Are you planning to buy a house to extend, renovate or knock down and rebuild? Are you trawling through listings and visiting properties every weekend?
You’re possibly feeling overwhelmed and not quite sure what you should be looking for.
This is the perfect time to call a registered architect to access independent, professional advice. An experienced architect can see things you might miss and help undertake due diligence to prepare for one of life’s biggest investments.
Meet the architect at the property and pay an hourly rate for advice. Architects have the skills to see potential and opportunities in existing houses or vacant sites, and their expertise may well save you money in the long run.
Architects are knowledgeable about local and state government planning regulations that dictate the height of proposed additions or new buildings. They can advise about setback requirements, overshadowing and over looking, density provisions and special rules such as heritage areas.
Architects consider local environmental and climate conditions and this advice can prove invaluable early on in your journey. They also consider the orientation of a property. A north-facing backyard or a long, northern boundary is generally best. They examine the location of sewer lines and other caveats that could limit your aspirations. If the property is right, they can give the go-ahead to consult an independent building surveyor to obtain an inspection repot.
For existing houses, architects will assess whether it has “good bone” and will be easy to extend, whether there is space in the roof for a second storey and the ease of access to the site for cars and moving building materials.
Before you commit it’s also useful to consider your current stage of life and future needs. Are you planning to sell this property after a quick renovation, or is it a long-term investment?
Do you foresee yourself living there for five, 10 or even 20 years? Are you planning a family or not? Often there are conflicting issues to consider and an architect can help you identify and order your priorities, in line with your budget, current needs and future goals.
Always remember you are paying the architect for their professional opinion and their honesty, even if you don’t like what they say!
And if all else fails, listen to my dear old dad’s sage words: “Buy a corner block in the best street, with a north-facing back yard and extend yourself just enough to hurt a little, not a lot.”
It has never failed me! Next time, we’ll discuss how to save money on your renovation, so stay tuned.
First published in The Subiaco Post 050518 | Architects Brief with Suzie Hunt