Building a House Extension

Building a house extension is often an affordable alternative to selling your existing home and buying a larger one. Unlike selling and buying a new home, home extensions don’t require moving costs, real estate transactions costs, stamp taxes, and utility disconnect and hook up costs. In addition, when financing is not required for the house addition, no mortgage closing costs are incurred.

Common house additions 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 building a home addition over moving to a new house. Many homeowners like where they live, but they simply need more living space for their growing families.

When considering a home addition, however, it is important to realize it is a major home construction project. Besides a major expense, it requires significant planning and project management. 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 family’s 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 blueprints and 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 home addition 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 room addition 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.

So if you are considering a house addition, 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, you’ll be thrilled with your new finished living space and house extension.

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