A home addition can be a fun project to take on for Gulch homeowners who need the extra space (and a change of pace). The promise of an extra bathroom, bedroom, or story can feel like a literal dream come true. But before taking on the work, there are a few things to consider before calling a contractor or taking a sledgehammer to the nearest wall.
Look Around the Home
Space in a home has a tendency to be underutilized, either because it is inconvenient or largely forgotten. Is there an old utility closet that would make the perfect third bathroom? Can the garage be converted into a playroom? Can the attic be insulated and then turned into a guest bedroom? Can extra space in the hallway or under the stairs be turned into a small home office? Being creative can be a great way to save money while still meeting residents' needs.
Ask the Tough Questions
Homeowners have to consider the problem they're attempting to solve before moving forward with the addition. It might be nice to have a second bathroom, but if traffic hasn't reached critical mass, it may not be necessary. If storage space is running out, consider donating or selling the overflow. In addition, are residents ready to make the sacrifices for a home addition? From the health hazards of dust from drywall to having to move out for several days, a home addition isn't always a practical possibility.
There are a few financial matters to consider for home additions:
- Credit and collateral: Loan interest rates for home additions aren't necessarily forgiving. Homeowners need to run the amortization formula to figure out exactly what they'll pay over the length of the loan.
- Help from above: The federal government issues 203k loans at more reasonable rates for homeowners who want to improve their property.
- Labor assets: Regardless of the type of loan, homeowners should specify if they plan to do any of the work themselves. If labor is listed as an asset, it can make it easier for homeowners to be approved for the loan.
Additions can interfere with anything from the pipes below to the utility poles above, which is why zoning laws need to be checked before moving forward. If homeowners live in an HOA, they may have to comply with even more restrictions on what can and can't be done to the property. Some loans may require certain work to be completed by a licensed professional. Skipping this step can make the property harder to sell in the future or result in fines being issued during the construction.
Get Ideas Together
Once homeowners have decided they need the addition, it's time to make some decisions about how it will look and function. Gaining ideas from the staging of open houses to decorating books and magazines, there are multiple ways to design and scale an addition. From the appliances to the configuration, consider how the extra space will fit with the flow and the aesthetic tone of the home.
Homeowners can improve both their quality of life and home resale value with a well-planned addition. The key is to first work with the amenities homeowners do have before looking any further. If an addition is the only solution, homeowners will first need to check off a few key boxes before they can finalize their plans.