Spring, like home landscaping, may be the best time of year to consider remodeling or even an addition to your home. People often believe, for good reason, that home remodeling or adding an addition provides a cost-effective and less painful alternative to moving when they get the itch for a larger living space. This can be a big project, however, depending on your circumstances. There are many ways to do a home remodel, such as recreating space inside the home, removing walls to create larger spaces or even a full exterior addition (which is often costly and difficult).
Beware of the many possible pitfalls along the way. For instance, many homeowners associations govern what you can and can’t do to your property. Always be sure to investigate city ordinances or other building restrictions that could restrict or even disallow your project before you start. It’s not unheard of for a home owner’s association to order a tear down of a new addition because it claimed the new space violated association rules.
Other possible adverse issues include noisy construction, which could be a serious problem if you work in a home office. If a kitchen remodel is your project then you need to think about how you’ll prepare meals (or plan to eat out a lot). You may even need to consider a kennel for your pet if the construction noise is too much for them.
Securing your mode of financing, before you break ground on the project, is a must, and in today’s topsy-turvy real estate market you’ll be required to bring substantial equity to the table; be sure to keep your expectations realistic. Your budget, needs and expected compromises all need to line up.
CostHelper.com estimates that adding a bathroom or bedroom could run anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 and a bedroom could easily cost even more. A large room, such as a family room, could run as high as $100,000. The size of the space plays a huge role in the cost but the more you build the less it might cost per square foot.
Most homeowners pay for additions by refinancing their home and some lenders even offer construction loans based on the future value of the property after the improvements have been made.
Your first step should be to decide which of the aforementioned options best suit your needs. Then you should seriously consider consulting with or even retaining an architect. Although many builders can provide an in-house designer, a fully trained and accredited architect will better realize your specific needs and desires. Although builders often do a great job redesigning interiors, when it comes to an actual extension the full design experience of an accredited architect is invaluable. In most cases, architects also have a list of preferred builders with a proven track record they can recommend for your personalized project.
Another smart practice is to meet with an electrician to determine the capacity of your electrical system. Changes in load and grounding issues could help (or even hurt) your design plans. Best to get that sorted out early in the game.
The next step is to begin gathering a few legal documents. You’ll need an accurate plot plan of your property showing property lines and the proximity of the existing and proposed buildings. Plot plans and surveys are usually found at your local registry of deeds. Then you need to determine a realistic budget. Although your target number may be far from reality this early in the game it’s important to determine a starting point before you actually meet with the builder or architect. Don’t forget that depending on the type of space you plan to create you will need to finish and furnish the inside after construction, which should not be excluded from the budget. Possible increases in property tax, utilities and even homeowners insurance will all affect your final budget as well.
If you decide to go it alone (or even if your architect provides you with recommendations) you should compile a short list of prospective builders. Check their references and request examples of previous work. Also, check with local building code officials and building supply companies to get a better understanding of how your builder operates. Choosing a builder that you can trust is possibly the most important decision you will make. Once you’ve narrowed down the list to three to four builders you are ready to begin asking for written estimates.
It is very important that you understand that building a home addition is decidedly not a DIY project. Although many people are capable of this type of construction, the reality is that most should not attempt a project of this magnitude on their own. Another thing to keep in mind, patience is a virtue, and when it comes to working with building contractors you can never have too much