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#3: If I have rough ideas on a home remodel, who should I contact first: an Architect, Designer, or Contractor?

An architect is a licensed professional who graduated with an architecture degree from an accredited college or university. They typically had 3 to 5 years of experience before taking the licensing examination.

A designer could be anyone who decides to call himself or herself a designer. They do not necessarily have any type of degree and they do not need to take any examinations. This does not mean that designers are any less qualified to do the job that you need them to do. There are good designers, poor designers, good architects and poor architects. Some designers have worked for years in architectural offices and have excellent skills.

When looking for either one, interview more than a few and check their qualifications, experiences, and samples of their work. It is also important to note how you relate to the architect/designer. You do not want somebody whose personality will clash with yours. Look for somebody who has more compatibility with your ideas and personality. But before you even begin interviewing, ask your local building department if the plans you submit will require an architect's stamp. If so, start directly with an architect.

A contractor is more focused on building the project from existing plans. There are a lot of design-build contractors who have either architects and/or designers on staff and will take your ideas to them in order to get the plans prepared. Also, a lot of contractors have significant experience building projects similar to yours such that they can prepare the necessary plans themselves.

To get in touch with a Designer, Architect or Contractor, use the free online referral service at

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