How to Plan for Residential Architect Fees in Your Budget

With such a competitive market, Bay Area homeowners are known to buy now and renovate later. A home remodel is truly an excellent way to convert any home into the home of your dreams. However, knowing what costs to expect as part of your renovation is a critical need. Anticipating the costs of materials, labor and fees is a big part of that budgeting process. This can be hard to do when there are so many moving parts, many of which need to be flexible. One cost you can anticipate is residential architect fees.

You might wonder if you really need an architect on your project, however, it’s the kind of cost that is worth it for the quality. Architectural designs can help transform a vision into reality. Architectural plans will also ensure your ideas create not only the look you’re hoping for, but also keep your space functional. To get the most out of your home remodel project, residential architect fees are an important part of the budget planning process.

How Residential Architect Fees are Calculated

Here is a closer look at how to calculate residential architectural fees and the different ways architects structure their fees. While these examples provide an overview, the exact fees will depend on the nature of your project and the architectural firm selected.

Fee structures include:

  • Flat Hourly Rate. Architects that charge an hourly rate will meet with you and provide an estimate based on the size of your project. For new-home construction, large projects, and additions, this is the likely route
  • Fixed Fees. For smaller remodel projects or additions, a fixed-fee approach may be the right one. A simple bathroom or kitchen remodel project can help homeowners. They’re not usually used for larger projects, additions, or complex situations. With a fixed-fee structure, you know exactly how much you’ll spend on architectural fees in your renovation budget. You’ll have predictability as you start your dream budget
  • Based on Construction Cost. Some architects charge a percentage based on the overall costs of construction. For example, if you are doing a $20,000 bathroom renovation, architectural fees based on construction cost could be $2,000 (10 percent) or $3,000 (15 percent). This can be a risky proposition for homeowners today, given the always uncertain costs of construction. Today, the scarcity of some materials makes this approach potentially more costly, especially if your project is going to use rare or unique building materials

Flexible Renovation Budget Planning

When you’re ready to start a renovation project, whether for a new kitchen, an in-law apartment, or more bedroom closet space, you’ll need a budget. You’ll also need the flexibility to make sure you can adjust as the project evolves. There are usually surprises in any construction project, and planning to prepare for those surprises is important.

7 Tips on How to Tackle Renovation Budget Planning:

  • Know What You Want. Be clear about what your goals are with your project, which will help architects and craftspeople achieve your desired outcome
  • Set Priorities. If you must have a certain type of tile or flooring, make that clear at the outset. It can help make in decision-making later
  • Know Your Financing. Whether using savings, a second mortgage or credit cards, be clear you know how you’re going to pay before diving in
  • Start Early. It takes time to create architectural plans, review them, identify contractors, and get work scheduled. Be patient when thinking about start and end dates
  • Overestimate Rather Than Underestimate. It’s always easier to over-budget and underspend than the other way around.
  • Plan for Contingencies. Once your budget is decided, add in at least 10 percent to 20 percent for unexpected situations that may arise
  • Be Ready to Compromise. Expect the unexpected. Understanding where you are able to compromise will help move the process along

At Drafting Cafe Architects, we offer both fixed-rate and hourly pricing structures. We are all about simplifying the experience for our clients. For example, our integrated Project Management plan gives you a dedicated project manager, feasibility review, permit processing, coordination of interior finishes, and support at every stage of your project.

As you begin your renovation project, it’s important to know to understand the costs you’ll face and where they’re coming from. This will help you budget and feel confident your investment is being well spent.


Get in touch with us. We would love to help you get your project off the ground