Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

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davebo
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Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by davebo » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:48 pm

I purchased my 3 bed/3 bath ranch for $500K in 2011. The house has 2350 SF and a full finished basement with bar, office, workout room, and full bathroom. Location is great, we can walk to the schools that my kids go to, large lots, wooded, and it's unincorporated so we pay very low property taxes.

The one thing that we would change is a true master suite. We have 3 kids and have 3 bedrooms and all the bedrooms are small (including our master). My wife really hates that our master bathroom is so small. It's basically the size of a large powder room but they've squeezed in a pedestal sink and a small shower stall. Also, we have very little closet space in the room.

I've tossed around the idea of an addition for a long time and we are currently considering adding a master bedroom on the back of the house. Since our current master bedroom is also on the back of the house, we would probably be able to make that a bit smaller to create room for a small hallway (to new master) and to expand master bathroom within the existing house. The plumbing would be there already so it would be the equivalent of a remodeled bathroom with a new master bedroom on the back of the house.

I had really put this off for several years because I just wanted to live with it and, realistically, might put it off for a couple more years when it comes down to it. I'm a little worried about the whole "Well, while we have the walls opened up..." line from contractors and don't want to regret something like this.

1) How much would something like this cost as an estimate? I'm guessing the room itself might be 300 SF and include the walk-in closet. As I said, we would use SF within the existing part of the house for the bathroom.

2) Should I do it? We have kids ages 7, 5, 5 (twins) and have roughly $70K saved for them in college savings. My wife has 15 years in a state pension and we have roughly $400K saved for retirement. Our liquid savings is roughly $150K and our mortgage is roughly 11% of our gross monthly income. A comparable 4 bedroom/3 bath house down the street sold for roughly $645K. Currently, the only thing on the market that is comparable to what we are looking for is listed at $609K. It's ok, but the finishes are not as nice as ours and the basement is smaller because it's a 2 story (as opposed to ranch).

Thoughts? Not sure if it's worth the headache or not.

denovo
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by denovo » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:10 pm

davebo wrote:
2) Should I do it? ...... It's ok, but the finishes are not as nice as ours and the basement is smaller because it's a 2 story (as opposed to ranch).

Thoughts? Not sure if it's worth the headache or not.

Real estate is all about location, location, location. A lot of people think their finishes or patio decks or w/e add a lot of value to their home relative to their neighbors. They don't. Don't kid yourself. Think of your remodeling and home addition as a consumption item no different from going on a vacation, buying a car, or purchasing a home theater system. It's not going to add a huge amount of value (if any) to your property. Like with other consumption purchase, do it if you can afford it and it will make you happy.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

Dulocracy
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by Dulocracy » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:19 pm

davebo wrote:
1) How much would something like this cost as an estimate? I'm guessing the room itself might be 300 SF and include the walk-in closet. As I said, we would use SF within the existing part of the house for the bathroom.

That depends. What is the cost of labor in your area? What are building code requirements? Are builders busy or hungry? You really need to get several quotes for the work. Do not go with the cheapest. Go with the one that you have confidence will do a good job that does not cost an arm and a leg.

2) Should I do it? We have kids ages 7, 5, 5 (twins) and have roughly $70K saved for them in college savings. My wife has 15 years in a state pension and we have roughly $400K saved for retirement. Our liquid savings is roughly $150K and our mortgage is roughly 11% of our gross monthly income. A comparable 4 bedroom/3 bath house down the street sold for roughly $645K. There is no way to truly tell this. Will you still be able to contribute 15-20% of your household income to retirement after this addition? If you did not add on, would you buy a new place? Would it be cheaper overall to sell and buy or to build on? (Likely build on, but it is worth checking.) If you can still contribute 15-20% of income to retirement, as well as make the new payments, you should be able to afford it. That is the real test. Would it bother you if you could not contribute as much to the kids' education? That is likely inevitable, guessing from the picture you have given. If that is ok, then go for it.

Currently, the only thing on the market that is comparable to what we are looking for is listed at $609K. It's ok, but the finishes are not as nice as ours

That is really irrelevant in home sales. You are not going to see a great leap in price because your finishes are nicer. By the time you sell, you will have dings and your finish will not be as nice as the new house down the block. It really does not have a large impact on overall price, though. Trust me, I see a LOT of home sales, and I see a LOT of emotional reasons that houses should be valued more than they are worth.

Thoughts? Not sure if it's worth the headache or not.

Be sure to get a credible builder. Angie's List is cheap and can give you some great reviews. We used it when we had work done on the house, and we were very happy with the company with high reviews we hired from there. For something major like this, it is worth the investment in research.
I'm not a financial professional. Post is info only & not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship exists with reader. Scrutinize my ideas as if you spoke with a guy at a bar. I may be wrong.

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by joebh » Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:28 pm

davebo wrote:1) How much would something like this cost as an estimate? I'm guessing the room itself might be 300 SF and include the walk-in closet. As I said, we would use SF within the existing part of the house for the bathroom.
It will cost somewhere between a lot, and oh-my-god-what-did-we-get-ourselves-into...
This is very context-specific (location, local market, materials, etc). Contact a few local contractors and get estimates.
2) Should I do it? We have kids ages 7, 5, 5 (twins) and have roughly $70K saved for them in college savings. My wife has 15 years in a state pension and we have roughly $400K saved for retirement. Our liquid savings is roughly $150K and our mortgage is roughly 11% of our gross monthly income. A comparable 4 bedroom/3 bath house down the street sold for roughly $645K. Currently, the only thing on the market that is comparable to what we are looking for is listed at $609K. It's ok, but the finishes are not as nice as ours and the basement is smaller because it's a 2 story (as opposed to ranch).
That's something only you can decide. You have a lot of expenses in your future.
I put off all major remodeling expenses until my children were grown, college paid for, out of the house, and (at least for one) married.
Thoughts? Not sure if it's worth the headache or not.
It's your headache, so only you can decide if you can live with it, or if you really "need" a bigger bathroom and bedroom.

davebo
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by davebo » Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:35 pm

denovo wrote:
davebo wrote:
2) Should I do it? ...... It's ok, but the finishes are not as nice as ours and the basement is smaller because it's a 2 story (as opposed to ranch).

