Newbie Architect Type in the Chicagoland Area (Advice at end)

6 Replies

Good Morning Everyone,

I wanted to take a moment and introduce myself. My name is Jonathan Miller, I'm 28, and I graduated last year with a Masters of Architecture. I have 4 years of experience in the field, have done work updating a few houses, and am working on becoming licenced.  However, after working the 8-5 daily grind I've realized that architecture isn't going to be the best retirement plan (unless I start my own firm). Since my passion is residential architecture, I decided to start looking into real estate investment. 

After doing some research and realizing there are different avenues I can take on this journey, I met up with someone from my church group who works at a firm as a real estate investor. He suggested that my best avenue would be to get in on the real estate side of things for the best cash flow. (He also said it's easier to get into real estate this way because a lot of construction companies already have the market saturated). I love to learn and want to get in on the real estate side, but I still want to be able to utilize my technical and design skills. Any advice for a newbie?

I also realize I need to post a picture of myself in my profile. I will once I get home from work tonight. 

Thanks in advance and I'm excited to talk with and learn from everyone!

@Jonathan Miller I came to this same realization about a year ago. I love my work however I need to supplement my income with a more lucrative retirement plan so I am not a slave to the profession unable to step away. 

Licensure is great. Definitely do that. Opens doors to work for yourself even just for small ventures on the side.  

Whoa, I never thought I would see any other architects (or pursuing licensure) on BP! @Jonathan Miller , I'm in the same place. Extremely interested in real estate investing and the "architect as developer" form of practice (check out what Jonathan Segal is doing www.jonathansegalarchitect.com/ ) @Jared W Smith , I have the same question as Jonathan... how are our unique skillsets applicable in this space? I've had a lot of trouble sorting out where the designer fits.

@Jonathan Miller I am still looking for my first 'official' investment property. (Other than my own SFH, I own a single unit apartment rental.)

Jonathan & @Tyler Hiatt , It's not an easy task placing your skills. I think the value as I've determined in my locale is being licensed. Just being a designer may only bring part of the skills needed to the table. It very much depends on the person (you), area of the country, type of property, partnership and what type of work needs to be done to get property rented or sold. 

I have the expertise to research various zoning, code and site development requirements but also can completed design drawings, coordinate engineers and submit to the municipality for construction permits under my own license. In addition it's a good idea to have a stronghold in an area with local builders, handymen and contractors to get quality work done and on budget. A real estate person looking to get a deal but with no construction/renovation experience would be ideal to partner. (Seeking this myself currently)  

Jonathan Segal's work is top notch. And I agree with you Tyler, being an architect AND developer or at least an equity partner/investor in a deal allows us to have more say in what is actually being built. This is not always the case just being the Architect FOR a developer/Investor.       

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