Whether adding a whole new room or a more modest remodel, an addition will likely be a significant construction project. There’ll be with architects and contractors to manage, construction workers traipsing through the house, hammers pounding, and sawdust everywhere. New additions can be an excellent investment. But the cost-per-square-foot is typically many times more than new home construction; and much more per-square-foot than buying a larger existing home.
Consider the following before making that leap:
Define your needs
To determine if an addition makes sense, define precisely what is wanted and needed. By focusing on core needs, a remodeler won’t get caught up with a wish list that could push the project into the stratosphere financially.
If it’s a matter of needing more space, be specific. Determine exactly how much more space will make a real difference. “Six additional linear feet of counter and 150 square feet of floor space,” makes far more sense than just “more kitchen space.”
If the addition is for aging parents, consult with their doctors or an age-in-place expert to define specifically what kind of living conditions they’ll require, both now and over the next five to ten years.
Types of Additions
“Bumping out” one or more walls to make a first-floor room slightly larger is something most homeowners think about at one time or another. However, when considering the work required and the limited amount of space created, it tends to be one of the most expensive approaches to creating just a little more space.
First Floor Addition
Adding a whole new room (or rooms) to the first floor of a home is one of the most common ways to add space to a home. A new family room, apartment, or sunroom can easily be created. But this remodeling approach can also take away yard space. An architect should be consulted, as an addition or just changing a roofline can destroy a home’s “look” and curb-appeal.
For homes with steep rooflines, adding an upper floor dormer may transform an awkward space with limited headroom to a comfortable, usable space. The cost is generally affordable, and, when done well, a dormer can also improve the curb-appeal of a house.
For homes without an upper floor, adding a second story can double the size of the house without reducing surrounding yard space. But be cautious not to ruin the view and destroy the value of homes next door. The second story might not be worth the neighborhood drama.
Building an above a garage is ideal for a space that requires more privacy, such as a rentable apartment, a teen’s bedroom, a “mother-in-law suite,” a guest bedroom, guest quarters, or a family bonus room.
Any addition and most remodeling will require a building permit – which will require professional blueprints drawn by an architect. The local building department will make sure that the addition follows the latest building codes. While it also will ensure it isn’t too tall for the neighborhood or positioned too close to a property line.
Requirements for a legal apartment
While the idea of having a renter that provides an additional stream of revenue may be enticing, the realities of building and renting a legal add-on apartment can be sobering. Among the many things to consider:
- Special permitting – Some communities don’t like the idea of “mother-in-law” units and have regulations against them, or zoning-approval requirements.
- Separate utilities – In many cities, a homeowner can’t charge their tenant for heat, electricity, and water unless the utilities are separately metered (and separately controlled by the tenant).
- ADU Requirements – When building an “accessory dwelling unit,” building codes often contain special requirements regarding fire-walls, emergency-exists, windows, ceiling height, off-street parking spaces, the location of main entrances, the number of bedrooms, and more.
Remember, renters have special rights, and landlords have added responsibilities. It’s best to consult an attorney to learn those rights and responsibilities and be prepared to adhere to them. A Keller Williams The Trembley Group Realtor can generally advise or recommend an attorney to specifically advise about municipal, state, and federal landlord/tenant laws.
The cost to construct an addition depends on a wide variety of factors. The quality of materials used, the laborers doing the work, the type of addition, and its size, the age of your house, and its current condition are just some of them. For ballpark purposes, however, $200 – $250 per square foot is reasonable if the home is in a more expensive real estate area.
Many ask how much of the remodeling costs might be returned if the house is sold after a few years. The answer depends on many details. Some projects return more than their price, but most recoup only a fraction of the costs. A Keller Williams The Trembley Group Realtor can advise as to the expected return for remodeling projects.
The Bottom Line
A homeowner considering an addition should research the existing-home marketplace with a Keller Williams The Trembley Group Real Estate Professional before hiring an architect to map out the plans. They are experts in every phase of home marketing and home remodeling. Building an addition onto an existing home is one way to expand living quarters, customize a home, and remain in the same neighborhood.
At Keller Williams The Trembley Group, we pride ourselves on being the experts at more than just selling real estate. We are local residents, some of us have been here for a lifetime. The rest of us will be here until the end of time. We love living, working, and playing in the diverse backyard of Coastal Carolina, and look forward to helping you live and love your dreams soon too. Please reach out to us by phone or email for personalized service and one-on-one advice.