Thoughts? Not sure if it's worth the headache or not.

Real estate is all about location, location, location. A lot of people think their finishes or patio decks or w/e add a lot of value to their home relative to their neighbors. They don't. Don't kid yourself. Think of your remodeling and home addition as a consumption item no different from going on a vacation, buying a car, or purchasing a home theater system. It's not going to add a huge amount of value (if any) to your property. Like with other consumption purchase, do it if you can afford it and it will make you happy.
I don't agree that finishes don't matter. In my old neighborhood, I'd probably agree with you. We all bought from the same builder around the same time and the houses were basically the same and the price per square foot was very well established. In my new area, houses have wildly different prices per square foot.

The point was that if I were to buy that other house (which is listed for $100K for what I paid for mine) that I would still want to do work inside to improve the look. The other point was that the market (based on other sold properties) will support the total investment that we'll have in.

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greg24
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by greg24 » Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:38 pm

Should you? Only you can answer that question.

I wouldn't do it.

joebh
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by joebh » Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:39 pm

davebo wrote:The other point was that the market (based on other sold properties) will support the total investment that we'll have in.
Maybe.

You suspect the market will support it today. But you aren't selling your home today. Down the road, your additions may not return the additional monies you are putting in. Only time will tell.

But don't think of this as an investment with a financial payback. Think of it as a lifestyle upgrade, then decide if that is warranted.

Rupert
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by Rupert » Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:01 pm

I have been contemplating an almost identical project for a year or so (right down to the master bath being at the back of the house, wanting to remodel it and tack a new master bedroom and closet behind it). I discussed it with a general contractor friend and asked him for a very rough back-of-the-envelope estimate. He came back with 50-75K. Where the price falls within the range, he said, will depend on finishes and what they find when they open the walls (which is almost always a surprise whatever the age of your house but especially if your house is older). I've known this contractor guy for years and he may have quoted me a very fair price, but I'm not sure. I would get more quotes before going forward. I have one of the smallest houses in my neighborhood; so it could make sense financially for us in that the addition would bring my house in line, in terms of size and value, with more typical houses on my street. But I've still not been able to pull the trigger because of the disruption it will cause. It will be much more disruptive than you think.

pshonore
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by pshonore » Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:45 pm

Rupert wrote:I have been contemplating an almost identical project for a year or so (right down to the master bath being at the back of the house, wanting to remodel it and tack a new master bedroom and closet behind it). I discussed it with a general contractor friend and asked him for a very rough back-of-the-envelope estimate. He came back with 50-75K. Where the price falls within the range, he said, will depend on finishes and what they find when they open the walls (which is almost always a surprise whatever the age of your house but especially if your house is older). I've known this contractor guy for years and he may have quoted me a very fair price, but I'm not sure. I would get more quotes before going forward. I have one of the smallest houses in my neighborhood; so it could make sense financially for us in that the addition would bring my house in line, in terms of size and value, with more typical houses on my street. But I've still not been able to pull the trigger because of the disruption it will cause. It will be much more disruptive than you think.
I would guess $150 - $200 per sq foot. (I just did one). But you could spend 40K or more on the bath alone if you go overboard with high end tile, steam showers, glass surrounds, fancy fixtures, etc.

letsgobobby
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by letsgobobby » Tue Feb 02, 2016 5:07 pm

It is not purely a consumption item, adding square footage and a true master suite will definitely have some positive return in almost any market. Maybe 50% or more.

If you're going to live there a long while I would absolutely do it, especially if it makes your wife happy.

Cost, will vary widely but maybe $100-$150 per square foot plus the bathroom finishes, so that could be $50k-$70k depending on the quality of the finishes. This is in a normal cost of living area. If you are in New York, this won't be realistic.

We have toyed with doing the same thing in our house. I have talked with a number of contractors and designers and costs vary, but not that widely. If we had a perfect lot like you seem to have, we would definitely do it.

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dm200
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 02, 2016 5:13 pm

Of course, only you can decide. The kind of improvement you describe and the many other aspects of the house seem to me to be the kind of upgrade/improvement that often make a lot of sense, both lifestyle and financially. You could, apparently, use the additional small bedroom created from the existing Master bedroom. The fact that the "new" master bathroom would be, largely, an upgrade of the existing Master bathroom is an added plus.

At the same time, if you do choose the addition, you might consider refinancing to a larger mortgage - and that might give you more financial flexibility

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by Carefreeap » Tue Feb 02, 2016 5:20 pm

letsgobobby wrote:It is not purely a consumption item, adding square footage and a true master suite will definitely have some positive return in almost any market. Maybe 50% or more.

If you're going to live there a long while I would absolutely do it, especially if it makes your wife happy.

Cost, will vary widely but maybe $100-$150 per square foot plus the bathroom finishes, so that could be $50k-$70k depending on the quality of the finishes. This is in a normal cost of living area. If you are in New York, this won't be realistic.

