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Home Additions: What to Expect When Adding On to Your Home

Have you outgrown your home and are ready to add on? Home additions are among the most requested projects that we see and are one of the biggest investments you can make. It adds both financial and aesthetic value, not to mention extra space for you and your family. But before you dive into a home addition project, there are many things to consider.

From finalizing the budget and coming up with a plan, all the way through design and construction, there are various questions that come along when expanding your living space. In this blog post, we'll take a look at some of the key aspects of tackling a successful home addition project. Read on to learn about what kind of challenges you may encounter when going through this process and get a better understanding of how it should be managed from start to finish!

an image of a home addition with the text what to expect when building a home addition

Identify Your Current Home’s Limitations

Every home has its own set of limitations, and identifying them can be crucial for an enjoyable living experience. Whether it be the lack of storage space, outdated appliances, or an inconvenient layout, recognizing the limitations of your current home can help you plan for necessary improvements or make a well-informed decision about future living arrangements. Maybe you find yourself constantly tripping over clutter or struggling to find a space to relax after a long day of work. Perhaps your home's outdated electrical or HVAC system is causing higher utility bills each month. Whatever the limitations may be, taking the time to assess and acknowledge them will ultimately lead to a more comfortable and stress-free living situation.

Determine Your Budget and Expectations

Whether you’re planning to add space for bedrooms or expand the kitchen, setting a clear budget and expectations is critical to staying on track and achieving your goals. Rather than diving headfirst into a project without any idea of what it might cost, take the time to carefully crunch the numbers and establish a realistic budget. This will not only help you manage costs as you move through the planning process, but it will also ensure that you don’t wind up overspending on things that aren’t necessary or skimping on important details.

For example, adding 400 sq. ft. for bedrooms where there is no plumbing required is not going to cost the same as 400 sq. ft. for a kitchen and bathroom addition that requires both plumbing and electrical work; both of which are costly. The cost of materials and labor can vary significantly from state to state or even city to city. By being mindful of your budget and expectations from the beginning, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions and ultimately enjoy a successful outcome. We also recommend adding 5-10% more to your budget for unexpected expenses that may pop up.

Research Different Contractors & Materials

When planning a construction project, one of the most crucial choices you'll need to make is selecting the right contractors and materials. With so many options available, it's important to do your research to ensure you choose the best team for the job. One approach to consider is the design-build model, like ours, which involves working with a single team throughout the entire design and construction process. This can help streamline the project and reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings or errors. Every design-build firm handles projects differently; typically requiring you to commit to them for both the design and construction right off the bat. We do things a little differently and ask you to first hire us for the design phase alone and once we deliver the construction plans we will supply you with a competitively priced quote for us to complete construction based on the plans we designed. You are welcome to shop around the construction plans we deliver and are under no obligation to use our construction services, though we hope you will!

graphic of the copia real estate design and build process

No matter which option you choose, as a best practice, ask for references and check for valid licenses before hiring the contractor. Your home is too big an investment to leave in the hands of just anyone with a hammer. Ultimately, when you take the time to research different contractors and materials, you can feel more confident in the outcome of your construction project.

Understand the Local Building Codes & Permits

A reputable contractor will have a full understanding and experience in local building codes and permits. These regulations ensure that buildings are constructed safely, not only for the people using them but also for the environment surrounding them. It's crucial that your contractor obtain all necessary permits to ensure that your project is compliant with local regulations. Failure to comply can result in costly fines or even legal issues down the road. With that said, we recommend that you become familiar with local building requirements and be sure your contractor is taking the proper steps needed to get your build underway to ensure a successful and stress-free construction project that meets all legal requirements.

Decide on a Layout

Before anything can be built, you will need an architectural design and construction documents. Creating the perfect layout for a project can make all the difference in achieving a successful end result.

When hiring a professional to create the design for your project, you have two options; hire an architect and then a contractor separately, or hire a design-build firm (like us!) to design and construct your project. You can check out our blog post on what a design-build firm is if you would like to read more about this option.

With either option, your design will be created to solve the pain points you identified while identifying your home’s limitations as we talked about earlier in this article. During the design process, the designer will also identify your home’s aesthetic and give you options on how to maintain that style throughout the addition, or if you desire to change it, how to do so tastefully.

Plan for Construction Disruptions & Expenses

Building may seem like a straightforward process, but unexpected disruptions and expenses can crop up at any time. By anticipating and preparing for potential roadblocks, construction projects can stay on track and avoid ballooning costs. Home additions come in many shapes and sizes but they will all create some disruptions to your life. Depending on the type of addition, a bit of demolition may be required before the building begins. For example, if you are adding a second story the roof will need to be removed and a stairwell added to the existing structure.

Demolition can be a messy and dangerous process, so take care and be sure to clear out any items you don’t want to be damaged during construction. While many contractors will do an excellent job to minimize dust and debris, you should expect a bit of messiness. Keep in mind that construction can get noisy too!

Other disruptions could be inclement weather, material shortages, or unforeseen building code changes; and these can slow a home addition project down. Planning ahead for these scenarios may take some extra effort, but in the end, it can save both time and money.

With these tips in hand, you’re now well-informed and ready to make the remodeling decisions that fit your lifestyle. Keep your budget and practicality in mind, and don’t forget to enjoy the entire process. Remodeling or adding on to a home may seem daunting, but it can be an immensely rewarding experience if done right. Plus, all of those extra amenities will definitely come in handy as you enjoy the newfound coziness and convenience of your newly-remodeled space! And the best part? You get to make it all just how you envisioned it — always remember to think before making essential decisions for the remodeling project. With that, we wish you luck with achieving your dream home!


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