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5 Tips for a Successful Architect Meeting

Building a custom home in CreekSong is exciting for some and daunting for others. Unlike a production build where you only have three different options for everything from shutters to flooring, a custom home allows you to build any type of home you want with any material you desire.

Want to import white brick from Italy? Can do. Want to put in a rose gold chandelier over your master bathtub? Not a problem. Almost anything you can dream up can be built for the right price.

For some, being able to pick from three options and have your home completely “customized” after spending one day at a production builders Market Center is ideal. It is one long day of decision-making that results in a new home 6-8 months later.

When you build a custom home, however, the process is much different. You will visit a plumbing warehouse to look over hundreds of kitchen faucet options. You will visit a flooring warehouse to look at over five hundred flooring options. It’s a 9-12 month period of decision-making that can best be described like this: “Remember the chaos of planning your wedding? Multiply that by 10.”

Production builders typically offer 3-4 layouts to choose from in each community. At CreekSong, you get to design your layout in a way that fits your lifestyle. The first meeting with the architect will begin the long road of decision making and result in an amazing dream home, unique to anything else on earth.

As we all know, architectural plans can be expensive. The more efficient you are at detailing your dream home to the architect, the faster you can move through this phase and onto selecting all of the fun interior finishes for the home.

Here are 5 tips to ensure the first architect meeting goes as well as possible.

Tip 1: Create a Houzz or Pinterest Board to share visuals with the architect

Words sometimes have different meanings to different people. What I consider to be “modern” may not be to someone else. What I consider to be a “large room” may be small to others. This is where visuals can be more helpful than words. Create a Houzz or Pinterest board where you can collect everything from floorplans to home exteriors to fixtures, whatever best demonstrates your style to the architect. These links can be shared with the builder and should be updated over time to keep everyone on the same page regarding the look and feel you expect out of your new home.

Tip 2: Discuss with your partner what are your must-haves in the home

Don’t wait to figure out what you want in a home at the meeting with the architect. Discuss with your partner the must-haves as well as the like-to-haves in your future home. Layout, room sizes, openness, kids' bedrooms, bathroom arrangement, lighting, ceiling heights, outdoor living space, efficiency, etc is a great topic to discuss with your partner in advance to best maximize the time spent with the architect.

Tip 3: Think about not only how you live your life today, but what your life will be like in 5, 10, 15 years

Too often I meet with homeowners who overbuilt and are looking to sell sooner than they expected. They built a 5000 sq ft home for their large family, only to have the kids all move out of the house within 5 years. If you are looking for a long-term home, picture your life throughout the upcoming stages and reflect on how your future home will impact your quality of life.

Tip 4: Everything will cost more than you expect, so be realistic

I have seen amazing initial drawings by architects that practically look like a castle is about to be built! Later, when the buyers see the price tag associated with building that castle, they get more realistic with their expectations. Everyone who builds a custom home ends up spending more than they expect. The best way to get in front of the sticker shock will be to take a conservative approach to your design. Ask the architect for tips on keeping the design affordable and rethink the importance of hotel-lobby-like features.

Tip 5: If you know the layout you want, sketch it

If you are a control freak like me, just go ahead and roughly sketch the design you want. Chances are you won’t be amazed at some radical design created by the architect. There are only so many ways to layout a house. If you know exactly what you want, don’t be shy. This will save everyone time and you money in the end.


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