We have toyed with doing the same thing in our house. I have talked with a number of contractors and designers and costs vary, but not that widely. If we had a perfect lot like you seem to have, we would definitely do it.
It depends.

I've seen terrible or very unique remodels that actually detract from a home's value.

davebo
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by davebo » Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:08 pm

Rupert wrote:I have been contemplating an almost identical project for a year or so (right down to the master bath being at the back of the house, wanting to remodel it and tack a new master bedroom and closet behind it). I discussed it with a general contractor friend and asked him for a very rough back-of-the-envelope estimate. He came back with 50-75K. Where the price falls within the range, he said, will depend on finishes and what they find when they open the walls (which is almost always a surprise whatever the age of your house but especially if your house is older). I've known this contractor guy for years and he may have quoted me a very fair price, but I'm not sure. I would get more quotes before going forward. I have one of the smallest houses in my neighborhood; so it could make sense financially for us in that the addition would bring my house in line, in terms of size and value, with more typical houses on my street. But I've still not been able to pull the trigger because of the disruption it will cause. It will be much more disruptive than you think.
Interesting. If you don't mind me asking, where in the country are you located?

I had a contractor come through and, after a lot of arm twisting, ballparked it for me at $70K. He seemed to think that going into our attic would be cheaper than the addition off the back. I found that hard to believe since they would have to basically cutoff my roof to create enough headroom in the attic and put stairs in. He made it sound like, since we have a basement, that the foundation wouldn't need additional support.

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by Carefreeap » Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:06 pm

davebo wrote:
Rupert wrote:I have been contemplating an almost identical project for a year or so (right down to the master bath being at the back of the house, wanting to remodel it and tack a new master bedroom and closet behind it). I discussed it with a general contractor friend and asked him for a very rough back-of-the-envelope estimate. He came back with 50-75K. Where the price falls within the range, he said, will depend on finishes and what they find when they open the walls (which is almost always a surprise whatever the age of your house but especially if your house is older). I've known this contractor guy for years and he may have quoted me a very fair price, but I'm not sure. I would get more quotes before going forward. I have one of the smallest houses in my neighborhood; so it could make sense financially for us in that the addition would bring my house in line, in terms of size and value, with more typical houses on my street. But I've still not been able to pull the trigger because of the disruption it will cause. It will be much more disruptive than you think.
Interesting. If you don't mind me asking, where in the country are you located?

I had a contractor come through and, after a lot of arm twisting, ballparked it for me at $70K. He seemed to think that going into our attic would be cheaper than the addition off the back. I found that hard to believe since they would have to basically cutoff my roof to create enough headroom in the attic and put stairs in. He made it sound like, since we have a basement, that the foundation wouldn't need additional support.
Well he wouldn't need to pour a foundation for a ground floor master and he might have to tear into the roof anyway to install a new gable. You might be buying a new roof while you're at it.

I wouldn't go up unless you would have no more yard. Ground floor MB give you an option of aging in place.

Finally, spend the money to get a good architect. It will make a world of difference in terms of how much better the project will look.

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by Mingus » Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:46 pm

Additions are always more expensive than new build.

Figure 150 to 200 dollars a square foot.

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:57 pm

I went through something similar and if I had to do it again, I would not. Are you planning on living in said home while construction is ongoing?, if yes be prepared for lots and lots of dust, noise and more dust and dirt. As noted above, a good architect is worth their weight in gold, you want to build to code - no cutting corners as some ahem, contractors may do. You want to have the permits on file with local muncipality. Take all of the estimates provided by multiple reputable contractors, add 20% for cost over-runs and be prepared for the term - "unforseen conditions", because the moment you open up walls and ceilings and floors you will be bound to find things that may have been code when built but is now not up to snuff and needs to be corrected or accounted for with the new add-on your adding. Things like the 6 2x4's that were holding up my bathroom floor above part of my kitchen, we had to bring it up to code, then we found some rotting floor joists, another $500 later, then we had to rejigger some of the plumbing, and some other things that weren't part of the original estimate. If you're planning on adding to your ground floor bedroom, you'll likely need to pour footings -don't take the word of the feller looking to bid on the building part because as the saying goes - "buyer beware", that feller is looking to land the job and you'd be surprised how much things can get out of control leaving you cash poor and with headaches. The part about not adding a foundation under the new floor is a red flag. An architect will tell you what is required, a contractor can read and follow plans to a T. Make your budget now, pick your finishes now, don't change your mind as construction is progressing unless it compromises safety because after unforseen conditions, the next dirty word in contracting work is the term "change orders" aka cha-Ching! :moneybag Still feel like taking a can-opener to the shell and innards of your comfortable home?
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:08 pm

Mingus wrote:Additions are always more expensive than new build.

Figure 150 to 200 dollars a square foot.
I agree with $200 on low end - price of materials have been increasing far above general inflation, skilled labor is costly while general laborers are not as costly, depending on business owner the profit margins can be 30%+ easily. The 70k quoted with the arm twisting seems low, coming through the attic is a bad idea, I like the ground floor better.
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by Watty » Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:41 pm

You may be adding square footage to the house but you will also be taking a big space out of your back yard so that could be an issue if you don't have a very large lot.

Your current furnace and A/C might not be large enough for the addition so that will likely add to the costs so be sure that is included in any quote.

You will likely have to move out of the house for at least part of the construction so be sure to budget for that.

I would talk to a local real estate agent to see what makes sense in your local market. Now is a pretty slow time in most areas and a lot more houses may come on the market in the spring. I would not build unless you were sure that there are no other houses that you could buy.

