A home addition is a dream of many homeowners, but an expensive one at that, often costing between several ten thousand and several hundred thousand dollars. How can you manage to keep the costs of your addition at a reasonable level and track all of the expenses while still getting the addition of your dreams? These professional addition tips from designers, contractors and homeowners who have been there will help you plan, manage and complete your home addition more easily.
How to Manage Your Home Addition Costs with Ease
- Design to maximize savings. Did you know that a second-story addition over an existing area is often less expensive because you don’t have to add to your foundation? You can also use standardized measurements, such as wall panels that are in increments of 4′ or doors that are 32″ or 36″ wide, to maximize savings because the materials will be readily available and will require less work to install. HGTV has a great guide to addition planning available.
- Do a 3D virtual walkthrough first. When your designer has finished developing the design, ask for a 3D virtual walkthrough to get a better feel for the space. Pay close attention to features that don’t work well together, such as a door that opens into a tight corner or features that reduce usability.
- Take the time to think about everything you’ll be doing in the addition. After the walkthrough, ask for a printout of the basic plans, then spend a little time visualizing working through every activity you’ll do in the addition. You may notice things that bother you that you hadn’t noticed in the walkthrough or features that aren’t as convenient as you’d thought they would be.
- Talk to your contractor. If you have serious budget concerns or a hard fixed figure, you need to let your contractor know that. Plan on spending at least an hour or two a week while construction is underway to help iron out and brainstorm solutions for any problems that arise.
- Don’t forget the upgrades to existing systems. If you’re adding a significant amount of square footage to your home, will your HVAC unit be able to keep up? What about your plumbing? If you need to raise the floor or lower your pipes for proper drainage, that great deal may end up being a costly mistake.
- Make a budget, then stick to it. Your budget should have a little cushion in it for unforeseen items and repairs to the old structure, but the rest should be a hard figure. Break your budget down by room, by material or by fixture so you know exactly where you’ll have to scrimp if something goes over.
- Choose your options, then stick with them once they’re ordered. The most expensive thing that will make your budget get blown out of proportion is ordering, paying for and installing something and then deciding you hate it.
- Set up a basic accounting folder for the project. Whether it’s a large envelope, a binder or a folder in your desk, keep track of project financial documents, warranties, estimates, receipts and other paperwork, including your budget.
- Stay flexible. By listening to your contractor or architect discussing options instead of refusing them out of hand, you’ll be able to take advantage of their experience and save a lot of money in the long run.
With these tips in mind, your addition project will come along more easily and at a lower cost than you might expect. By starting with a good, cost-effective design and sticking within your budget, you’ll soon have a beautiful addition to your home with plenty of room to move. Plan ahead, keep it real and bring your dreams to life.