and grief, as well as cost overuns.

Two things I know to be fact. The single most important person you hire on any construction project is the architect or designer. The second most important is the structural engineer. Shopping for construction documents is not like comparing the price of a car where the final price will be within a few hundred dollars of the competition. Simply stated, with an architect or designer you get what you pay for. Pay less, get less. Pay more, get more. One more bit of advice. Stay clear of the "student" that will supply a set of plans for $500, and the "retired" guy that draws a plan on graph paper.

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