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Should You Hire an Architect for a Home Addition?

Written by Banks Editorial Team

Updated January 23, 2024​

4 min. read​

architect for home addition

Home additions are a popular option for many homeowners looking to update, upgrade or expand their home’s livable square footage. In any case, home additions can be tedious and expensive, depending on the scope of work. As a result, one of the most common questions homeowners ask is, “Should you hire an architect for a home addition?”

Well, the answer is it usually depends on the type of project. Here, you’ll learn what an architect can do for your home addition, when to hire one and when not to, and how much it costs to hire an architect.

Architects vs. Designers: What Is the Difference?

Many people often use the terms “architect” and “designer” interchangeably. Architects are sometimes called “designers” because they generally design homes. However, not all “designers” are licensed architects. 

Architects are licensed professionals trained in design theory, engineering, and project management. They’re skilled at coming up with ideas to solve complicated design issues and ensuring that the project is aesthetically appealing.

On the other hand, designers are professionals who can help design projects but do not have licenses. Just because designers aren’t licensed doesn’t mean they won’t be helpful. For example, they can help create design plans that your general contractor can use.

What Can an Architect Do for Your Home Addition?

Architects can handle a wide range of responsibilities in a renovation project. However, most of them follow a similar building process to ensure the success of a specific project:

Consultation and Design

The first step every architect takes is meeting the homeowner, seeing the house, and discussing the expectations for the project. Once the architect understands the homeowner’s needs, it’s time to turn the vision into a reality.

The architect will develop a detailed design based on the information you provide during the consultation. The drawings generally include computer renderings, floor plans, or elevations. You may also get an estimate for the total project cost after getting the architectural design.


Next, the architect will go through the design documents once again to ensure that everything is okay before the contractor starts the construction. The documents typically include all the materials required and any other additional requirements. The same documentation containing the level plans for the project are the ones you’ll submit to your local authority for building permits.


Once the design and the documentation phase are done, it’s time for construction. Professional architects usually hand over the design so that the general contractor can start the construction. 

Reasons to Hire an Architect for Home Additions

Working with an architect comes with several benefits, given their education, experience, and their ability to guide you through the entire design and construction process. Here’s why you should hire an architect for your home addition projects.

Solve Problems

Most remodeling projects start with a problem like “We’ve outgrown our home” or “I need a home office,” architectural designers are trained to solve problems creatively. Based on their education and experience, an architect will guide you every step of the way to ensure that you get exactly what you need.

Make the Most Out of Your Existing Space

Before advising on adding to your house, a good architect will make use of the existing space. Most homeowners have underutilized spaces that an architect can bring back to daily use. So whether you need to transform your garage into a home gym, these professionals will use the available space to create a well-designed project that meets your needs.

Make Crucial Decisions for You

Major home additions require you to make several decisions on things you know little about. Architects will not only design your home renovation project but also help you make critical decisions. A good architect will guide you to ensure you get the best results.

They’ll also help you choose the right materials based on your budget and your needed functionality. Some will even go the extra mile to recommend designs that will help you save on energy bills over time. 

Help You Save Money

While hiring an architect can seem like an added cost to your renovation project, they can actually help you save money. Preparing accurate drawings will significantly reduce mistakes down the road. And if you need any changes, it’s less expensive to do it on paper than when the construction is underway. The drawings will also make it easier for the contractor to price and build your project accurately.

Should You Hire an Architect for Home Addition?

Knowing when and when not to hire an architect can be a difficult decision to make for many homeowners. Generally, it depends on your project needs. There are situations when hiring an architect is a significant investment and other scenarios where you may not need one. 

When to Hire an Architect

If you have a problem in your house that requires a well-thought-out plan, working with an architect will help you come up with great ideas that will save you money over time. 

In some states, the local government is required to verify design plans before construction begins. Such local building authorities need a licensed architect to sign off on your architectural plans to get a building permit. Check with your local building authority to see if you need to have a licensed architect for your remodeling project.

When to Not Hire an Architect

There are situations when you don’t need an architect for home addition and can work directly with the general contractor. For example, if your house requires basic remodel, such as painting, upgrading a portion of your kitchen, upgrading appliances or lighting fixtures. Generally, if you’re not planning on changing the spacing on any part of your house, you don’t need an architect.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Architect?

The cost of hiring an architect will vary significantly based on who you’re working with, your location, level of skill, and the size of the project. Architect fees generally range between 5% to 20% of the total project cost. This means if your home addition is worth $50,000, you can expect the architect’s price to be somewhere between $2,500 and $10,000.

Some architects charge hourly rates. For example, you can expect to pay $125 to $250 an hour for a principal or project manager level. For an intern, the hourly rate is $65 to $90 an hour. And if your architect charges per square foot, you’ll pay anywhere from $2 to $15 per square foot.

Get the Funding for Your Home Addition or Architect

If you’ve saved up enough cash to cover the cost of an architect and home addition project, that’s good of you. But if you’re like many Americans, you’ll likely need funding to turn your dream home into a reality.

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