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House Extensions

A House Extension Provides a Number of Key Advantages over Buying a Bigger Home

By: Mark J. Donovan

House extensions are an affordable alternative to selling and buying a larger home. Unlike selling and buying a new home, home extensions donít require real estate transactions costs, stamp taxes, moving costs, and new utility hook up costs. In addition, when financing is not required for the house extension, there are no mortgage closing costs to incur.

Common house extensions include family room additions, bedroom additions, sunrooms, and kitchen bump-outs.


Besides the cost savings, house extensions also enable families to not have to uproot and move into new towns or school districts. This often is the main reason why people choose a home addition over moving to a new home. They like where they live and they have their friends, but they simply need more living space.

When considering a house extension, however, it is important to realize it is a major home construction project. Besides a major expense, it requires significant planning and project management.

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Undertaking a project of this complexity on your own is not for the faint of heart or inflexible homeowner. A house extension will interrupt your familyís home life for 2 to 4 months, on average. Dirt, dust, interruptions, last minute decisions, and lack of privacy will be common issues that you will need to deal with, and accept, if you move forward with a home addition project. House extensions, in some cases, can even force the family to move out of the home for a couple of months when the extension work includes renovation of the existing home interior.


Successful house extensions always begin with a well thought out and documented set of plans. In addition, hiring the right general contractor, or subcontractors, if you plan to be your own general contractor, is absolutely imperative. Only through a formal home construction bidding process and through extensive background checks can you ensure that you hire the right contractor for your home extension project.


An architect can help in both of these issues. Besides developing a formal set of house extension plans, and architect can also help to find and hire a reputable general contractor. In addition, architects can also act as oversight project managers to make sure the house extension is built to both building codes and to specs.

House extension costs per square foot can vary widely, however they are typically higher than the cost of new home construction. This is due to the fact that retrofitting a house extension into an existing home requires additional labor, compared to green field new home construction.


This said, all of the other costs associated with selling and buying a larger home dwarf the cost per square foot premium associated with house extensions.


To help in obtaining accurate and consistent home extension contractor quotes, see my Room Addition Bid Sheet. The Room Addition Bid Sheet provides a request for quote section that you can provide to prospective building contractors. It also includes a comprehensive room addition cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the contractor to include his projected home extension costs for every phase of the project.

House extensions are typically much more cost effective than selling your home and building a new and larger one.

Photo by Mark Donovan

So if you are considering a house extension, visit an architect and your local building inspector to see what your options are for extending your home outwards, and possibly even upwards. Then move forward with a plan that includes developing blueprints, locating a general contractor and obtaining financing if necessary. Then get prepared for an exciting and occasionally bumpy ride for the next several months. In the end, and with a little luck, youíll be thrilled with your new finished living space and house extension.   


For more help on building a house extension, see HomeAdditionPlus.com's Home Addition Bid Sheets. Our Home 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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Free Home Extension Price Quotes with No Obligation!

Fill out our 3-5 minute quick and easy form, and receive a free price quote on a home extension from one of our prescreened and licensed home construction contractors. This process is free and there is no obligation to continue once you receive your home addition estimate.






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