Architecture/real estate question


I'm unsure if this is the right forum, or if there is better forum to ask my question...  I'm starting here.

I'm interested in purchasing a house.  The problem is that it's not the "right" house as far as layout...  The location is prime for my family.  I would like to know options on certain upgrades--maybe increasing the size of the master bedroom, and/or kitchen.  Basically, I need an expert to provide options for these change, then price estimates, before I own the house. 

Is anyone aware of a forum where I could post real estate pictures of the house, what I'd like to accomplish (larger kitchen), then have folks offer up ideas/options on the structural changes?

Like I said, I don't know if this the correct forum.  Thanks in advance for any direction/thoughts you can provide.


Jan 18, 15 1:04 pm


You could get a range of responses on this forum, from helpful suggestions to hostile rejections.

If you want useful info, my advice would be to hire 3-4 hours' time of a local architect or general contractor (with good references) and have them walk the house with you.  You could discuss possible changes, and have them provide general (ballpark, not detailed) cost estimates for parts of the work.  This method has holes, but it would get you more reliable information than merely seeking random opinions on a web forum.

Jan 18, 15 1:17 pm


I think you'll find that a lot of small-firm architects in your local area will be willing to come look at the house for free once you have it under contract in your due diligence contingency period. Contractors too. Invite them to walk through it with you and listen carefully to what they say.

Doing it remotely by picture or video is not a good idea.

Jan 18, 15 1:41 pm

Thanks for the comments.  I think more of my goal with the forum is to get some ideas from folks with more architectural knowledge/experience than I have.  With past projects, regardless of size, spending some cycles gathering information/researching the subject matter has really paid off.  So if I could get some upfront thoughts from novice/expert/helpful/hostile folks maybe I could sort these thoughts into something that would put me in a better position when I'm communicating with the person I'm hiring.  When you speak of "due diligence contingency period" is that a period of time I could have work estimates performed and have the sale contingent on the amount of estimates?  The whole point of what I'm trying to do is have less variables (upgrade cost) known before I buy the house...  Not after.

Also, my goal is not to use the forum to complete the project.  I realize some ideas could be worthless, misleading...  Some could be valuable.  The valuable ones would better position me when I'm physically at the house and have an expert with me.

Jan 19, 15 10:13 am

perhaps what gwharton and citizen are saying above is that you should involve your expert at this early stage, rather than forum goers that would only have pictures to work from.  also, most worthwhile architects like to be paid for providing services.  leaning on the ones that don't like to get paid isn't going to get you the accurate information you should be working with.

i can't imaging someone selling a house with a contingency based on your remodeling decisions.  that puts a huge risk on them for no good reason.

Jan 19, 15 10:50 am

Do you go on legal forums to ask for contractual advice on your real estate deals?

What business are you in (rhetorical question)? Do you give your services away for free?

You expect valuable ideas for free?

Here's one:

If you can afford to buy property, you can well afford to pay an architect for a few hours of their time. If you're looking for free advice, GFY.

You're welcome.

Jan 19, 15 10:58 am

your prob. better off taking a contractor with you for pricing, you'll have to supply your own ideas though.  

Not sure many architects would be interested in walking through if you don't own the property yet

Jan 19, 15 12:42 pm

I appreciate the responses.  I'm not trying to get something for nothing--I do believe that "you get what you pay for."  Personally, I give valuable information to people--especially when I'm giving it to educate a person (vs giving information to someone that uses it directly for profit).  Although I'm paid for my profession/career, my passion in what I do often leaks out!  When approaching something I know little about (i.e. architecture), I will try to be resourceful.  We do have the internet/forums that work well for communication, so I use these tools.  It is a two way street.   Just because a University may tell a student that they need to pay tuition for access to a math Professor, a resourceful/motivated student can use the internet/forums to gain a vast understanding of math.  I don't see this as the student ripping off the professor...   Arguably, if every student gains a vast understanding of math this way though, there will be less demand for professors.  I digress...   In my case, I'm just looking for basic ideas...  Not for plans, or anything extensive.

To boil it down, I'm gathering that this site isn't ultimately what I'm looking for.  I could be such a novice that what I'm looking for doesn't exist.  It was worth a shot.  If I don't find it, I'll likely research reputable contractors/architects in the locality of the house and pay for their time to visit the structure.  Thanks again for responding--Take Care!

Jan 19, 15 2:28 pm
Non Sequitur

Jlaw, the first 3 response were perfect for your question, as was Miles':

Hire someone for a nominal fee for their time, perhaps even negotiate the fee as deductible from their fees if you hire them later once the property is yours.

Jan 19, 15 4:29 pm

The sense of entitlement some people have is beyond belief.

A cabinetmaker friend just told me a story about a client experience. He didn't want to do the job, but the builder was a jerk so he did it to help the owner out. He finished ahead of schedule and it still took over a month to get paid. The owner hemmed and hawed and then said "I'll pay you if you talk to my lawyer about how bad the builder is".

My friend said he'd have done that regardless, and payment was received. Some time later the owner asked for a little project done cheaply. My friend said he wouldn't do it that way because it would be nothing but trouble, but he'd be happy to do it the right way. The owner refused and wanted it done the cheap way, and my friend declined. This is of course a high 7-digit Hamptons custom house.

Then the owner sends an email saying in effect that my friend "owes him because he got paid and there are 10 other subs who haven't been". My friend writes back something to the effect of the nature of a contractual relationship and payment for services successfully completed and ... "if you eat at a restaurant and the hostess gives you a bill, you'd tell her she's lucky because you didn't pay the last 10 restaurants you ate at?"

Jan 19, 15 5:42 pm

Sounds like the builder was a turd and the owner was a turd. It was a perfect marriage of equals.


The worst part of this profession has always been the clients.

Jan 20, 15 7:11 am

I'm making this a bumper sticker


I'll expect my customary royalty. (zero).


Wonder how much the realestate agents are making on that deal.. I know many in gentrifying neighborhoods who make design advice as part of their services and provide references to contractors/architects (typically their spouses).  Maybe Jlaw just has the wrong agent.

Sep 26, 17 7:32 am

Also, if you're still around Jlaw, I'll look at your photos for free, I like looking at photos.

Sep 26, 17 7:33 am

The OP's moniker hints that he might be a lawyer.  If so, if we give him free advice he might try to sue us later.

Sep 26, 17 10:20 am

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