Many times when we are showing homes, especially with older homes, a buyer may talk about the possibility of moving a wall to open up the space. Remember, a realtor agent is a resource for information...but not the source, and should never say, "sure, you can move this wall or that wall." because it could be a load-bearing wall and it may not be that simple.
Load bearing walls do just that, they bear the weight of a portion of the structure. You might find them in the middle of a ranch home or you might see them at different/multiple points in a two or three-story structure. If a person just tries to remove or alter one of those walls without properly re-configuring the support they are asking for a load of trouble. Get it? :-) Do I hear groans? LOL
The best advice we can give is that three people need to be involved in a project to move a wall;
1) An Architecht
2) An Interior Designer
3) A Remodeling Contractor
You might think that's a lot and will be costly to bring in for a house that you really aren't sure about.
To that I would say to have an initial contractor look at the structure and make an initial assessment....and then make the buyer's purchase agreement contingent upon them being able to get full confirmation from an architect that they are able to actually do what they are wanting to do.
An architect will be able to confirm that what the client wants, can be done, and will be able to design the alternate support to handle the changes and still maintain the structural integrity of the home.
An interior designer will be able to design lighting, ventilation, and other things like the way they will use the room and what they want, such as flooring, features, etc. and then design the actual plan for the client. You can find an actual interior designer through the American Society of Interior Designers...www.asid.org or 202-546-3480
Once the plans are all prepared, then it's time to get quotes from contractors, and it even helps more if the contractor has already worked with the architect and interior designer. Tucker Home Services is a great resource for those individuals to do the work.