Should you build an addition to your home?
You don't need a crowded home to start daydreaming about adding an extra room to your house. Getting more space is always great, be it for comfort or necessity. However, as easy and amazing as it sounds, building or expanding a room is not a lot easier or less expensive than moving. That's one of the reasons why an addition isn't always the best solution for everybody. How can you be sure it's the right solution for you? By answering this questionnaire!
1 - Are you aware of the inconveniences you'll face?
Remember that, even when the addition job will be done in one part of the house you will find dust, plaster, nails, dirt almost everywhere and construction workers coming and going as long as it lasts.
You will be losing privacy, tidiness and peace for weeks. This is something you must consider seriously when you work from home or you have small children. This can mess with your schedule and even mean some extra stress on your daily routine. Be sure you understand and are willing to put up with this before even thinking about adding a new room.
2 - Do you know who to hire?
A lot of people start building just with the contractor without consulting an architect. The results could be disastrous. In the best case, you'll end up with a room that doesn’t integrate with the rest of the house, adding a problem in a future resale. If you are planning to do it with a construction house that provides the whole service -including the architectural needs- hire one with registered workers, licensed and insured, and which can provide real references from previous clients.
There's a lot of planning and permits involved in an addition, so be sure to hire the company that won't only do the best construction work but that can also help you with the entire process.
3 - Are you ready to spend, big time?
The square foot value varies a lot depending on the type of room and where your house is, but the average cost ranges from $200 to $600. You can ask for a free quote before start planning and follow from there to see if you can apply for construction loans based on the future value of the property after the improvements have been made.
The cost of your insurance will raise a little too. Make sure to contact your insurer before you begin building to protect the investment, because in case of destruction or damage of the addition you might be responsible of repairing or rebuilding it at your own expense.
4 - Are you making a sound investment?
Before you decide to do a kitchen makeover, a garden deck or an extra bedroom, make sure it will add to the value of the house. Re converting an attic or a basement into a family room increases the resale value but has no impact in property taxes because it doesn’t increase the house footprint or the “livable space” that some counties use to calculate them.
So, maybe a careful analysis of the available spaces and their possibilities is way smarter than adding square footage directly.
5 - Do you know the codes and regulations for these projects?
Building codes are sets of regulations governing the design, construction, alteration and maintenance of structures so you have to ask your architect, contractor or construction house to do the job strictly up to code to avoid future problems and to guarantee the safety and integrity of the updated building.
You also may need to get the approval of the plans from your homeowner association and neighbours before starting.
All of these are things that you must consider before making an addition to your home. A huge part of the burden is hiring the right people and be prepared to exercise your patience for some weeks. We know it can get traumatic but, hey, let's face it - a new room is always worth it!