Home additions can be exciting! It’s new and special, something that your family will get to enjoy for many years to come. If done right, additions can add value to your home and increase the equity. If done wrong, however, it could leave you with unfinished projects and drowning in bills. Unless you possess the knowledge and expertise in building and construction, let the professionals do the work. You can help with some demolition, but be sure to let those who know what they are doing, do the bulk of the work.
Again, additions can really open your home and add some much needed space to your pre-existing floor plan. Additions can be in the form of new bedrooms, bathrooms, family rooms, etc. They don’t have to follow a specific trend, they just need to provide what you and your family need. When looking into home addition plans, it’s doubly important that you do your research about what you are getting into. It may be a long process, so it’s important that you have all the information available to you before you begin.
1. Get everything permitted
If you plan on doing some major construction to your home, it’s crucial that you make a stop at your local town hall to get the necessary building permits needed for your project. If you don’t get permits for your project, you could face expensive fines through the town or the state, even more, you may be forced to remove your addition. Thus, causing all the money you spent on the addition to be a waste.
Towns and cities are beginning to go after homeowners who begin construction without the correct permits. Building codes are put into place for a reason. Things need to be done to code or brought up to code and that takes a certain expertise that your average joe may not have. Another reasoning for permits is complete safety, not only for your project, but for yourself. Permits show that you have documentation of your project being done the right way, so if you sell your home at a later date, the new homeowner can’t say that anything was constructed improperly.
Additionally, getting permits provides you with free oversight of your project to be sure that everything is done up to code. A building inspector will be out to view your project several times and could ultimately protect your safety and financial investment in the home. Permits also require you to use professional and licensed contractors, which is ultimately what you want. In certain cases, your contractor may have to go get certain permits for electrical or plumbing if you can’t pull them yourself. Not getting permits is a risk, one which you should not take because it will end up costing you a whole lot more than if you had just done it right the first time.
2. Expect delays & the unexpected
Things happen during projects that can be unforeseen like weather, sickness, builder/contractor availability, material delays, etc. You should be working closely with your builder to construct a schedule to keep the project on pace. However, that schedule is not set in stone and it will most likely shift and change over time. Sometimes materials get delayed and you won’t be able to get them for weeks after your projected timeline.
It’s important to be aware going into projects that these things occur. Otherwise you are going to become a ball of stress as you watch your schedule slip into uncharted waters. We don’t live in a perfect world and things don’t always go according to plan. As long as you know that your timeline will shift throughout the project, you will be okay. Don’t stress about the little things.
More often than not, unexpected expenses or findings will arise and wreak havoc on you for a bit of time before it can be resolved. Asbestos, irregular framing, bad wiring, and funky plumbing could be just some of what you come upon during your addition or renovation. Unexpected surprises are common and you should be prepared for them even before you begin the project. Yes, it may cost you more money and be a thorn in your side, but it will probably be something that was necessary to fix the home and bring it up to code. Anticipate finding things you weren’t expecting and prepare your budget and timeline accordingly so you won’t be so unprepared when it happens.
3. Find the right builder/architect
Finding the right builder or contractor can be the best decision you ever make or the worst choice of your life. Be sure to really interview and talk to whatever professional you plan to hire. Ask to see some of their other projects so you can get a sense of what they have worked on previously and what their projects ended up looking like. You can find licensed professionals online where there are certain websites specifically catered to helping homeowners find licensed professionals for home additions or other renovation projects. Talk to neighbors or people in your area to see if anyone can give you a referral of someone they have used. Usually, if people like their contractor or builder, they will be singing their praises and it might just help you find the right person for the job.
4. Don’t overbuild for the size of your lot
Just because you add onto your home doesn’t mean it will always pay off, especially if it’s at the expense of your lot size. You can add on extra bedrooms, bathrooms, or a new kitchen and that will add value to your home. Be sure to remember that people also want outdoor living space, somewhere they can have people over or have kids play outside. Once you take that away, it tends to drop the value of your home and make any work you did worthless.
If you stretch your home to the very edges of your property line you eliminate the space for landscaping, outdoor living spaces, or entertaining areas. You may also upset your neighbors with how close your home will now be to their property. Certain homeowners’ associations or cities may have regulations that limit how far you can extend and build on your lot so be sure to check into that before beginning your addition. Bottom line, whether or not you like being outside, if you plan on selling at any point in time, it’s probable that buyers will want an outdoor area, so be sure to leave some green.
