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Creating an Addition to Your Home

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Adding an addition to your home isn't easy, but it can be a very worthwhile endeavor. Not only does it give you more living space, but creating another room can make your home more valuable. Despite the benefits of doing so, you'll want to carefully consider all of the pros and cons of constructing an addition to your home.

Some Considerations

Cost

There are a variety of factors that influence the cost of putting an addition onto your home:

  • The square-footage of the addition

     

  • Electricity, plumbing, heating/cooling

     

  • Appliances and fixtures

     

  • Lumber, paint, flooring materials

     

  • Labor

     

  • Cleanup/removal services

As you put together your budget, add on an additional 15 to 20 percent of the estimated cost to account for any contingencies, such as a delay in construction. Additionally, remember that increasing the size of your home will likely increase future utility costs.

Type of Addition

First, you'll need to decide what kind of addition you want and what it will be used for. If you want to build an additional bedroom or living room, this will be a lot less complicated than creating or expanding a bathroom or kitchen (since plumbing and gas lines would have to be created or relocated). Also keep in mind that you can get a pre-fabricated addition, which will be cheaper and quicker to install than if you were to have the addition built from scratch.

Value

While you'll want your addition to be as useful to you and your family as possible, some homeowners create additions to add to the value of their homes. If you fall into this category, you might want to want to consult a real estate expert to find out what type of addition is the most desirable and will bring the most value to your home.

Getting Approval

Once you know what kind of addition you want, have an architect or a construction professional draw up the plans. Before any building commences, you'll have to get permission to construct the extension. Contact your municipality's building authority, which will approve or reject your plans. Possible reasons for rejection can include the following:

  • The construction is too close to property lines

     

  • The building would violate height restrictions

     

  • The construction would take place near underlying cables, septic systems, power lines, or other obstacles

     

  • A neighbor objects to the construction

TIP: If the building authority rejects your construction plans, you can either apply for special permission (called a variance) or change the plans to make them acceptable.

Contractors and Costs

Once you are given the OK to go through with your plans, you'll need to hire someone to put them into action. Look for a contractor by:

  • Getting a personal referral: Ask friends or family that have recently had remodels if they have any recommendations, making sure your budget and the nature of the projects are similar

     

  • Local directories: Check the basic, local listing in the phone book or online for contractors in your area

     

  • Online referrals: Organizations such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and Zillow have directories of contractors, sometimes pre-screened or certified

Talk to several contractors to get an idea of what services are available and the prices. Carefully consider what each contractor can offer you before making your final decision on which one to hire. Before choosing a contractor for the job, be sure to:

  • Read online reviews

     

  • Check licensing credentials

     

  • Verify insurance for workers' compensation, property damage, and personal liability--otherwise, you could be liable for any injuries or damage

     

  • Request references

Remember--you should never automatically hire the cheapest contractor. The low estimate could indicate inexperience, lack of skill, dishonest practices, or poor quality materials. Years of experience, references from satisfied customers, outstanding online reviews and the proper licensing credentials are all important factors to consider along with affordable prices.

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 7, 2013

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