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  • Writer's pictureCaitlin Kelley

5 Top Questions An Architect Can Help You Answer About Your Dream Home

Building your custom dream home is probably the most significant endeavor you will ever undertake. There are many things to deliberate when taking on such a big project, and hiring an expert architect to steer you through the process will help you relax and enjoy the experience. An architect can help you prepare for your journey, plan correctly, and not rush, so you can avoid spending additional time and money.

You could be thinking that an architect just drafts plans for the builder. However, an architect is responsible for the design, coordination, and management of your custom home. With the many moving pieces, variables, and questions to answer to make your dreams a reality, you’ll want a guide to assist you in making the right decisions.

Here are the 5 top questions a professional architect can help you answer about designing your custom home:

1. How clear are you on exactly what you want?

You probably know what you want for your home, but have you thought about everything in detail? Is your future living situation the same as your current one? Are you planning to create space for family and friends to visit or perhaps live with you? What feeling should your loved ones have when invited to your home?

Imagine yourself entering your front door. How do you want to feel? Inspired? Luxurious? Joyful? When you move from your living room to the kitchen or the dining room, what do you want to experience? Can you easily move from space to space, laughing and enjoying the company of your guests? Or would you prefer to feel warm and cozy by the fire, cuddled up with a classic novel?

Do you see yourself climbing stairs to get to your owner’s suite, or do you envision living in a single-story home? Does your custom home have a yoga room, a place for meditation, and a room for a sauna and jacuzzi? What does “home” mean to you?

A professional architect can help you clarify what you want in your dream home and create that feeling, making it a reality.

2. Are you aware of your site’s full potential?

You may be clear on what you want for your dream home, but are you using your site to its full potential? If you consider the positioning of your house on your property, you could be reducing the energy required for heating and cooling. A professional architect can look at your site and advise you on building orientation regarding sunlight and wind to maximize energy efficiency.

Letting in natural light and utilizing heat from the sun lowers your electric, heating, and cooling costs over time.

Perhaps you haven’t selected a site for your home. You may know that you want to live where you can enjoy the majestic beauty of the mountains. Or you could crave the ocean view, watching the waves gently meet the shoreline. Maybe your dream is to live in a forest surrounded by green trees. An expert architect can help you compare different properties, often envisioning opportunities you weren’t aware of.

3. Do you know the planning and legal regulations?

Choosing the location for your custom home also means knowing what you can and can’t build on the site. Are you aware of the property lines, so your lovely wooden grapevine pergola doesn’t extend into your neighbor's yard? Do you need to put up white picket fences to comply with the uniformity of the neighborhood? Will the city allow you to build a basement in this community?

When you are designing the home of your dreams, you want to be able to build what you want where you want it. A professional architect gathers information on the site’s zoning and building regulations, assists in the design review approval processes, accounts for historic preservation considerations, and evaluates environmental impacts, so you don’t have to.

4. How confident are you in your budget?

Now that you know the legal and planning regulations, how confident are you regarding the cost of building your dream home? There are many factors to consider when estimating, and guessing only makes matters worse. With fluctuating prices and labor costs rising, a professional architect can clearly explain how different variables affect the design and budget. Your choice of materials, from the tiles in your bathroom to the woodwork for your front door, all contribute to the cost of your custom home.

Will your kitchen be equipped with the latest state-of-the-art appliances? Do you want heated flooring so you can comfortably walk across your living room barefoot, even in winter? Can you have separate bedrooms and living areas attached to your home so that your son and grandchildren will visit for the holidays and still have their privacy?

Each decision you make affects the cost and having a professional architect assist in clarifying the implications will give you the confidence to make informed decisions.

5. How long will it take to build your dream home?

Like having the exact budget for your project, the length of time it takes from concept, and design development to construction administration and completion varies. There could be shortages and shipping delays for materials and finishings. A lack of contractors could prevent the building from moving forward. Even the weather determines the time it takes to make your dream home a reality.

Built-in carpentry could take longer than premade items but may not give you the quality that a custom-designed piece will provide. Perhaps you want Italian marble for your foyer. The floor tiles could take a while to cross the Atlantic. Knowing how the items you select affect the project timeline will help you decide based on your options.

Each home is unique, and there are no identical projects, but a professional architect can calculate lead times and help identify the length of time for building your custom home.

Help in decision-making for your custom home

Building your custom home can be very exciting. By clearly knowing what you want, you will create a house that makes you feel at home and is designed especially for you and your lifestyle. Using the site to its full potential can make your home energy efficient and position your house to maximize the views of the surrounding nature.

With a professional architect to guide you through the journey of building your custom dream home, you will be confident about the process, timeline, and budget. You’ll have a strong advocate in your corner, assisting you in decision-making until the successful completion of your home.

A skilled and seasoned architect embodies your dreams to create a distinct home for you that will support your lifestyle now and for years to come. If you’d like to talk more about your dream home and how a professional architect can help you turn your dreams into a reality, call 858-344-2404 or email

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