Rand Soellner Architect has recently had several discussions with new clients about what things a residential architect like them does to SAVE YOU MORE THAN THEIR FEE: many times over. That’s the subject of this post: how a house architect can save you more than their fee, which makes it very beneficial for you to seriously consider engaging an architect (a real one) to design your house, because if you do not, you will likely end up with a house that is Not as spacious, functional, energy efficient, healthy, or as handsome of a residence.
It seems that many people have had this preconceived notion that engaging an architect to design your house was a luxury and that it is cheaper to just find some builder’s existing plans somewhere and build a less-than ideal house. Unfortunately, many people make this decision and proceed and are unhappy with their “un-architectural” house for the rest of their lives. Why? because they are missing important things that they feel they could have had if they had hired an architect.
What is it that a residential architect can do for you that will save you much more than what you pay them? Soellner can’t speak for every house architect, but for their practice, They can tell you:
A Residential Architect Saves You Much More Than Their Fee
1. BIDDING OUT THE CONSTRUCTION: Rand Soellner often will bid out the project construction to a handful of qualified, licensed, invited-only contractors. The prices this architect receives on behalf of their clients usually are far below what they would have been if the Client would have simply given the project construction to a single contractor they “liked.”
SAVINGS: tens of thousands of dollars, possibly over $100,000. Sound unlikely? It isn’t. Having a level playing field, established by the residential architect, and placing qualified GCs in competition with each other can result in lower overhead and profit margins and cutting out the fat on projects, when bidders really want the work.
2. MORE SQUARE FOOTAGE FOR LESS DOLLARS: Rand Soellner has spent a chunk of the last several years researching with residential builders from all over the country how to squeeze the most from every construction dollar. Soellner knows how to maximize your interior square footage while minimizing the exterior construction surfaces, roofing, walls, and foundations that define your house. That sounds like a real magic act, doesn’t it? It isn’t. It is basic geometry, in which of course, an architect is skilled. Other people in the construction industry are not.
This is part of the research and development that the Soellner firm participates in, to constantly deliver more bang for their client’s buck. This philosophy and geometric analysis is easy for an architect and isn’t even thought about by others.
That is part of the reason why this one feature alone, can give you hundreds of additional square feet that you wouldn’t get in another, more wasteful design by non-professionals.
SAVINGS: $43,750 (based on approximately 250 additional square feet x $175/sf).
3. LARGER WINDOWS AND GLASS AREAS for nominal additional cost. This house architect has learned from window supply houses and from the builders themselves how certain sizes and types of doors and windows can result in larger glass areas for minimal cost, along with types of windows and doors that result in around $25,000 savings on door and window packages. You really can have your cake and eat it too! These are energy efficient, double-pane, Low-E glass areas.
4. LARGER KITCHENS THAN MOST MILLION DOLLAR HOMES: Soellner is now designing a home for one of their clients in Virginia. The kitchen is called a “Gourmet Kitchen” because it can’t be called just a kitchen. The aisle between the counters are about 5′ apart. And before you say “Oh, you only need 3′ between your counters,” Want proof? Go into your kitchen right now, and open the refrigerator doors, then cabinet drawers on both sides of your aisles, and open the oven door and the microwave door and the dishwasher door…
Okay, now try to walk through that. See how obstructed the work aisles become? The kitchen is a main gathering space in a house. More than one person will end up in it. Wouldn’t it be nice if you weren’t tripping over each other? And how about the kitchen island?
Wouldn’t you appreciate a larger one? Soellner typically uses a 48″ wide range-oven these days in their efficient” Forest Meadow series homes, and a 42″ wide to 60″ wide refrigerator/freezer, 2 dishwashers, a vegetable prep sink in addition to the main sink, and many more features normally associated with “mansions.” And yet, here they are in Soellner’s Forest Meadow series houses in less than 2,500 HSF (Heated Square Feet). How is this possible? Because this residential architect knows how to use every square inch. These highly improved, larger than normal kitchens add approximately $35,000 to the value of your house.
