It May Not Be a Good Investment
Know that when you make major changes to a house, you are changing the property’s value. A good rule of thumb is to keep improvements consistent with other homes in your neighborhood. An upscale bath with a walk-in shower won’t net you a good return if you’re the only one in your neighborhood who has one.
Remember that if the improvements do raise your home’s value, you’ll be subject to higher taxes. In other words, your initial investment isn’t the only thing you’ll be paying out. Heating and cooling costs can also rise considerably, depending on the size of your addition and the materials used.
Count the Cost
In addition to the above mentioned concerns, you’ll need to budget for the actual work itself. How much can you do yourself, and where will you need to hire experts? Generally speaking, additions cost anywhere from $100 per foot at the low end to $200 per foot or more at the high end.
It also takes time to accomplish the work that needs to be done. Will your home be usable while you’re waiting for the contractor to finish? How will weather or material delays figure in? If you need professionals, will they work on a flat bid basis or will they be paid hourly? Get answers to these questions during the planning stage itself.
Form and Function Should Be Complimentary
There’s nothing like an ugly add-on to detract from the beauty of your home. At the very least, invest in a design software before beginning your project. Consulting an architect or designer is recommended.
Keep additions proportionate to the original building, using the same details, colors, and materials to promote continuity. Also, look at the historical use of additions in homes similar to yours. This will help you decide the best place for your remodel. For instance, a covered passage from the house to the barn may be appropriate in chilly New England, but it would look completely incongruous in sunny California.
Stay in the Zone
Be sure to check local ordinances before beginning your project. Zoning restrictions can limit a number of things, including property margins that dictate how much space must be left vacant between the building and the edge of your land. Other considerations are nearby wetlands or wildlife habitats, and the amount of impermeable materials used in the entire structure.
Adding on to your home can be a great way to increase the value of your property, gain extra space, or provide an accessible area to a disabled loved one. Do your homework before the first spade of earth is turned. Planning in the early stages avoids costly surprises and ensures your work will remain true to the aesthetic of your home.