1. Ask your friends who have completed projects with whom they liked to work. Ask the planners at City Hall in your community for a recommendation on who does a thorough job and knows the territory.
2. Before calling the architects on your short list, visit their firm’s website to check out the type and quality of their work.
3. Call the architects whose work you like and speak to them personally to see if there is a connection and interest in your project. Ask about their availability to do your project.
4. Have the first meeting at your home, or on your property, so your conversation can be site specific
5. Ask for references representing a broad range of people, including recent clients, contractors and building officials. Call these people, asking them about the architect’s strengths and weaknesses.
6. See some of the architect’s completed work that is similar to the quality and style you are seeking.
7. Visit the architect’s office to meet members of his or her staff and see current projects in progress.
8. Ask for an agreement for services for your consideration that clearly defines the architect’s scope of work and compensation.
9. Select your architect first and he will help you put the right team together for your project.
Do all the above, and you will make the right decision. In planning your project, you will be making hundreds of decisions, some large, some small. Your two most important decisions are whom you select as your architect and your builder. If you get both of these decisions right, the chances are high you will have a fun and successful experience, resulting in a wonderful new environment.