5. LARGER MASTER BATHROOMS: Soellner’s typical master bathrooms have His and Hers sinks, in either a long granite vanity counter, or separate counters, an oversize garden tub (or whirlpool), 2-person oversize shower, walk in closet, separate toilet room with a door, heated slate tile floors, and plenty of storage. Bathrooms like this are typically found in homes having 1,500 to 2,500 sf more than Soellner’s Forest Meadow series. This adds value to your house, if you have Rand Soellner’s design features included.
6. A FOYER: AND LARGER: yes, this house architect actually has oversize foyers in their designs. You do not just enter into the kitchen like many non-architect plans have you doing. And there is a generous coat closet right there, where it should be, and…A Powder Room! Right where it should be! Not somewhere else where it might embarrass you or others. This design feature is typically found only in larger houses. This adds value to your house.
7. OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE: all of Soellner’s projects feature what they call Outdoor Living Rooms and often Sleeping Porches, Summer Kitchens and an optional outdoor fireplace. This also adds value to your house, because this residential architect knows how to provide this economically.
8. ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Soellner specifies insulation systems that result in dramatically lowered utility bills, and you do Not have to use the most expensive types of insulation to achieve this, as some others might have you believe!
SAVINGS: $9,000 life cycle costing savings over 10 years +/- possible.
9. WOOD FLOOR AND CEILINGS FOR LESS: you don’t have to spend $14/sf to have these. This house architecture firm can show you how, saving you huge sums of cash and still providing the types of real finishes you want.
SAVINGS: $15,000 (based on a 2,500 sf house).
10. GRANITE FOR LESS: some people seem to think that tricky manmade materials like Corian are cheaper. They are not. This architect can show you how to get the real deal for less.
SAVINGS: $4,500 +/- based on comparison types.
Okay, let’s add up all these things. Not that we are done, but this will be enough for now, to make the point (and we haven’t even touched on how an architect can save you ten of thousands of dollars on your foundations, just by positioning your house in a more accommodating location on your property):
1. $50,000 (let’s take half of what you can really save here) Bidding.
2. $43,750 (more SF for less $).
3. $25,000 (added value associated with larger more efficient doors and windows).
4. $35,000 (added value due to larger kitchens).
5. $15,000 (added value with larger master bathrooms).
6. $2,500 (added value with larger foyer features).
7. $3,500 (added value for outdoor living spaces).
8. $9,000 (energy efficiency savings on your power bills).
9. $15,000 (added value for nicer finishes for less).
10. $4,500 (savings on certain types of granite for less).
and these are Not the only savings. This architect can typically save over $25,000 on a client’s foundations just by moving it one way or the other. But that’s okay. Let’s see what we have in terms of added value and savings for just the above 10 items:
$203,250 . Isn’t that amazing?
By having a residential architect like Rand Soellner design your house, you can save, and have as an added value to your residence over $200k. Doesn’t that make it worthwhile to engage a real architect? And we having even talked about how this design firm makes your house more attractive in appearance, or other significant issues like enhanced functionality, or how they arrange things on your site to make you more comfortable and create privacy and many other issues that result in you having a much more enjoyable house in which to live, accessible friendly design features and other aspects that can mean the world to you later on.
We have focused on strictly monetary issues here. Hard cash. And how hiring a residential architect like Soellner can pay you back and Save you money over other approaches. Therefore, then next time you hear someone say: “Oh, we can’t afford to hire an architect,” you might want to pipe up and say: “Hey, you can’t afford Not to!” Then show them this post to tell them why.
As a final note, this post is in no way intended to be critical of builders. God love’m. What would we do without them? They are the ones building the work of architects. The point is: Builders build. Architects design. Let’s have each do what they were trained to do, what they are licensed to do, and what they are best at doing.
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