Best way to go about a major renovation; architect, builder, etc...

We just bought a house across from the ocean along the NH coast, it has always been our dream to live there. It is a small 2 bedroom bungalow. Our plan going into this is to rent it for a couple of years then sell our current house, using the equity to build on the new one and make it our final home for the "golden years";+}
Anyway, we have never undertaken anything like that before. So, last night we met with an architect to just get an initial idea of our plan and how this works. It was disappointing to say the least. Our budget of no more then 200k for renovations wasn't going to get us much. She felt a rule of thumb was $200/sq ft. The hitch is we need to include the square footage that currently exists as it will also be touched in the renovations.
This is a fairly expensive area. My question is would I be better off getting somebody from another area to do the construction? Another architect? As I say, I have never done something of this nature, so all advice is appreciated.
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You might add on a commercial plastic film greenhouse, about $1/ft^2, including the "foundation" and installation :-)
Nick
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Don't do anything substantial until ready to move. Renters may destroy it. And your needs may change as you age.

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The architect was quoting you at today's prices. In a few years the cost will be higher. The good news is that you have plenty of time to plan.
You should determine what your absolute needs and wants are and meet with some architects and designers. When you get final plans drawn up you can shop around for bids from contractors and suppliers. If you act as your own general contractor (A lot of work) and solicit bids from sub-contractors yourself you can save some money. Make sure your plans are as detailed as possible and that you have determined specifications for as much as possible. The specifications can contain part numbers and manufacturers names. The more detailed that your plans are the more likely that each bid from a contractor will be for the same work and materials. The more planning and shopping around that you do, the more money that you can save.
Something else that you might be able to do is to start stockpiling materials now. Manufacturers and suppliers have sales and closeouts from time to time and you can find some bargains on plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, flooring, cabinets, etc.
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Thank you.
I should also mention that this house in an "historical district" and is subject to restrictions. The architect I interviewed has worked with them before and has a good relationship.
When I inquired as to her fee, she said it was 12% of build cost. Now that I think this over, does that mean she will only work for us if she is involved in the actual construction? I have never hired an architect before, I thought it would be a flat fee.
-Jim
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If the architect is going to get a percentage of the build cost, it will not be a cheap build. I would shop around for another architect. Also check with the board or bureau that is responsible for the historic district restrictions to get an idea of exactly what they require. Establish your own good relationship with them. Don't let an architect tell you what is required.
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John Grabowski wrote:

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Check with your state's AIA (American Institute of Architects) and ask them for a local architect that specializes in renovations in historic districts and coastal houses. Get a few quotes from architects and shop around for a good fit. You should definately hire the architect for the construction part of the project. That is a very good investment. It is important to make sure the contractor is adhering to the design, details and doing a good job. The architect is your advocate. A great design and detailing on paper means nothing when it is built wrong and is much more expensive to deal with later. Also, renovations alway lead to surprises during construction. An architect will be able to work these surprises out. I've had contractors come up with solutions that are not thought through. An architect has a view of the big picture.
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Thank you.
I should also mention that this house in an "historical district" and is subject to restrictions. The architect I interviewed has worked with them before and has a good relationship.
When I inquired as to her fee, she said it was 12% of build cost. Now that I think this over, does that mean she will only work for us if she is involved in the actual construction? I have never hired an architect before, I thought it would be a flat fee.
-Jim
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

Historic preservation restrictions definitely increase cost of construction.
On the other hand, they can sometimes give you access to preservation grants or other funding.

Architects can work on a percentage basis, or hourly fee. If your project involves a lot of design changes, a percentage of construction cost might be lower than hourly. If your design needs are simple and you don't feel the need to have the architect supervise construction, hourly might be less.
--
snipped-for-privacy@phred.org is Joshua Putnam
<http://www.phred.org/~josh/
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Some architects are also licensed contractors. But most contractors charge 20%.

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jtpr wrote:

There should be architects willing to work on more modest scale. If there is a preservation association nearby, they may be able to refer you; they may also have plans for other similar homes than you can adapt or use for ideas. If you have a good idea of what you want do do, draw it out and take it to an architectural draftsman to draw up plans. Hope you're not making a "McMansion" out of the little bungalow :o)
If there is a similar, already remodeled home in the area, go to the city building dept and get a copy of the drawings.
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