4 home addition tips every NJ homeowner needs to knowDone right, a home addition can offer homeowners many advantages. Adding extra space may make a house both more comfortable in the near future and more valuable when it is time to sell. In a real estate market like the one in New Jersey, the decision to build onto an existing home might be a better alternative than selling a small house and buying a bigger one.

However, adding more living space to a house is a big project. All homeowners should be aware that there are some pitfalls to avoid along the way. In order to fully enjoy the experience, these are some tips that will help make the experience as pleasant and productive as possible.

1. Gather a Home’s Legal Documents in the Beginning

The first document that most homeowners need to produce is called the plat map. This should be included with other mortgage documents and is prepared by a title company whenever homes or bought or sold in New Jersey. Homeowners who don’t have one of these maps of their property can get one produced for a fee.

Important details included in this graphic description of the lot are boundary lines and easements for utilities.  This ensures that the new addition design doesn’t cross into the neighbor’s property, block a gas line, and so on. Designers will need this map before they can begin their work.

2. Shop for the Right Professionals to Assist With the Project

The right design professional can assist right from the start by creating a realistic home addition that should stay within budget and really improve the house’s livability and value. The designer should account for the homeowner’s desires, good utility management, and of course, the budget.

Architects may also be able to provide referrals for good construction companies with a reputation for delivering quality work within budgets and time schedules. These factors are all very important for a number of reasons that include enjoying the whole experience and obtaining adequate financing for the project.

3. Consider Construction Financing

Some homeowners may have enough equity in their existing home to obtain loans based upon that. Otherwise, homeowners might have to obtain a construction loan, and these are a bit different than traditional mortgages. Because there may not be typical “comps” for a unique home addition, financing companies or banks might be as interested in the ease of the project and the reputation of the construction company as they are in the borrower’s credit scores. Very often, banks will want 20 percent down for a construction loan, especially if there is not sufficient equity in the existing home.

4. Maintain Realistic Expectations

As far as increasing the property value of homes, additions that add extra living space often do pay off pretty well when it becomes time to sell the house. For example, a homeowner is far more likely to recoup a home addition investment than they are an investment in a swimming pool. As far as the value of an investment, a home addition is also often a more frugal decision than simply buying a larger home.

There are plenty of good reasons for considering a home addition to make a house more useful and increase its market value. On the other hand, a larger home may consume more utilities and require more maintenance. Also, homeowners need to be prepared for some disruption during construction. There may even be periods when the homeowner and his or her family need to find alternate housing.

Home Additions Can Add Value and Satisfaction

Building onto an existing home may be the right decision for homeowners who need extra living space and hope to make a good investment in their property. With the right preparation, the experience of adding onto a house may be an exciting time.


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