Mistake Number One—it’s complicated

Here we are not even at closing and we have made our first rookie mistake.  We waited too long to pick an architect.  We recently started shopping around for an architect to create drawings for the extension and other changes planned for the house only to discover after speaking with one that architectural drawings can take two to four months to complete!  Yikes.  That means our house will be sitting there doing nothing but costing us money while we wait to get the filing drawings to apply for our building permits with the DOB (after which we will wait another four to six weeks or more for approvals).  The architectural process is way more complex than we thought.  We envisioned some sort of magical computer program where the measurements go in and poof– out came perfectly executed plans.  It turns out that a number of documents need to be produced.  First, the architect starts with a set of schematic design documents, which basically put your ideas on paper to determine what you like and if your ideas are physically possible.  Next, the architect does design development documents, which detail out the specifics such as materials.   From these, construction documents are created and a less detailed version of these are used as the basis for the filing documents that need to be submitted to the DOB.  Finally, bidding documents are prepared to submit to contractors so that you can wait a few additional weeks for bids.  We are afraid to ask how long for the contractor to come back with cost estimates.