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If you love the neighborhood but need some additional space, in many cases it’s more cost effective to build an addition rather than relocate. Adding an addition can greatly improve your quality of life, while breathing new life into your existing space. Whatever your reasons for wanting to add on, it’s important to ask yourself some simple questions before getting started. Here are a few things to ask yourself to ensure you’re making the right decision and a worthwhile investment:
What are my Long-and Short-Term Plans?
The desire for more space may seem absolutely necessary, but how the new space will be of benefit immediately—and a few years down the road—should be a strong consideration. If you plan to sell in the next couple years, are you sure the renovation will add value, or will some of your investment be lost? If you don’t plan to move, what do you think your life will look like? It’s impossible to predict with 100% certainty what will happen in the next few years, but think about how an addition will fit and improve your current requirements, and also think about how an addition will fit your future requirements. If you think you’ll outgrow the additional space in the next couple years, a move might be a more sensible plan.
What am I Trying to Accomplish?
Be clear about exactly what you want to achieve. A strong plan formulated in advance will increase your chances of a successful execution. Knowing what you want will also improve your working relationships with contractors and designers and serve to keep your plan on track. Will the new space be for the entire family? Do you need an additional bedroom? Do you need more storage space? Will the addition be multi-purpose? Clarity before you begin will increase your chances of a successful outcome.
What are the Things I Love—and Don’t Love—About my Current House?
If you love the neighborhood, for example, that could be reason enough to improve your current space, and to take steps to ensure it works for you and your family. If you have a long list of grievances about your home or neighborhood, maybe the need for more space could be the push you need to start looking at new homes. Reflecting on these questions will help you in your final decision.
How Much Do I Want to Spend?
This is what it all comes down to—what can I afford to spend, and what is it likely to cost? Home renovations can get expensive and it’s common to go over-budget. Be prepared for the financial implications of an addition. Having a maximum budget in advance is absolutely necessary. Working hard to come in under that budget is a worthwhile goal. Allow yourself some wiggle-room, so your “max” budget is several thousand dollars less than what you can afford to spend on the project. Understanding that the project may require unforeseen costs will better prepare you for any surprises, and keep those surprises from throwing the project completely off course.
I’d love any feedback you’d care to share. Is there anything I’ve missed? I’d also be happy to make some recommendations for local professionals if you need any help.