If you are planning to add more rooms to your home, there are a range of ideas and plans. By following some simple steps, one can not only reduce the overall cost, but it will prove wildly successful in increasing the value of your home. In most areas, adding square footage can significantly increase a home’s value if done correctly.
Many are not familiar with the different methods of construction, permitting process or even where to start. For most, adding on to their home is a daunting task, and should begin with professional advice. Like every project, clearly outlining objectives and goals is the surest way to achieve success.
One should ask themselves, “What do I want to achieve with this addition.” Maybe your family is growing, maybe you’ll be working from home and need an office, or perhaps a dependant relative may be moving in. Some may just want to add square footage to increase their homes value. Whichever scenario best fits you, it is important to do an analysis on the property to estimate the return you may have on your investment.
Once you know the scope of your investment, you must next plan your addition. Many will choose an architect to draft the additions, others will scratch out their ideas on paper themselves. I prefer using an architect as they have the experience to properly estimate materials used, proper engineering, and will ultimately result in more streamlined addition.
Arguably, one can hire the architect prior to measuring their potential return on investment, but I prefer to know my options prior to engaging an architect to avoid costly revisions. Knowing whether your return is maximized with the addition of one bedroom or three is best known before you have the plans drafted.
With the plans in hand you should begin interviewing professionals. Check with your local government on licensing and bonding requirements in your area. It’s imperative to have a licensed, bonded and insured contractors on your job site. Without proper documentation and insurance, a simple fall on your property could result in costly lawsuits that the home owner may be liable for.
Get references from all your contractors and call them. Ask them about the scope of the project they hired, the cleanliness of the job site, and the quality of the workmanship. You cannot be too careful. Your local Better Business Bureau may be of assistance too.
Lastly, do not be afraid to negotiate. There’s almost always room. Compare the bids carefully, I’ve found that the contractor who spends the most time measuring and developing an accurate estimate is usually right for the job. Be leery of contractors who walk into a room and shout out a price without unclasping his or her tape measure from their belt.
Once you’ve selected a contractor, get the deal in writing. I cannot stress this enough. Clearly outline payment milestones and insist on lien releases from suppliers prior to making any payment. In some states a supplier can lien the “project house” if the contractor fails to pay them for materials. It’s imperative to hold your contractor accountable.
If taken seriously the remodel and addition process can be highly rewarding and very enjoyable. Working methodically through the process is the sure-fire way to guarantee your success. Once finished you can enjoy your new addition knowing you made the right decisions and protected your most valuable investment: your home.