Building a home addition can come in several varieties: an extra bathroom, guest bedroom, larger kitchen, or living room addition are some of the more traditional ways homeowners increase their living space. And the reasons for making these additions are even more varied, including boosting the home’s value, reflecting changes in the family, adding functionality, or simply giving the home more aesthetic appeal.
While the specifics of each project will vary, the steps to a successful home addition remain relatively constant. Here are some tips, compiled from experts in home renovations, to help homeowners survive the exciting and potentially stressful home addition:
Collect the required legal documents
Building a home addition entails more than just deciding what you want and finding a contractor to complete it. Adding on to an existing house typically requires documentation that can include permits, deeds, and a plot plan showing your property lines and the distance to neighboring buildings. Your local recorder of deeds can supply these essential documents. Their importance lies in the fact that if you encroach on your neighbor’s property with your home addition, you could be forced to tear it down!
Come up with a budget
Before you get too far along in planning your home addition, you need to create a budget to ensure your plans are realistic. First, be sure to take everything into account, including designing costs, labor, and materials. Then, add a safety factor of up to 20 percent to your projected figure for emergencies and other unexpected expenses.
Decide what you will need
Similar to your budget, a list of everything you want in your new addition is essential to keeping you from overspending. Make sure you take care of the indispensable features before you add any optional or luxury items.
Go with a professional designer
While it might sound sensible to save money by designing your own home addition, an architect can help you create extra space efficiently, saving you time and money throughout the project. Another benefit of hiring one is that most experienced architects have worked with contractors and can therefore recommend a few they know do quality work.
Share your plans with your neighbors
Although you are under no obligation to inform your neighbors of your plans, it is a courteous thing to do. Especially if your neighbors are close, as in a townhouse where you share a common wall, it is always a good idea to let them know you will be making noise and creating a temporary mess. Most of them will be understanding, but it is best to hear their complaints before you get started.
Create a list of potential builders
Building a home addition is a complicated undertaking requiring multiple subcontractors—electrician, plumber, cabinetmaker, etc.–and lots of coordination. It is not a do-it-yourself project. So, unless you are a professional contractor, hire a builder that you have checked out thoroughly and feel you can trust. And if a bank is financing the addition, you probably will not have a choice since they will require that you hire a licensed contractor.
Hire an electrician to evaluate the existing utilities
Before you invest too much time planning a new addition, you should meet with an electrician and HVAC contractor to determine the capacity of your current system. You will want to find out early whether or not your existing electrical and HVAC systems can handle the extra loads from the new space. This information is essential to planning your budget.
Talk to your bank
Building a home addition is exciting, but you need to find out how to pay for it before you decide to break ground. While costs will vary depending on where you live, even a relatively small 10 ft. x 12 ft. living room addition could average $60,000. The cost of a two-story addition that doubles the size of your existing house could approach $400,000.
Protect your home addition with the best insurance coverage
Contact one of our insurance experts and ask about your renovated home’s best homeowners insurance coverage. Any of our professional insurance advisors at White Cloud Insurance can help you choose the right policy for your needs. Either fill out the contact form, call us at 305-556-1488, or send us a message at email@example.com.