Building House Extensions
A House Extension Provides a Number of
Advantages over Buying a Larger Home
By: Mark J. Donovan
If you need more finished living
space, a great alternative to selling your existing home and buying a larger one
is building a house extension. Building a house extension, or room addition, can
often be a more cost effective solution for gaining additional living space.
Unlike selling your existing home and buying a larger one there are no real
estate sales commission fees, taxes, moving expenses and utility hookup fees to
have to deal with when building a house extension. A room addition also prevents
the family from having to uproot itself from its local neighborhood and schools.
This reason alone is one of the chief
reasons that homeowners decide to forgo moving and undergo the effort of
building a house extension. Common house extensions include master bedrooms,
family rooms, bump-out kitchens, sunrooms and conservatories.
Building a room addition, however, should not be considered lightly. It is a
major construction project that is both expensive and disruptive to the family.
On a cost per square foot basis building a room addition is more expensive than
building a new home. The reason for this is that building a home extension
requires some demolition work to the existing home so that house addition can be
seamlessly tied into it.
A house addition also requires a
great deal of upfront planning and careful management during the
construction. So if you think you want to go down the route of building a
home extension start by writing down what kind of space you want to achieve
in the extension and figure out your target budget. For example, are you
looking to create a large master bedroom for yourself, or are you looking to
expand your kitchen and maybe include a new family room. Ultimately the
objectives of the new living space will dictate the materials required in
its construction and the cost of the project.
Depending upon the features and size
of the house extension you may need to consider moving your family out of the
home for a period of time. This is particularly true if you and your family have
a low threshold for the disruptions and mess that comes hand-in-hand with
building a house extension.
Once you’ve scoped out the objectives of the house extension you can then
begin to work out the specific plans for it.
You may want to check with your local
building inspector before developing your house extension plans, as they may be
able to give you useful upfront advice and make you aware of any types of
setbacks or easement restrictions on your property. You may also want to hire an
architect to draw up the house extension plans. Alternatively, you can buy a
house design software package and create your own set of blueprints for the
house extension. One benefit of using an architect is that they can point you in
the direction of quality general contractors. Architects can also be used in the
capacity as an oversight manager too. They can confirm that the general
contractor is really building the house extension to the blueprints, as well as
to the various national and local building codes.
|After you have generated a set of blueprints you can engage
with potential general contractors to bid on the project. Hiring the right
general contractor, or subcontractors if you plan to be your own general
contractor, is critical for ensuring a successful outcome of your house
extension. So make sure to check several references with each contractor you
are considering to hire. Also, make sure your house extension blueprints not
only include dimensional information, but also list your required materials.
This way you can be more likely to
receive contractor quotes that are consistent with one another, at least in
terms of scope and materials used.
When building a house extension you also need to consider how to finance it,
unless you plan to pay cash for it. If financing is required you can either
get a home equity loan or remortgage your entire home with additional funds
approved for the house extension construction.
Though there is a great deal of planning and work required in building a
house extension, and costs per square foot basis are high, the total cost of a
house extension typically pales in comparison to selling and buying a new home.
Thus, why so many homeowners often choose the house addition route over buying a
For more help in obtaining accurate and consistent house addition contractor
quotes, see my “Room
Addition Bid Sheet”. The “Room Addition Bid Sheet” includes a
request for quote section that you can provide directly to prospective general
contractors. It also includes a comprehensive cost breakdown spreadsheet in
Microsoft Excel format that you can edit to track projected costs versus actual
costs for every phase of the project. Lastly, it includes a section that
provides further insight into the project and how to interpret the expected
questionnaire responses from the contractors.
Photo by Mark Donovan
So if you are serious about a house extension start by visiting your local
building inspector to see what key items you need to consider in your plans and
construction. Then develop a detailed set of plans and bill of materials before
engaging with prospective contractors. Finally, select a general contractor that
you feel comfortable working with and that you’ve done your due diligence on in
terms of references checks. Make sure to do reference checks with previous
clients, the state, and the Better Business Bureau. By following this process,
and with a little luck, your house extension building project should go
relatively smoothly and you’ll achieve the new finished living space that you
For more help on building a house extension, see HomeAdditionPlus.com's
Addition Bid Sheets.
Addition Bid Sheets
provide you with the knowledge and information on how to plan a home addition project,
and what to look for when hiring contractors. They
also include detailed cost breakdown tables and spreadsheets for estimating
your own new home addition building costs.
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Additional Home Extension and Room Addition Resources from Amazon.com
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