5. Don’t overdo home customization
If you plan on staying in your home for decades after your addition, then by all means, do what you want to your home. However, if you do think that there is the slightest possibility of selling in the future, don’t go crazy with customized items or materials. Your taste or style may not be universal to everyone and picking very bright and unique tiles, flooring, cabinets, or wall colors could really mess with your resale value.
Picking neutral flooring, tiling, and appliances can help in the resale value of your home and usually it helps it sell faster because a buyer can better see themselves in your home. If you fall in love with customized cabinets or flooring that you absolutely must have, then go for it. Creating the home of your dreams is ultimately your choice, but if you plan on selling at some point, be aware of your choices.
6. Focus on kitchen and bathrooms
Adding additional bathrooms and expanding your kitchen will add to the value of your home. When creating a new kitchen, be sure to make it functional for your current needs or the potential needs of a new buyer. You can still create a unique kitchen without choosing bright and overtop tile or countertop selections. Neutral cabinets with a colorful backsplash can add interest to your kitchen and brighten it.
Bathrooms are just as important as a kitchen space. If there aren’t enough of them, it could cause an issue with how you entertain, even more so, impact your life on a daily basis. Adding bathrooms will also increase the value of your home because most buyers want a good amount of bathrooms. Whether you plan on adding a small half bath to your main floor or adding more bathrooms to balance out against the bedrooms, you really can’t go wrong.
Take some time before jumping into a home addition project to really research what you want so you know what you are getting into. Your dream home can become a reality; you just have to create it with smart, strategic choices because what you don’t know about home additions could potentially hurt you.
Building an addition to your home is one of the most exciting things happening in your life as you are gearing up with ideas on what to do in the extra space. Yet before one design idea hits the blueprint, you need to sit down and consider if building a home addition is the right project for your needs. As you probably learned from above, there are several factors to consider that could actually create numerous problems that you weren’t expecting. Here are a few things to know that could actually make your home addition dreams turn into nightmares:
You may have a grand idea to add an addition to the front or the side of your home. Unfortunately, local zoning laws in your area could prohibit the size and height of the addition. Certain municipalities will have rules regarding the number of feet you have available to build in the front, rear and sides of the house. Also, there could be restrictions in place regarding how high you can build the addition, and how much impermeable material you can have on the lot. The moment that you decide to add on an addition, you need to go to your local zoning board to find out all the restrictions in your area that you will need to consider before creating the design plans.
It May Be A Poor Investment
You have to consider how the addition will change your financial situation. Building an addition can be one of the costliest projects to take on. You will spend more on an addition than on any type of remodeling task done to your main home, and you can get very little financial rewards from it. If you plan to sale the home, the addition could actually have a lesser value than what it cost to build it when compared to the values of other nearby homes with similar features that are on the market.
An additional factor to consider is that an addition will change the value of your home when it comes to paying taxes. When a new assessment is done to the home, you might find that the addition has raised your property taxes based on all the amenities you place into it as well as the increased square footage. This new tax liability could be beyond your financial means. Also, don’t forget that adding onto your home will raise your energy bill as you will have to heat, cool, and provide electricity to the new space.
The Addition Will Change The Look Of The Home
In you mind, you have a fabulous image of what the addition will look on your home. Yet once the addition is built, it changes the exterior appearance of the house so drastically that you wince at the sight of it. The top problem is that the addition looks tacked on instead of always belonging on your home as the mismatched appearance will be seen by everyone traveling along the road. A poorly designed addition can be avoided by having an architect draw up the design as you will be able to see what the addition will look like when added to your home.
Building An Addition isn’t A Quick Process
Many people are under the impression that building an addition is a quick process. It’s not like building an entire home. Unfortunately, an addition involves more than you think. Not only does the exterior of the addition have to match the exterior of the house, all of the interior mechanical systems have to match. The plumbing, duct work and electrical lines will have to be run through the addition. Based on the size of the addition, it could take several weeks to several months to complete the project. You will also have to take into account bad weather and contractor, or subcontractor, schedules.
When planning your home addition just be sure to focus on the functionality of each room in terms of your house’s layout. Additions and renovations can be a bear sometimes. You have to live through the process, but you get to reap the rewards at the end when your home is the way you wanted. By understanding all the factors that are involved with building an addition, you can make an informed decision on whether to tackle this project or not. Then you and your architect can create the additional space that you desire on your home.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your home addition, please contact our team of professionals today.