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by bombertodd » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:08 pm

I just went through major remodel. I'd do it again. We needed more space so we added a media room, office, laundry room, and bedroom. We used the existing attached garage then added a new one. About 800 sqft of living space and 600 sqft of garage. It ended up costing about $1,700 for architect, $4,000 in permits and fees, and $75,000 to build it. I hired out individual contractors for each part which saved a lot compared to using a general contractor (it wasn't too hard either and I'm handy). I also did some finishing touches such as painting and few other things. Some big costs that we encountered was the current heatpump system could cool the whole house but the addition was to far from the unit so they couldn't install another return. I had second system installed which cost some money. Also we were required to re-roof the entire roof because we were adding so much square foot. The new roof had to meet California Title 24 spec.


Also I'd disagree about the houses selling for the same amount per sqft. I bought my current house in recession for $51 a sqft and my neighbor bought theirs a months later for $110 a sqft.

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:18 pm

I went from a small cape cod with bedrooms in a finished attic to a full-up 2-story house. We added a sun-room and broke down one exterior wall to add to the dining area. Our square footage literally doubled. Would I do this again? Yes.

This was done through what's known as a "tear-off" - they tore off the roof and rebuilt the 2nd story. We lived on the first floor for a few months and slept in sleeping bags on the living room floor.

One of the best things we did while the walls were open was to run 2 sets of coax cable, phone and internet to every room in the house. We also replaced all the wiring to bring it up to code (this was an old house).

How did we start? With an architect. They really know what they're doing and will work with the construction guys on your behalf.

Financing was done with a construction loan. Upon completion, I refinanced to a fixed rate mortgage.

In the early 90's my cost was about $100 / ft^2, which might be a bit low in today's prices. Figure on $125 / ft^2, which is what my current homeowner's insurance is based on. I'm in PA.
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by bombertodd » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:36 pm

As LadyGeek mentioned I would never do it without an architect. Our architect was telling us that when an architect is involved there are special legal protections for the home owner. Basically whoever last touched it is responsible for any damages (such as a painter who painter who accidentally cuts an electrical wire).

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by patriciamgr2 » Wed Feb 03, 2016 12:22 am

Any chance of using the basement space to create a master retreat--is the bathroom down there large enough? If you're ok with being apart from the children (big issue, I know) & you have a walk out or at least a full ceiling height basement, doing some upgrades down there is likely to be cheaper. Just a thought. You won't get as much "credit" in sales price, but OTOH, it's likely to be much cheaper. If there's any way to use a private entrance to the basement, it can be more valuable on resale as a granny/nanny/roomie space.

I agree +1 zillion with the hassle of living through a remodeling on your ground floor. Dust goes everywhere; utilities get shut off; workers everywhere. Even with a minor remodel in the basement, there will be major disruptions. Who will be available to make all the decisions that need to be made if neither of you works from home, for example?

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by letsgobobby » Wed Feb 03, 2016 1:05 am

In our remodel, which sounds a lot like davebo's:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=174514&hilit=house

we were recently told that 90% of the addition will be completed without disrupting our current living space at all. This is because they will build the additional wing almost completely before knocking down the common walls/existing stuff that we are demoing, and only then will we be impacted. Some of this has to do with the specific way our addition is being done, and what we are keeping vs what we are building new. Point is, don't assume the impact will be huge and ongoing. There may be ways to minimize it.

[note I had a math error in the above thread. The new addition will be $150k-$175k, but adding about 1300 square feet, including an office, and a master bed + bath]

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by mouses » Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:04 am

No time to read all the replies, but what struck me from the original post is why have a new bedroom built when it is just the bath that's an annoyance? Yes, I would replace the bath, it sounds like a daily annoyance.

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by Frisco Kid » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:31 am

The cost of this proposed project is totally dependent on the area. I would look at this as a lifestyle enhancement as others have stated versus the financial gain potential. Here in the SF Bay area cost of adding square footage can be off the charts. If the rest of the house will work long term taking the term "happy wife, happy life" into consideration I would lean towards having the work done. +1 on hiring good architects and contractors as a good looking quality addition should be your goal!

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by patriciamgr2 » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:41 am

Letsgobobby: I gather you are in the planning stages of your remodel. It would be a service to the Forum if you & others planning remodels would undertake to update your posts after the reno is complete. Expectations vs. realities on all aspects including cost. Thanks in advance. There seems to be a growing number of questions on home improvement.

[I've lived in houses that were being reno'd but I had very low expectations going in (urban camping) & always built in large contingency budgets which were used about 60% of the time.]

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by Rupert » Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:13 am

davebo wrote:
Rupert wrote:I have been contemplating an almost identical project for a year or so (right down to the master bath being at the back of the house, wanting to remodel it and tack a new master bedroom and closet behind it). I discussed it with a general contractor friend and asked him for a very rough back-of-the-envelope estimate. He came back with 50-75K. Where the price falls within the range, he said, will depend on finishes and what they find when they open the walls (which is almost always a surprise whatever the age of your house but especially if your house is older). I've known this contractor guy for years and he may have quoted me a very fair price, but I'm not sure. I would get more quotes before going forward. I have one of the smallest houses in my neighborhood; so it could make sense financially for us in that the addition would bring my house in line, in terms of size and value, with more typical houses on my street. But I've still not been able to pull the trigger because of the disruption it will cause. It will be much more disruptive than you think.
Interesting. If you don't mind me asking, where in the country are you located?

I had a contractor come through and, after a lot of arm twisting, ballparked it for me at $70K. He seemed to think that going into our attic would be cheaper than the addition off the back. I found that hard to believe since they would have to basically cutoff my roof to create enough headroom in the attic and put stairs in. He made it sound like, since we have a basement, that the foundation wouldn't need additional support.
I'm in the Southeast, on the Gulf Coast.

