House remodel - contact contractors before architect or after?

Hello, we are in contract to buy a home in Berkeley but it needs a little ( ok a lot) of love. We are interviewing architects at the moment but I also wanted advice on if we should be concurrently contacting contractors as well? Unsure if it's worth doing that until plans are ready etc. Appreciate any advice on this subject!
 

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We have used Crow at crowworksdesign [at] gmail.com for different remodel projects including two bathrooms. He is a time and materials guy, honest, creative, and a delight to work with.

I would happily recommend Emanuel with BuildMark. It was a pleasure working with him and his team, very professional, great communicator and meticulous. They remodeled our kitchen, bathroom and replaced all the electrical for our 3 bedroom/2 bath home. His phone number is 510-484 5765 and email emanuel [at] buildmarkinc.com 

Hi there - yes I would highly recommend you contract contractors as well, especially if you have a budget that is firm (meaning you can't absorb +20%).  From personal experience, our first architect was completely off-base about how much things would cost with his design (but to be fair, it may just have been his general incompetence).  After that fiasco, we ended up working with a design-build and that was a complete 180 experience and a breath of fresh air.  It is important that if you have a firm budget to work with someone who actually truly knows how much things cost to build / remodel.

Happy to answer more questions privately as well.