Involving an Architect in Your Home Buying Process

by Sean O'Hara on April 21, 2010

With the start of spring we’re seeing more people buying homes and more people renovating homes. Buyers generally have a real estate agent to help them and frequently a home inspector but sometimes you need more licensed professionals, specifically architects, surveyors and engineers.

If you plan to add onto a house or do a major renovation it is important to talk to an architect before you close on the property. An architect can look at the existing layout, the setbacks and the zoning to see what your options are going to be. They can also provide feedback on your ideas and help you understand the magnitude of time and costs that you’ll incur. If something seems odd with room sizes, head heights, window sizes or exiting you need an architect. Always better to know this before you own the home.

Remember for all their general knowledge, your home inspector is not a licensed professional. If there are any concerns about the structure, you should get a structural engineer involved. They can evaluate the issues and let you know if failures are cosmetic or serious. They can also work with you to understand the possibilities for repairs.

If you have questions about your potential home and the relationship to adjacent properties, property lines, fences and easements you should talk to a professional land surveyor. They can give you an accurate drawing of how these site concerns interact with your future home.

When we are involved with home buyers either as architects or engineers we charge our time hourly and can provide estimates on the number of hours required up front. If you end up buying the property that we look at with you, we can generally credit that time toward any work that you need designed for the home. On surveys we provide fixed fees and the survey that we do for you prior to the closing is often all that you need for any design work. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.


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