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by smackboy1 » Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:19 am

davebo wrote:Thoughts? Not sure if it's worth the headache or not.
We are about halfway through a major renovation right now. About 50% of the house is under construction and all the mechanicals are being changed. If you've never been through construction before, it will be an eye opener and very different from probably anything else you ever purchase. Some thoughts:

- Whatever number estimates you get from professionals or research, it will almost definitely be more. More $, more time, more disruption, more problems, more dust, more noise etc.. It's just the nature of the business, so plan for it.
- Part of the problem is that until there are final construction plans, everybody (architect, GC, subs, suppliers) are just using guesstimates and rules of thumb. There is a huge incentive for initial estimates to be low because the pros know that if you get sticker shock early on, it's more likely you will either walk away or give the job to lower bidding competitor.
- Moving vs. remodeling. IMHO, when moving you're more likely to end up buying the house you hate the least, but you will likely get more house for less $. Renovation you will end up with the house you want, but will spend more $ that will likely not get recouped.
- Be realistic and factor in add ons and change orders early in the process. Will you need to move out into a rental? If the addition will get a new roof, does it make sense to replace the entire roof so it's all under a single warranty? Same with paint or flooring or landscaping. There is potential for the scope of the renovation to creep into other parts of the house.
- Don't forget about other things like window treatments and furniture that are not part of the construction.
- It's going to be stressful and there will be arguments. Especially when the budget get tight.

This helped us get into the ballpark

http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2016/
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

GeauxBR
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by GeauxBR » Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:24 am

We did a new master suite/addition last winter. We loved our house and were in a good location: Ageing parents in same subdivision, Primary, Middle, and High School all within 2 miles for our 2 kids. We converted our original master bath and half of our original bedroom to a big full sized laundry room, then added 500sq ft for a new master bedroom/closets/full bath. We also had to upgrade our A/C system: needed bigger, new unit anyway (i think ac alone was like 7k so that skewed the price some). Total was 70k and after being back home for a year we would absolutely do it again.

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lthenderson
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:25 am

I am currently in a ranch with the master off the back of the house and a tiny bathroom. We went through the same debate for quite awhile and finally decided that the main reason we wanted to do the addition was that the bathroom was small. Eventually we hit upon ways to make the bathroom feel bigger. We tore out the fiberglass shower stall and took out a little cubby hole closet and made a walk in tiled shower with glass doors. By doing that, when standing inside the shower it feels twice as wide though we probably only gained a foot of extra space. The clear shower doors give the appearance of depth when you walk into the bathroom and you don't get the claustrophobic feeling. Another thing we did was remove the wall mount medicine cabinet and put in a flush mount one. This too makes the bathroom feel much bigger. Finally, I ended up making a custom vanity with drawers notched to fit around the sink drain pipes so that we could get some storage back to replace the wall mount cubby closet we tore out. Because I was custom making it, I made it a bit narrower than standard and put a bowl sink that sits on top. This gives you a bit more breathing room. Now two years later, it was most definitely the way to go. We enjoy the bathroom and though it is physically the same size, it still feels much larger with our changes.

On the closet aspect, I went to easyclosets.com and designed the interior there to include shelf, drawers and multiple levels for hanging clothes. By making more efficient use of our reach in closets, they too can hold a lot more stuff. All in, both projects cost me maybe $4k but it was money well spent.

davebo
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by davebo » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:09 am

LadyGeek wrote:I went from a small cape cod with bedrooms in a finished attic to a full-up 2-story house. We added a sun-room and broke down one exterior wall to add to the dining area. Our square footage literally doubled. Would I do this again? Yes.

This was done through what's known as a "tear-off" - they tore off the roof and rebuilt the 2nd story. We lived on the first floor for a few months and slept in sleeping bags on the living room floor.

One of the best things we did while the walls were open was to run 2 sets of coax cable, phone and internet to every room in the house. We also replaced all the wiring to bring it up to code (this was an old house).

How did we start? With an architect. They really know what they're doing and will work with the construction guys on your behalf.

Financing was done with a construction loan. Upon completion, I refinanced to a fixed rate mortgage.

In the early 90's my cost was about $100 / ft^2, which might be a bit low in today's prices. Figure on $125 / ft^2, which is what my current homeowner's insurance is based on. I'm in PA.
The one contractor we spoke with said that we'd need to hire a structural engineer if we went UP plus an architect either way. It seems you need to shell out a fair chunk of change just to get a proper quote though. Is that the case? The contractor said that the architect can do a concept drawing and maybe you can get a more accurate bid, but he'd need plans to be more accurate.

davebo
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by davebo » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:11 am

mouses wrote:No time to read all the replies, but what struck me from the original post is why have a new bedroom built when it is just the bath that's an annoyance? Yes, I would replace the bath, it sounds like a daily annoyance.
The bath is a minor annoyance, but I know I can fix that if needed. The other thing is expanding the bath would leave even less closet space and there is already not enough. Plus the room itself is small and we really want 4 bedrooms vs. our current 3.

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by davebo » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:20 am

GeauxBR wrote:We did a new master suite/addition last winter. We loved our house and were in a good location: Ageing parents in same subdivision, Primary, Middle, and High School all within 2 miles for our 2 kids. We converted our original master bath and half of our original bedroom to a big full sized laundry room, then added 500sq ft for a new master bedroom/closets/full bath. We also had to upgrade our A/C system: needed bigger, new unit anyway (i think ac alone was like 7k so that skewed the price some). Total was 70k and after being back home for a year we would absolutely do it again.
That's the thing that bothers me a bit about doing this is that I know we'd end up replacing things earlier and before the end of their useful life. Our A/C and furnace is about 5 years old, but possibly would need to be upgraded by adding another room (although maybe not). I'm told I have another 10 years on my roof, but I'd probably end up replacing the whole roof if I went through a remodel.

