4 Things You Should Ask Your Home Addition ContractorPlanning a renovation can be an exciting—and stressful—time. But with the right contractor in charge of your job, you’ll be able to turn your home-building plans into reality. Here are 4 questions you should ask your contractor before you get started:

  1. Should you move out during the renovation process?

Adding onto your home can be a stressful and noisy experience so you will want to plan accordingly. There will be loud noises and dust—potentially things you don’t want to be breathing in. Plus a lot of workers coming in and out. It’s not an easy lifestyle to adhere to during the course of the project. If you plan on living on the first floor of the home during the process, you may want to move all belongings to sections of the house that won’t be exposed to the elements. You could also relocate items and store them in an off-site facility or storage warehouse for safekeeping. Things will be turned upside down for the duration of the project, so you’ll need to decide whether you and your family are better off staying at home or temporarily relocating for the duration of the renovation.

  1. What is the projected timeline for the project?

The length of a project really depends on the size and configuration of your house and the addition that you’re building. If your second story will be a modular structure, it can be lifted into place much faster than traditional building. When asking this question, you want to hear a specific amount of time in terms of weeks or months. If a contractor is giving you the run-around and can’t be specific with timeframes, they are probably not the best choice. They could end up charging you excess amounts of money for extra time, materials, and labor fees for a project that took them 3 months to complete instead of a 6-week time period with another more precise contractor.  Having a schedule for your project can outline tasks and give you a closer look at the sequence of events and deadlines. It will also give you a better sense of whether or not the project is lagging behind. Time is money.

  1. Are there any zoning restrictions to consider?

Most districts have very specific rules about where you can build and what you can build, particularly when it comes to additions. Zoning laws vary with every state and every town, so it’s a good idea to check what those laws are for your area. For instance, you’re generally not allowed to build anything within a certain number of feet from the front of your property, on either side, or out the back. In addition to this, there are rules about wetlands and how much your lot can be covered with structures and paving as well as how tall buildings can be. It can be an inconvenience to have to run everything you do by your town, but it’s better to check what is allowed then start your building plans only to find out that you need to go to the planning or zoning board for a variance. This costs time and money, and your plans may not be ultimately approved.

  1. How will the addition tie into the house?

When you add onto your home you want to make sure that the new space flows and works well with your existing space. It should look like it belongs with your existing home and not stand out like a sore thumb. You can also consider how the roofline connects to your house and then choose how to best mesh the styles of the addition and your existing roof. You’ll want to choose details that complement your existing house, such as interior and exterior materials, windows, and doors. Your addition should look like it was an original part of your home, and it should help create functional space that your family can enjoy. To achieve this, you can hire an architect or a designer to help you with the finishes and even get some advice from them on your project and the best way to proceed. Renovations can add significant value to your home, so it’s important that you keep track of cost and make decisions that make you happy, but could also appeal to a new buyer should you ever plan to move. Bear in mind that there are so many other things that you and your contractor should discuss before beginning a project. These are just some suggestions and issues to think about before starting. Doing your research and understanding the answers to these questions will help you make a decision. 

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