Additions & Major Home Renovations

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Additions & Major Home Renovation Considerations

Home additions are a major investment and have a huge impact on your home, its structural integrity, livability and resale value. As such, careful thought and planning should come before any additions are considered.

First off, you should contact your local building department to apply for a building permit. There are all sorts of restrictions and codes involved with home additions. There may be height limits, clearance required from your property line, usage restrictions and more. Before you get too involved in planning your renovation, make sure it's legally permitted.

An unpermitted project, if discovered during its construction, may be halted indefinitely and some work may even have to be undone to allow for inspections. If you plan to sell your home, unpermitted projects may not be included in any appraisal, which means a major waste of resources.

Adding a second floor is a serious endeavor, and should not be approached lightly. A second story can add a great amount of living space and increase the resale value of your home, but its building does come with some obstacles. Many single-story homes' foundations are incapable of supporting a second story, so the foundation may need to be reinforced or replaced. Valuable floor space in the existing home will be lost to staircases. And then there's the fact that you'll be without a roof for a period of time. Because of this, you'll need the work done as quickly as possible under the best weather conditions. You'll also want to consider if the new story will block sunlight that has previously reached your windows and landscaping.

First floor additions are usually the simpler option. If possible, try to add to the side or back of the home, as additions to the front will disrupt your home's fa´┐Żade and may have a tacked-on look. If you are going to make an addition, make it a significant one. Moving a wall a few feet will have many of the same costs built in as adding an entire room. With such a considerable investment, you may as well get some bang for your buck.

Renovations can be minor touch-ups or major construction projects. For example, you might simply replace drawer pulls and cabinet handles or add a fresh coat of paint to your kitchen, or you may want to go all out and redo the flooring, cabinets, appliances and everything else. If you do plan on doing a big renovation, no matter what the room, try to do it all at once. As with additions, you may need a building permit to commence work - always be sure to check. If you are renovating a kitchen or bathroom, plan accordingly. You may have space in your home to set up alternate cooking and bathing areas.

With either additions or renovations, set your budget early and decide on you materials in advance. Sit down with your contractor to discuss energy-efficient options. And try to be considerate and warn your neighbors in advance - waking up to an unexpected bulldozer can be an unpleasant surprise.