It seems like a furnace and a/c unit should be able to handle an additional 300 SF, but what do I know. The prior homeowners added a family room about 10 years ago and it's heated/cooled separately from the rest of the house. The heating is radiant heating and it has it's own A/C unit. The A/C unit might be enough to cover the additional bedroom, but it would need to have a heat source.

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by Mingus » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:45 am

davebo wrote: The prior homeowners added a family room about 10 years ago and it's heated/cooled separately from the rest of the house.
There's already been one addition to the house? Absolutely hire an architect. Otherwise run the real risk of creating a dysfunctional, albeit larger, home.

davebo
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by davebo » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:50 am

lthenderson wrote:I am currently in a ranch with the master off the back of the house and a tiny bathroom. We went through the same debate for quite awhile and finally decided that the main reason we wanted to do the addition was that the bathroom was small. Eventually we hit upon ways to make the bathroom feel bigger. We tore out the fiberglass shower stall and took out a little cubby hole closet and made a walk in tiled shower with glass doors. By doing that, when standing inside the shower it feels twice as wide though we probably only gained a foot of extra space. The clear shower doors give the appearance of depth when you walk into the bathroom and you don't get the claustrophobic feeling. Another thing we did was remove the wall mount medicine cabinet and put in a flush mount one. This too makes the bathroom feel much bigger. Finally, I ended up making a custom vanity with drawers notched to fit around the sink drain pipes so that we could get some storage back to replace the wall mount cubby closet we tore out. Because I was custom making it, I made it a bit narrower than standard and put a bowl sink that sits on top. This gives you a bit more breathing room. Now two years later, it was most definitely the way to go. We enjoy the bathroom and though it is physically the same size, it still feels much larger with our changes.

On the closet aspect, I went to easyclosets.com and designed the interior there to include shelf, drawers and multiple levels for hanging clothes. By making more efficient use of our reach in closets, they too can hold a lot more stuff. All in, both projects cost me maybe $4k but it was money well spent.
I actually thought about working within the walls and still might go with that option. I had basically 4 options I was considering:

1) We have one reach-in closet in the master and kind of a half sized reach in closet that I use. Basically my closet takes up half the length of the room and the master bath takes up the other half. We thought about making the master bath the full length, putting some closet space inside the bath, and then just optimizing the closet space. That would at least give us a bit more to work with.

2) In addition to everything in one, to solve the problem of the 4th bedroom, we considered making the dining room a 4th bedroom. The only problem with that is that it will really change the look of the house since it is currently very open. We also do have a bedroom in the basement, but we use it as a workout room and my wife doesn't like the idea of having a kid sleep in the basement.

3) Live with it.

4) Move or possibly buy and tear-down. My parents bought a newly built house for roughly $140/SF or so and it's beautiful. This was in a new subdivision and much further out than where we are located. If we spent $150/SF to build a 2600 SF house, we'd be at around $390K plus likely $200K for a lot to build on. No clue how much difference there a tear-down and a ground-up construction.


.

GeauxBR
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by GeauxBR » Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:00 am

davebo wrote:
GeauxBR wrote:We did a new master suite/addition last winter. We loved our house and were in a good location: Ageing parents in same subdivision, Primary, Middle, and High School all within 2 miles for our 2 kids. We converted our original master bath and half of our original bedroom to a big full sized laundry room, then added 500sq ft for a new master bedroom/closets/full bath. We also had to upgrade our A/C system: needed bigger, new unit anyway (i think ac alone was like 7k so that skewed the price some). Total was 70k and after being back home for a year we would absolutely do it again.
That's the thing that bothers me a bit about doing this is that I know we'd end up replacing things earlier and before the end of their useful life. Our A/C and furnace is about 5 years old, but possibly would need to be upgraded by adding another room (although maybe not). I'm told I have another 10 years on my roof, but I'd probably end up replacing the whole roof if I went through a remodel.

It seems like a furnace and a/c unit should be able to handle an additional 300 SF, but what do I know. The prior homeowners added a family room about 10 years ago and it's heated/cooled separately from the rest of the house. The heating is radiant heating and it has it's own A/C unit. The A/C unit might be enough to cover the additional bedroom, but it would need to have a heat source.
Our roof was fairly new (hurricane Gustav) but the addition attaches and follows the original roofline and looks great, can hardly notice the difference in shingle color (same brand just a few years difference). Our ac system was 15yrs old so it was coming anyway.

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by pshonore » Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:23 am

You don't have to hire an architect although if you know nothing about the building process, it might be a good idea. Some folks have a good "sense of design" and some do not. I can tell you from experience, you will need a detailed plan and drawing of what you want to do. Otherwise no will be interested in giving you estimates and you probably won't get a building permit either. One suggestion is to go to your local technical high school and see if they might be interested in helping with that process.

When I did my addition, I drew up a rough sketch and then found like a local architect to bounce ideas off of and to draw up a simple professional looking floor plan and elevations. I think it cost me $500. But I had some very specific ideas, sold a lot new construction when I was doing real estate and have been a woodworker for almost 50 years so I had very good understanding of the entire process. I acted as the GC and did a significant amount of the work (all the easy stuff - insulation, painting, hardwood flooring, siding, interior finish carpentry, exterior trim, etc) and subbed out the tough stuff - foundation, framing, electrical and plumbing, sheetrock, etc). All those people were local and had good reputations for workmanship. The building inspector probably came out 5 or 6 times to check progress and signoff. He know most of the subs so that all went well.

