Rn Architect-related Question

Hello, Group,
OK, I'm trying to talk my cousin into at least considering having her own place built. She lives in the general area of Greenville, South Carolina.
The goofy thing is that I don't know how to give her *practical* info re: the process, how to apporach an architect or architectural designer, how to even find one (she can't spend months just driving around looking for houses she likes and THEN hunt down who migh thave designed them - she simply won't and can't).
So, my question is, If you were faced with a total and complete rube, with only a modest budget, is there an informational website such a person could look at, or what would you tell them?
I'd really like to get her thinking about this, because she's rejected it as an option and IMO that is a mistake, especially given that she does not want to be in a typical suburban development and needs a single-level home (for accessibility - she can't deal with stairs well and is decreasingly able to do so).
I'd like to give her info but I don't know what practical, nuts'n'bolts, "here's how you get started" info to give her (because I'm long on theory and really short on practicalities she can actually use).
Many thanks in Advance!
- K.
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http://www.aia.org/pub_highlight1
The "you and your architect" section is all about the process between owner and architect
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Thanks!, I'm reading that myself ;) , also sent her the link.
- K.
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You can lead a horse to water... If she knows anyone who has had a house designed, that would be a good start. If not, I found very little of use for Greenville architects. I can offer the names of a few good Charleston SC architects.
T
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snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net wrote:

North Carolina has a nice architectural community, including several universities with architectural programs. I was particularly impressed on one visit down there with the program at NC State for how practice as opporsed to pie in the sky oriented it was.
It is a good idea to hire locally. That way you get something contextual to the surroundings, something designed to your needs and soemthing hopefully designed out of local materials containing the best of recent green and energy efficient technology. The AIA, in every state, often has free seminars on the design process so that people who have never worked with an architect before can understand how the process works and how to plan their input. Local architects will also usually be familiar with local builders and may have already done a design build or two as part of a regular alliance.
By utilizing an architect through all phases of the design, you also have someone whose liability extends through every aspect of the design and supervision.
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wrote:

In her case, it's at the point of letting the horse know that water exists ;)

Not at all.

Do they do modest (3000 to 3200 sq ft) homes? If that's not outside their "envelope" so to speak, that'd be great, I can at least give her the names, and then she can decide what to do.
If you want to keep them away from search-bots, I'm at pterochromics AT parrotfin . com
Thanks!
- K.
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Because I have not got Clue One as to how to find disigners, or design- build firms, in her area. Also, I told her I'd send along additional info as I could find it.

Well, she keeps complaining about her current cookie-cutter domicile, which is why I'm trying to do some of this for her. The thing is that for her, all of this is as unknown as the surface of the moon. SHe's rejected building out-of-hand, which IMO is foolish - this is why I'm looking for what could be described as "The Dummy's Guide to Building a Home". In a way, I'm pushing her a bit, because it *is* fairly unknown to her and I don't want her to unnecessarily cut herself short so to speak.
At the same time, I'm in Houston, TX, she's in the general vicinity of Greenville, SC - and I've never been out there. So, I have no idea what is or isn't being built, what the land situation is, or really, anything.
That being said, I will pass along what you suggested above, thanks!
I'm also not clear on the rules concerning peple from one state designing for people in another state - I'd assume there could be problems with finding fgood local contractors and supervising the project...
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Kris,
I get a lot of my leads from ServiceMagic.com. The way that works is that owners looking for architects go to servicemagic.com and select "Hire an Architect to Design a Project" and then complete a short requirements form including location, project type, approximate budget, square footage, expected level of quality etc etc etc. Then SM matches these criteria with local architects who are part of their network. Dozens of member architects (pre-screened to be licensed) in that area get the leads without owner contact information and the first 3 who purchase the leads get her contact information. She just needs to sit and wait and 3 local architects will contact her to set up initial appointments where she can move forward from there if she chooses to.
She just needs to go to www.servicemagic.com and select "architects and engineers". The rest is completely intuitive. The one recommendation I would suggest that you give her is to put a realistic budget number in the "budget" section because most architects receiving these leads will not buy the lead contact information if there isn't a sense of what a real budget vs SF etc is. For example, I ONLY buy leads from SM if the estimated budget # (say $300,000.00) has a semblence of reality with desired SF (say 1500SF). If I see a lead with that information I know that the home owner expects costs to be approximately $200/SF which is a realistic initial goal. I DO NOT buy leads that have an unrealistic estimated budget #/SF ratio (say $50,000.00/4000SF). Of all the leads I receive, about 20-30 a day, 90% of them are unrealistic and thus I don't waste my time and money on them. But when that realistic lead comes in, I jump on it and contact the homeowner immediately.
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OH! See, now I've seen the site but was very leery of it, never having known anyone who used it. I guess it actually works, then...good to know, thanks!, maybe I shoudl use it to find soem landscapers as well - I'm sick of all the fly-by-night types tho' that's a completely separate issue.
I guess it'd also work for "design-build" and "arch. designers", then, too...

I didn't know any of that - thanks! It's good info to keep hold of.
The hard part to get a handle on is the price per sq ft - that's something I've never been sure abut when thinking about having my own place built (some day...) Is $200SqFt the best for uincluding both fees and good quality? Since I'm sure that ties intimately into the sq ft pricing, I'll clarify: I don't mean "top of the line indistrial fridge" or anything, or "hand-finished kitchen cbinets loaded with decorations", just nice appearance and sound/sturdy construction - there is a price area with almost everything where one transitions from "looks nice and is built to last" into "that, plus lots of decorations and/or expensive materials and/or hand-done surfaces", i.e. where sturdy transitions to fancy. I'm trying to get a handle on "sturdy but still looks reasonably nice". I've Zero interest in "fancy surface but cheesy quality"...
For example, would $125 per sq ft be reasonable? Or would that not be enough to include fees plus costs?
Thanks again, this is all great info and I do appreciate you're (and y'all's ;) ) time in providing it!
- K.
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I see - well, if, after going through what I send her, she gives any indocation she's actually serious, I'll keep that in mind and ask for their names.
- K.
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