Every year thousands of homeowners decide to increase living space or functionality by building an addition to their home. If you are considering a new home addition, check out the 10 tips below that will help prepare you, the homeowner, for this project.
Gather Legal Documents
First and foremost you’ll need to procure the plot plan of your property which shows property lines and proximity of existing and any proposed buildings to those lines. You’ll need to ensure the new addition is built “within” jurisdictional setbacks defined by your local Zoning laws. If an addition is built too close to the property lines, it may have to be torn down. Plot plans and surveys can be found at your local Registry of Deeds.
Determine a Realistic Budget
Before meeting with a builder or architect it’s crucial to set a budget that you are comfortable with. A beautiful design isn’t worth it if means you have to stretch yourself thin financially. Develop a budget that includes the hard cost of the project, as well as a decent contingency number. Keep in mind the increases to property taxes, utility expenses and even insurance after the addition is complete. Be stress free and enjoy your new space when the project is complete by sticking to your budget.
What Do You Really Need?
Before you begin, make a list of the needs and functions the new space will provide. It’s important to determine exactly what you need, as well as, the finer things that you may want. It’s always good to include those “special” items you’ve been dreaming of if the budget ends up “fat”. If so, you may be able to add more of what is on your list.
Hire A Design Professional or a Design/Build Team
Face it….we think we can design our home, but the reality is that Architects design amazing living spaces that the average person can’t even imagine. A design professional also comes with an additional perk – they usually have a “vetted” list of builders that they can refer to you. Some companies are both designers and builders.
Talk To Your Neighbors
When planning an addition, be sure to talk with your neighbors about the pending project. It’s best to approach them early on and take note of any issues they might have especially if your neighbors are in close proximity.
Create A Short List of Builders
Find some local remodelers in your area by searching online. Check their websites to see some of their past projects to see if they are a good fit for you. You can also check with local building code officials and building supply companies. Ask friends and neighbors for any recommendations. Once you’ve done your homework, then get your list down to three builders who can give you detailed, written estimates.
Why Additions are NOT DIY Projects
The reality is that most folks should not attempt building an addition as much as you might want to try. Keep in mind that if a bank is financing the project they will most likely require that you hire a licensed general contractor. House additions typically require multiple trades (Think electric, plumbing, HVAC) and lots of coordination. General Contractors have ongoing relationships with multiple subcontractors and the ability to make things happen in a timely fashion.
Evaluate Utilities Before You Begin
Before the design process begins be sure to sit down with an electrician and HVAC Contractor to determine the capacity of your existing systems. It’s important to confirm that the existing systems can handle an additional load from the new space. This is critical information while planning your budget.
Check on Financing
Be sure your financial backing is in place before breaking ground. You’ll most likely be required to bring substantial equity to the table so you need to be sure your finances are squared away for the project.
Last but certainly not least – be realistic with your budget, your needs, and your expectations. Even small projects can take time and cause huge disruptions to your home and family. Be prepared for the worst – i.e. longer timelines and big messes. You’ll be less stressed when that new addition is complete.
Creativity makes all the difference in remodeling your home! Becraft Plus has completed many full home renovations over the years. Contractor experience makes all the difference.
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About Becraft Plus
Since 1989, Becraft Plus has provided customized design and construction services to customers in the Washington, D.C. area. We specialize in custom home building, additions and remodeling, and whole house renovations with a focus on creating living spaces that are tailored to the needs of our clients.
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