As far as HVAC goes, our existing AC could not handle the additional load, so we went with a new mini-system (Mitusubishi Mr Slim) to handle AC in the addition. That was considerably cheaper the replacing our existing AC. Existing furnace was more than adequate for new zone of baseboard HWH.

There were no cost overruns, but a few change orders do add some cost. And don't forget to allow for some landscaping/ lawn repair. And be aware that adding a bedroom, may require a review of your septic system. (No problem with sewers)

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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by WaffleCone » Wed Feb 03, 2016 5:59 pm

We're in the early stages of doing a full-scale remodel. In fact, I have a $3000 architect bill due and we're barely done 50% of the plan.

A little advice:

1. Do not try to live through the renovation. It will be too disruptive with three kids and end up costing more since they're working around your lives. Factor in renting for 2-3 months.

2. 2350 square feet is a big ranch (60x40) if that doesn't include the basement. You can definitely remodel the interior to get a nice master bathroom, 4 bedrooms, and storage space without going out.

3. Consider the age of your house. Our architect strongly advised against updating one part of the house while leaving the rest with its original finishes. He works closely with investors who are "flipping" and said they rarely see value returned that way. The house looks unfinished and doesn't have the same emotional appeal to the buyer. I assume you'll be staying there for a while so this may not be an issue. However, it may affect your financing if you're close to 80% LTV of the estimated post-addition value.

4. Do not DIY anything. Do not DIY architect. Do not DIY GC. This is too big of a job for amateurs. You likely don't have a list of subs you can call and reschedule as needed, have no history with subs, know what's needed by code, permits, etc. There is a premium to be paid for a good GC or architect and there's a reason why. It CAN be done, yes. With a full-time job which I'm assuming you have, a wife, and 3 kids who want you in their life-- write the check to get a professional and don't be tying up loose ends for the next year.

4a. Be prepared, know your stuff. Just b/c you're not doing it doesn't mean you can't go to the architect with a few plans to have him offer advice and draw the final one. Know what choices you need to make, the material options, and rough cost, and make sure they are part of the bid. Make sure the bid is DETAILED. PRECISE. It should include the number of coats of paint, number and type light fixtures, kinds of switches if you want something other than a 99 cent toggle, etc etc etc... If you put your fingers on it or can see it, it needs to be precisely spelled out in the bid or you will get the minimum.

5. Budget $100,000. I think $70,000 will quickly turn into $85k by the time you get the finishes you want on an estimated $650k home. $85k plus 15% contingency gives you about $100k. That should include architect, GC, and a few months rent while the work is being done. If there is anything else you want done, get it done now. Make sure the flow and proportion of the house works with the new addition.

In our case, we weighed putting on a second story vs. finishing our basement. If we did a moderate quality second story we'd be left with a dated main story that didn't have the right proportion. It was either full gut and second story, costing an estimated $350k or take our existing footprint to the top of the market for about half ($175k). We will effectively have a two-story house with a walk out basement fully integrated as a floor, new finishes throughout, new kitchen, new appliances, small but highly functional master bath, etc. Moving is less hassle but fingers-crossed we'll be happier with the end product.

WaffleCone
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And your taxes may go up

Post by WaffleCone » Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:04 pm

Our neighbor added about 300 sqft for a master bath and mudroom and they now pay about $800/year more.

davebo
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by davebo » Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:55 pm

WaffleCone wrote:We're in the early stages of doing a full-scale remodel. In fact, I have a $3000 architect bill due and we're barely done 50% of the plan.

A little advice:

1. Do not try to live through the renovation. It will be too disruptive with three kids and end up costing more since they're working around your lives. Factor in renting for 2-3 months.

2. 2350 square feet is a big ranch (60x40) if that doesn't include the basement. You can definitely remodel the interior to get a nice master bathroom, 4 bedrooms, and storage space without going out.

3. Consider the age of your house. Our architect strongly advised against updating one part of the house while leaving the rest with its original finishes. He works closely with investors who are "flipping" and said they rarely see value returned that way. The house looks unfinished and doesn't have the same emotional appeal to the buyer. I assume you'll be staying there for a while so this may not be an issue. However, it may affect your financing if you're close to 80% LTV of the estimated post-addition value.

4. Do not DIY anything. Do not DIY architect. Do not DIY GC. This is too big of a job for amateurs. You likely don't have a list of subs you can call and reschedule as needed, have no history with subs, know what's needed by code, permits, etc. There is a premium to be paid for a good GC or architect and there's a reason why. It CAN be done, yes. With a full-time job which I'm assuming you have, a wife, and 3 kids who want you in their life-- write the check to get a professional and don't be tying up loose ends for the next year.

4a. Be prepared, know your stuff. Just b/c you're not doing it doesn't mean you can't go to the architect with a few plans to have him offer advice and draw the final one. Know what choices you need to make, the material options, and rough cost, and make sure they are part of the bid. Make sure the bid is DETAILED. PRECISE. It should include the number of coats of paint, number and type light fixtures, kinds of switches if you want something other than a 99 cent toggle, etc etc etc... If you put your fingers on it or can see it, it needs to be precisely spelled out in the bid or you will get the minimum.

5. Budget $100,000. I think $70,000 will quickly turn into $85k by the time you get the finishes you want on an estimated $650k home. $85k plus 15% contingency gives you about $100k. That should include architect, GC, and a few months rent while the work is being done. If there is anything else you want done, get it done now. Make sure the flow and proportion of the house works with the new addition.

