New Room Additions
What do you do with a property that has an ideal location and good bones — but not quite enough space? If built properly, new room additions can bring additional value to a home, and make the property easier to market to the right people.
Of course, adding a new room is basically building a mini-house, and you’ll find there is a great deal that goes into the process. This includes hiring the right contractors for the electrical, heating and cooling, and making sure the proper permits are in order.
Before you sell yourself on the idea of adding a room to your property, here are some things to keep in mind.
Will the Addition Really Make You Money?
Before contacting contractors and checking with the city about permits, you need to ask yourself, “Will an addition really make me money in this situation?” A room addition is not always the right choice, as you may risk over-improving for the area. In general, it’s not a good idea to have the largest home in the neighborhood, as the nearby homes will drag down the resale value.
Three- and four-bedroom homes with at least two bathrooms are also the most popular among homebuyers. If the home only has one or two bedrooms, adding a room is probably a smart investment to appeal to a wider range of buyers.
Preparing the Design
For the home addition, you’ll need a contractor who is able to prepare rough sketches, technical diagrams and give you an accurate and fair price quote. It may also be worthwhile to consult with an architect, though, who will work with your contractor to design the addition.
While planning the new room addition, be sure to research any legal restrictions. Many cities have setback requirements, for example, which state how close a structure may be to property lines, along with height restrictions and design covenants.
Getting Permits in Order
Many homeowners do home remodels without permits, but it’s not a risk you can take as a flipper. If you begin work without a permit, the city may have the right to shut you down, effectively halting your entire rehab process while you eat the costs. In the case of an addition, the square footage will not even be included by a home appraiser if the work was done without a permit.
Unfortunately, permits can be a cause of great stress. The costs can eat into your budget, slow down completion of the project and may force you to deal with conflicting requirements from different inspectors.
The local building inspector’s office will need to see the contractor’s finalized plan before issuing you a permit. A permit will also be required for plumbing and electrical work in the new addition, plus a permit for the general construction. Because many permits are based on the cost of the project, be prepared to submit cost estimates along with drawings of the addition. This process may take up to two weeks, so it’s best done early to avoid unnecessary delays.
Additions are one of the most cost-effective ways to add value to a property — but only if they’re done right. Consider whether adding a room is really necessary for the property, and make sure you do it legally and properly to keep your project on track.