Ask to see the plans.
Ask about permits past and present.
Call the architect - whose name is on the plans.
Ask them your question.
Copy the plans - or take a pic with your phone if they won't copy them.
Ask your own architect.
(Please note: when you choose an answer as a Best Answer, or at least give a thumbs up, it helps those who answer questions here.)
1. A general contractor or a structural engineer.
2. I expect that you should do your research, if time allows, prior to making the offer. I assume you are only interested in this property if you can renovate and make the changes noted in the question. As I said, completing your due diligence first is the best route. If it is a competitive situation, then make the offer contingent on these changes and allow for enough time to hire a professional to visit the property and make a evaluation of the project wanted. (Not knowing the situation I might assume the project could be completed, but the budget might be higher than expected and possibly not making it a good investment).
I hope this helps.
2) Yes, there are two different professionals you can bring in to help answer your questions: structural engineer and a general contractor. I suggest bringing in a contractor first; and
3) If you have the time (i.e there aren't other pending offers) I would bring in the contractor prior to making an offer. Why not get an idea of costs prior to valuing the property. However, if there is not time to do so, then you can absolutely make the deal contingent on an inspection and ask for the right to bring in a contractor for satisfactory estimates.
There is much more to learn about the process of buying this specific home so like I said, get yourself a buyer broker first :)
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If like Bob says it is a competitive situation make the offer 1st,
I would not do as he states and make it subject to those items as that just raises a red flag to the seller or their agent.
Remember this - IT IS ALWAYS EASIER TO GET OUT OF A DEAL THAN INTO ONE.
I always recommend offers should include:
1) subject to a satisfactory home inspection, by the buyer and or his agents on or before xxx days.
2) subject to a mutually acceptable purchase and sales agreement
3) subject to financing (if you need it) if not subject to an appraisal at or above the agreed upon price.
As too the renovations - a general contractor, architect and or a structural engineer.
As Bob states it may cost more than you expect or the market will pay for, but that said if its the house you want, in an area you want and realize these two things then go for it.
A home is a place to live, raise a family in, a forced way of savings, tax benefits (unless Obama gets re-elect) and should keep pace with the community you invest in (so it may go up or it may go down invalue). So community, location, schools and transportation to employment centers are all key factors.
If you have a good buyer's agent, s/he should be able to help you locate a general contractor (GC)