Categories: Home Additions

What You Need to Know — and Do — Before Adding On to Your House

For years, you’ve planned to add an extra bedroom to your home. After giving up your bedroom to the in-laws and sleeping on the sofa bed in your home office for one final cramped Thanksgiving, you finally decided that enough is enough. Your home addition is happening this year!

Congratulations… but here are a few things to consider and plan for before moving forward with adding on to your house.

Does Adding On to Your House Make Sense (and Cents)?


Before committing to adding on to your house, consider whether an addition makes more sense than shopping for a new home. Do you generally like the floor plan of your house, but find that you need a bit of additional room? If so, you’re a good candidate for an addition.

Also check out home sales comps in the neighborhood to make sure that the additional square footage isn’t going to make your home the most expensive in the area if you ever do decide to sell.

Focus on a Purpose


Building an addition is about more than simply getting additional space. Before you begin adding onto your house, envision what you hope to achieve once the project is complete. Are you in desperate need of additional storage? Do not enough bedrooms mean that guests and family members have zero privacy during the holidays? Are you hoping to improve traffic flow or expand your living area?

Thinking about the objective of the new space will help you better decide where to locate it and how to lay it out. An addition that’s well-planned is one that you’ll be happier with once it’s finally finished.

Consider the Building Site


Whether you’re expanding up or out, take a close look at the area where you plan to expand to see what factors will play into the overall project. Are there power lines that may need to be moved or tree branches that will need to be cut?

If you’re building an addition onto the side of your home, check the surrounding area for obstacles that may pose a problem (or add cost on) to the remodel. Irrigation systems, septic tanks, utility poles, and trees are common items that will require additional planning. Also consider any local regulations regarding how close you’re allowed to build to property lines.

Set a Budget


In order to keep from breaking the bank, you should carefully budget your home addition project and work hard at sticking to that budget. Working with an experienced contractor will help you with this step, as they’ll be able to provide you with an accurate estimate of what adding onto your house will cost. Make sure you don’t forget to factor an emergency fund into the budget (to cover unexpected expenses), as well as any fees your bank will charge for financing the project.

Ask Your Contractor to Help You “See” the Space


A skilled contractor is an invaluable resource when it comes to building a home addition. As well as helping you budget realistically, they can provide ideas and inspiration on the best way to achieve your objectives. They can also walk you through their vision of the completed project using 3D renderings.

Unlike the old days when builders would show you what they had planned via sketches and blueprints, 3D renderings allow you to see a digital mockup of how your addition will look and feel. You’ll be able to see how the project will appear both from the interior and the exterior of you home. This will also give you the chance to ask questions, voice concerns, or suggest changes before the physical work begins. With a bit of practicality, the proper planning, and a professional to guide you, adding onto your house can turn your current home into the home of your dreams.

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