The first step is to make sure your Architect/Designer is registered with SACAP (the South African Council for the Architectural Profession) - since 2006 it is illegal to practice Architecture or for a de-registered Architectural Professional to practice Architecture.... The first step is to appoint a SACAP (South African Council for the Architectural Profession) registered Architect/Designer.  A list of registered professionals can be found at  

1.) Do you think you can work with a particular Architect/Designer?  Do your personalities compliment each other?  Can you communicate your needs/wants easily?  Does he/she give good advice?

2.) How interested is the Designer in your project?

3.) What does your Architect see as important considerations in the Home Design?

4.) How does he/she outline the stages of the project and brief?  How does this scope fit your budget? 

5.) What services do they provide during construction?  Site Visits?  Project Management? Contracts?  Dispute Resolution?

6.) Will you be dealing with a single Architect or firm?  If it is a firm you may end up working with a few different Architects who all have differing understanding of the Project and Scope of Works. 

7.) Get referrals and if possible visit houses that the Architect/Designer has done in the past.  Have a look at their previous plans and get a general feel for their grasp of space flow and their general style.

8.) Fees and Contract of Work.  Remember you are looking for Value for Money, not necessarily the cheapest option.