Your next step would be to find a licensed architect. This may be as simple as asking friends, family and others in your community for recommendations. If you see a new house you like, don't be afraid to ask the owner for the name of the architect who designed the home. Or you could check with the city, which keeps sets of plans on file for all new construction.
While the architect's fee is one consideration, it shouldn't be the only consideration in selecting your architect. A good architect may actually save you money by offering design and materials alternatives and energy-efficient features. Additionally, an appealing design has an important effect on your long-term investment. It will add to your home's value as well as provide a comfortable and pleasing environment for you and your family.
Once you've selected your architect, remember, you're now a team. You're paying an expert to interpret your dream with style and utility. So talk freely to your architect about what you want and don't want in your home. Make sure you provide information about the size of your family and any intentions for growing that family. If you have unique furnishings you want to showcase and need rooms of a certain size or type, be sure to tell your architect. Look at the plans with both your head and your heart.
If you don't love what you see-or the plans would require you to change your preferred lifestyle-rethink them with your architect's help. Remember, you have the final word. But listen to your architect's suggestions and evaluate them as they pertain to your own tastes and needs. If you don't like something in the preliminary drawings, speak up. It is far easier and cheaper to make changes before the drawings become final plans, or worse, a completed house!
This is also the time to start saving/filing all your receipts. Depending on your equity position you may be able to finance the cost of the architectural and engineering plans within your construction loan.
Architectural fees are a part soft costs of construction and as such may be included in the construction loan budget and, loan amount allowing, may be reimbursed to the borrower.