Home additions can be exciting, they are new and special, something the whole family can enjoy for years to come. Additions can also add value to your home and increase equity; however, if done wrong, they can leave you with an unfinished project and drowning in bills. This is why you should leave the bulk of the work to professionals who know what they are doing. Additions can really open the home up and add some much needed space to your pre-existing floor plan; such as, new bedrooms, bathrooms, or a family room. When looking into a home addition, it's extremely important to do research on the project, it may be a long process that can be very difficult if you dive in unprepared.
Here are seven factors that can either make or break your home addition plans:
1. Get everything permitted.
All major construction projects require building permits. Without getting the right permits, you could face expensive fines through either the town or the state, and you could be forced to remove your addition. To prevent this colossal waste of money, be sure to get the correct permits from your town hall. Building codes were created for a reason and should not be ignored; permits are documentation that your project is being completed the right way. They also ensure that you are using a professional and licensed contractor. Not getting the necessary permits is a huge risk. If you attempt to get around this precaution it will end up costing you a whole lot more than if things were done properly in the first place.
2. Expect delays.
As with any construction project, unforeseeable events are bound to occur. Things like weather, sickness, builder/contractor availability, or material delays are just a few of things that could happen and there is no way around them. Work closely with your builder to create a schedule to prevent the project from lagging behind; but keep in mind that making a schedule does not mean that the project will absolutely run as planned. For example, materials could get delayed weeks after the projected timeline. It's important to expect these delays; otherwise you will be stressed when the project slips off schedule.
3. Find the right builder/architect.
Be sure that you are choosing the right builder or contractor; this can be either the best or worst choice of your life. Take the interviewing process very seriously, ask to see some of their completed or current projects to ensure that their work is something that you like. Certain websites cater specifically to helping homeowners find licensed professionals or home renovation and addition projects. Ask others for referrals, generally, if someone liked their contractor or builder they will want to tell others and get them more work.
4. Don't overbuild for the size of your lot.
Adding on to your home does not always pay off, when adding another bedroom, bathroom or expanding your kitchen don't forget that outdoor living space is an asset to your property. Taking away the yard takes away from the value of your home. Stretching your home to the edges of your property take away valuable outdoor living space that can be used for landscaping, or entertaining areas. Additionally, your neighbors may not appreciate you getting so close to their home. Other times home owner's associations or cities have regulations limiting how far you can extend your building.
5. Expect the unexpected.
It is important that you don't assume that everything in a renovation or addition is going to go right. Unexpected expenses or findings will most likely arise and wreak havoc on you before they can be solved. Asbestos, irregular framing, bad wiring, and bad plumbing are just a few examples of unexpected findings when adding to your home. These unexpected surprises are common and you should anticipate them before starting the project. Prepare your budget and timeline accordingly so you won't be unprepared.
6. Don't overdo home customization.
If you plan on living in your house for decades after your addition, customize it all you want. However, if there is the slightest possibility that you will be selling in the future don't go crazy customizing items and materials. Your personal preference may not be universally like by others. Picking overly bright or unique floor tiling, floors, cabinets, or wall colors could hurt the value of your home. It is a safer option to pick neutral flooring, tiling and appliances, this helps with the resale value of your home.
7. Focus on kitchens and bathrooms.
Additional bathrooms and a large kitchen are features that add value to your home. When creating a new kitchen make sure that it is functional for your needs or the needs of a potential buyer. This doesn't mean that your kitchen can't be unique; choosing neutral cabinets with a colorful back splash adds interest.
Bathrooms are another area that are just as important as the kitchen. If there are too few it can affect how you entertain or worse, it could impact your day to day life. Adding bathrooms increases the value of your home because most buyers want a good number of bathrooms. You really can't go wrong with adding bathrooms to your home, it doesn't matter if it's a half bath on your first floor or another bathroom upstairs to balance out the bedrooms.
Additions and renovations can be a bear sometimes. You have to live through the process. Start to research your project early so you know what you want and what you are getting into.