How to Plan for a Home Addition
Anyone who has put an addition on his or her home will tell you that the key to getting through the whole process is patience. Home additions are costly and even if you’ve done all of your research, you’re guaranteed to have more than a few unforeseen things pop up. But with research, planning, and patience you can end up with the home of your dreams. So now on to the big question, how do you plan for your much-desired addition?
1. Determine your needs for the space When you outgrow your space, a home addition can be a great solution to get the perfect master suite that you’ve always wanted or to expand your living space for a growing family. Before you put all of your eggs into the home addition basket, make sure to determine your needs for the space. Think of your addition as a remodel. Even if you’re adding on a room, you’ll still need to make changes to connect the spaces, so make sure that you’re okay with changing some things around. Remember, in order to add that extra room or two for the renovation, you’ll have to reconfigure your space to work better to integrate the added square footage.
Also think about the logistics of it. While expanding horizontally might seem like the easiest option, often times the space won’t pan out because of neighboring yards, septic systems, or building restrictions in your community. In this case, building vertically might be your best option.
2. Set a budget Setting a budget is perhaps the most important part of your addition. Make a list of the “givens” you’ll need for your addition, and a separate list for things you’d love to have but don’t necessarily need. Distinguishing between given costs like those for the foundation and frame, and extras like a sunken floor or a Jacuzzi tub, will help you set a realistic budget. Don’t trim down too much though, it is your addition after all, so you want to be happy with the final product.
Besides distinguishing between wants and needs to tack on to the budget, you’ll also want to get your research in on the cost of your materials so that you’ll be more informed when it comes time to hire a contractor. Also, while it’s normal to run into unforeseen circumstances that make things more expensive, they tend to only run 5 to 10 percent over your budget, so take this into account just in case.
3. Gather inspiration Now for the fun part! Gathering inspiration for your dream addition is just as fun as it sounds. Snap pictures from your favorite home décor magazines, and TiVo HGTV for some addition inspiration.
4. Research and hire the right professionals Like any home project, you want to make sure you’re hiring the right person for the job. Research contractors, designers, and architects in your area to see who comes with the best recommendations. Look for people who have been in business for a while, as they will usually have a proven track record of success, or at least a few reference projects that will show off their work. You can also commission plans from an architect or a design-build contractor, so you can see if you’re on the same page as them as far as your vision for the addition goes.
For smaller additions you might only need a contractor if you draw up the plans yourself, and for larger additions you most likely will need both an architect and contractor to complete your work. You can also hire a design-build firm to handle all steps of the process.
When you do decide on a team of professionals, make sure to get everything, written in a legal contract. Don’t assume any details are implied, that way you’ll know exactly what to expect in terms of work schedules, completion dates, etc.
5. Mentally prepare yourself Once you’ve hired your team and have finalized your sketches, it’s time to mentally prepare yourself for your home addition. Additions are time-consuming and it’s likely your space will be in disarray for a good portion of the project. But remember, it’ll all be worth it for the finished project.