In our case, we weighed putting on a second story vs. finishing our basement. If we did a moderate quality second story we'd be left with a dated main story that didn't have the right proportion. It was either full gut and second story, costing an estimated $350k or take our existing footprint to the top of the market for about half ($175k). We will effectively have a two-story house with a walk out basement fully integrated as a floor, new finishes throughout, new kitchen, new appliances, small but highly functional master bath, etc. Moving is less hassle but fingers-crossed we'll be happier with the end product.
Thanks for the insight. I was planning on going the architect and gc route either way. Our house is updated already and we would keep the master pretty much the same style.

As far as working within the walls, I had considered that but I just don't know how it could be done given the layout of the house. a prior homeowner had done a family room addition and, while I love it, I wished they would have just done a master bedroom over there. Now that I've lived with that space, it will be hard to give up.

maroon
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by maroon » Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:41 am

I'm bumping 'cause I'm also interested in the topic and others' experiences.

I have a small house (<1000 sq. ft) and am considering a room addition. I think it's going to be more practical for me to convert some garage space to living area. The house cost under $100K, so I'm really not interested in spending $70K+ on an addition.

letsgobobby
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:47 pm

Context matters a lot.

In some very high priced areas, tearing down is the norm and additions aren't really worth the hassle.

In our area, which is a very tight market but not very high priced, additions make a lot of sense. Tear downs are not cost effective because housing isn't that expensive, but there are few vacant lots and too much demand for too few homes for sale, so many homeowners are turning to additions to gain extra square footage.

We spent $185k on our home, put in about $10k of flooring, painting, windows, etc. and will almost double the square footage from something like 1300 sf to 2500 sf. It will cost $150k-$175k, that includes a reserve of 20% and includes some funds to remodel 2 existing bathrooms and scrape the popcorn ceilings in the old part of the house, plus put in a new front door, garage door, and some additional lighting and electrical work in the existing house. But note while things will be 'nice', they won't be extremely fancy, which wouldn't match the existing home or the neighborhood. We could obviously blow the budget if we wanted to. And then we will add another few tens of thousands of dollars to really make the landscaping front and back look nice. All in all we will have gone from a clean but dated 1300 sf 3/2 costing $195k to a thoroughly modern, updated, 2500 4/3 plus office with all new landscaping (deck, courtyard, trellis, patio, hot tub) for around $375k-$400k. It will still fit in the neighborhood and still be appropriately priced for the market. I would avoid doing anything that takes you way out of range for either neighborhood or market.

z0r
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by z0r » Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:31 pm

WaffleCone wrote:4. Do not DIY anything. Do not DIY architect. Do not DIY GC. This is too big of a job for amateurs. You likely don't have a list of subs you can call and reschedule as needed, have no history with subs, know what's needed by code, permits, etc. There is a premium to be paid for a good GC or architect and there's a reason why. It CAN be done, yes. With a full-time job which I'm assuming you have, a wife, and 3 kids who want you in their life-- write the check to get a professional and don't be tying up loose ends for the next year.
I've done DIY architect, GC, electrical, plumbing, framing. You need to have some background and be willing to spend time doing research. I'd say more than 1/3 of my project time (500sqft addition) was dedicated to research vs. swinging a hammer. Writing a check will buy back that 1/3 and ensure the result is at least decent.

If you're curious about DIY, electrical is probably the easiest (while oddly being the highest-stakes). Framing ranges from hard (remodel-related structural work, which I hired out) to easy (partition walls). Plumbing has lots of little code gotchas but all of them can fit in a small pamphlet, and you can use pex, so maybe it's medium. Knocking out some portion of those three can save you a ton of money, even if you still hire a GC - you would just be your own sub for the things you desired to take on. I saw this as "well, I'm already living here, after work I can just go out to the addition and run some wire". This actually worked great because it was like having a part-time job with flexible hours and a zero minute commute.

soupcxan
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by soupcxan » Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:44 pm

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Last edited by soupcxan on Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Mike83
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by Mike83 » Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:11 pm

Yes if:

Jobs are secure and predictable
You will stay until kids leave for school
You don't make an oddity of your existing (rational) floor plan or roof plane
The cost per SF resembles the cost per SF (under enclosed roof) of (non garage, non basement) space you can extrapolate from Zillow for the area.
You like to customize your environment and are picky about house related things.
Major big ticket systems are appropriate for their age and you will be prepared to replace at the right time

Alternatively:
Finish the basement and move oldest child down there when ready, or yourselves now

megla
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by megla » Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:31 pm

GeauxBR wrote:We did a new master suite/addition last winter. We loved our house and were in a good location: Ageing parents in same subdivision, Primary, Middle, and High School all within 2 miles for our 2 kids. We converted our original master bath and half of our original bedroom to a big full sized laundry room, then added 500sq ft for a new master bedroom/closets/full bath. We also had to upgrade our A/C system: needed bigger, new unit anyway (i think ac alone was like 7k so that skewed the price some). Total was 70k and after being back home for a year we would absolutely do it again.

Hi Geaux BR....Came across this post while researching a home addition. I'm new to this site but also live in the BR area, and was hoping I could message you on here to find out if you have any local recommendations and tips for this process in our area? Very nervous about starting out and making sure this is done correctly.

GeauxBR
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Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

Post by GeauxBR » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:29 pm

I'm new to this site but also live in the BR area, and was hoping I could message you on here to find out if you have any local recommendations and tips for this process in our area?
Absolutely

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