The Pluses and Minuses of Home Additions

If you have expansion plans, consider all the variables first.

Have you outgrown your home? If you crave more space but can’t afford to move—or love your neighborhood too much to leave—consider putting on an addition. Carefully think through these points before anyone puts hammer to nail.


The cost.
In most cases, it’s less expensive to build an addition than it is to buy a bigger home. If you do a cost comparison, be sure to factor in the cost of moving, including closing costs and moving expenses. Also consider whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market in your area.

The value. If you do it right, the money you put into an addition can boost the selling price of your home. Expanding the kitchen or bathroom can really pay off, as can adding a bedroom suite or garage. A two-story addition is another smart option.

The choice.
Expanding your home gives you a chance for a makeover. You can do more than just add on—you can renovate too. This means you can tweak a home you already like into one you love. It would take an awful lot of house hunting to find a new home that suits you as perfectly.

The chaos.
If you plan to live in your house during a major renovation, be prepared. There’s no getting around it: Your life will be disrupted. Workers will be there at odd hours, and the dust and noise will be unavoidable. Unless you have the luxury of leaving town while someone else supervises the project, you’ll just have to make the best of it.

The surprises. If you’ve ever done any kind of home-remodeling project, you know the drill. Unexpected expenses are almost inevitable. Your best bet? Plan for a bigger budget than you and your contractor think you need. Getting the job done for less will be a bonus. Also stay in constant contact with your contractor, and ask for an ongoing tally of costs—and a heads-up before any agreed-on budgets are blown.

The tradeoffs.
You’ll lose some lawn space and gain more household real estate to clean and maintain. But if you plan wisely, it could all add up to living in your dream house without having to budge.

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