Hilton Head Architects: Choosing an architect Hilton Head

The 5 Mistakes People Make When Choosing An Architect

Your a-ha moment needs to be a “D’uh. Of course. Why didn’t I think of that?

By Rick Clanton, Principal (Group3Designs.net) 

PLEASE!... don’t let this happen to you.

Too many builders and architects start pulling out plans and say “you know, we can do this for you… this is how we do it”.

But you know, too many architects show two or three houses, which are all pretty much the same and not what the client wants.

What I try to do is get the client to understand, and I do this totally differently.

How can I convince you that my desire is to give you just what you want and add into that my experience and my talent and the talents of my organization?

I do that not in a forceful way but in a way that offers you options that maybe you hadn't thought off before… so that you can choose, a choice that will pass the test of time.

If you were looking to build that once-in-a-lifetime dream house, you know… the ONE…
…and you asked me…

What, then, are the 5 mistakes that people make when they're looking at comparing architects?

What mistakes would you advise me against making?


Well, we are in a unique place here where there are lots of good choices.

I've got friends that are architects here in the Hilton Head Island area that if you just stumble in to their office you're going to be treated pretty well I think, and but then again you might think that what they're going to offer you is very limited.

Here’s how to avoid that, and some answers to your questions.


Mistake #1: Not Making Sure That Your Architect Understands What You're Looking For


So I think the first thing, before they really know what YOU want, is that they show you plans or they show you what they did and they're saying “this is what we can give you”.

So, the first mistake to avoid making is make sure that your architect understands what YOU are looking for. Make sure your architect is listening.

Don’t you make these Mistakes. Allow me to have a no-stress no-obligation conversation with you before you make your final architect or builder selection.

Give me a call personally at 843-689-9060. When you call, ask for a complimentary copy of my eBook: “The 5 Mistakes People Make When Choosing An Architect”







Mistake #2: Looking At Ideas Too Soon


And then probably another mistake is that you start looking at ideas too soon. You start looking at solutions to the problem before you've identified the problem.

But the first thing we do that almost no other architect does, we spend a tremendous amount of time using words rather than drawings.

In school I learned about mental programming and visualization. Now, we carefully lay out what identifies the problem using words rather than drawings, because as soon as you start looking at a drawing, you get excited about the contour the visual concept.

But then the emotion kicks in. And there goes your choices.

When looking at a house another architect has done, we're looking at the interiors, for example. There's a king-size bed that is just dwarfed in these huge rooms. There's no good way to furnish it. If a design has an 80 inch television in the bedroom to watch television from bed, maybe you don't watch television from bed! But then why is the room so big? There's no way to properly furnish the room.

And that says to me that you didn't make sure the architect understood what it was you were looking for. But the architect was just doing a drawing that was going to result in an elevation and a happy client once they started looking at drawings and getting excited.


Mistake #3: Putting Too Much Trust In The Wrong People


And that's another thing. You need to realize that no builder has the skills necessary or the experience necessary, no matter how many houses they've built, to service a client without a team.

You know, wealthy people generally have very few people that they trust. Very frequently they trust the wrong people. And you can see it and how their lives are managed. We see it.

You know frequently it's an interior designer who just loads it up with the things that computer designers make lots of money on, and you can see instantly that the owner is trusting the wrong person.

So that is Mistake number three: trusting the wrong person.

I say, always listen to the most pessimistic person in the room. If somebody says it's not going to work, that's probably the person you should listen to. Don’t get sucked in by boundless optimism and enthusiasm.

And if you'd been sitting in the room, you might have been saying “well, I don't know if we quite accomplished all that”. Which is why the team is so important. That’s really important to have the right team members.

We did a house we called The Todd house that we just finished. We kept that team together… the Builder, the interior designer, the architect. I counseled the
owner to form that team really early before the design was even set and we kept that team together. We met all the time. The owner was there when we met.

We would very seldom meet with just one team member because hearing everything the team had to say, that really was key. When you're starting you know exactly what it is you're going to give them. At the end it's going to be a face-to-face interview or something like that.

Don’t you make these Mistakes. Allow me to have a no-stress no-obligation conversation with you before you make your final architect or builder selection.

Give me a call personally at 843-689-9060. When you call, ask for a complimentary copy of my eBook: “The 5 Mistakes People Make When Choosing An Architect”

Mistake #4: Losing Sight of The Initial Concept


Then another mistake is losing sight of the initial concept. That’s part of my job, as the architect, to keep you, the owner, reminded of what YOUR initial concept is.

To stay on target sometimes you have to bring out the pictures that you brought to the first meeting and said this is what you are trying to do. Any snap decision that you're trying to make takes you away from that concept.

You know, do you want to take that conscious step away from your initial concept?

And you know, in that initial concept, a lot of houses you can't see a clear vision. But the houses that you walk into, the buildings you walk into where that clear vision is obvious, they're pretty powerful. You know, with the Todd house, I think I've said this several times, a lot of the things they're just so obvious. Like – duh! And that's a good thing.

In the Todd house… they had this million-dollar view. Well, the bed faces the view as they lay in bed. But how many people do that? I mean you know you just think every house would be that way. So, you know you don't want to miss those moments in a house by trying to be different.

Most houses that are sold are sold as original or copies of something else. And I can usually go and show you what they were copied from. I mean, you know they're not mini-designed secrets out there, especially not with Pinterest.


Mistake #5: Not Understanding The Process


Another issue is you totally misunderstanding the process after the contract is signed.

I recently heard a builder say that many people would come to him and say that it seemed like it was taking an awfully long time to get this house up. I know why they said that. They said that because they're thinking that because they don't see a roof under shingles, you're not making any progress.

I think that much of what we do, before we ever deliver set of plans or concepts to a client, is done behind the scenes that they don't have any clue how much work we're actually putting into it.

It's like a skyscraper. Someone will spend a year just developing the plans, getting the approvals, coming up with various concepts, testing soils, checking perks, all of that before they ever break ground and begin to put in the foundation.

But if someone looked at that they might think “wow, it's been a year since they got that contractor. They haven't even broken ground yet!”



Don’t you make these Mistakes. Allow me to have a no-stress no-obligation conversation with you before you make your final architect or builder selection.

Give me a call personally at 843-689-9060. Take a quick look at our website Group3Designs.net before you do. When you call, ask for a complimentary copy of my eBook: “The 5 Mistakes People Make When Choosing An Architect”
I’ll help you avoid those deadly 5 Mistakes!

Rick Clanton
Group3 Designs
An Architectural Firm In Hilton Head Island, SC
843-689-9060




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