Actually the very first person you should speak to is your mortgage broker or bank and find out just how much you can borrow to facilitate your dream home project. Without knowing your available budget, you are lining yourself up for possible disappointment. The banks can be difficult, particularly with renovation projects on how they are valued and approved. Once you have passed this hurdle its so much smoother as well to get to the construction stage.
Now, as to whether the builder or architect should come first?… Well the best approach to a renovation or custom home is to ensure you are talking to your builder and your architect at the same time. This approach is made even simpler when you engage us to complete the design for you.
If you find your architect first and get on with the design before you find your builder that is fine, and likewise your builder first. We recommend discussing the project with both parties as this will often dispel the issue of going over budget at an early stage. An architect or drafter will complete the home as per your specifications, but this often means the budget can snowball very quickly out of control, as we all get carried away with adding particular features, but not thinking about the end cost. The most important thing is to be discussing the project from conception stage with your builder and your architect, that way your scope and budget remains in focus throughout and often solutions to design ideas, can be developed by both parties.