Home Improvement Construction; a Homeowner's Guide to Building a Home Addition - Part I

Why a New Home Addition?

There are several good reasons for undertaking home improvement construction for a home addition. One of the two main reasons homeowners decide to build onto their home is to add more living space. The second is as a real estate investment. Adding onto a home is a good way to increase the property's home market value.

Other reasons for a home addition include increased storage space, improved indoor traffic flow, and enhanced aesthetic appeal

Home Addition Plan Considerations

When it comes to planning for a home addition building remodel project, there are two key factors to consider. Emotional factors as well as financial play important roles in the decision making process. The following offer examples of each:


  • Neighboring home market values - consult with a real estate professional about what additions or improvements will positively affect your home in regards to your particular neighborhood. Is the neighborhood desirable to buyers, or otherwise?
  • Investment - what will the home addition cost; will the addition yield a good cost vs. increased value ratio?
  • What financing will be necessary - a common home improvement loan or a home equity loan?


  • It is your first home; are you attached to it?
  • What is its proximity to place of employment, schools, and shopping.
  • Did you raised your family there; do you want to pass it to your children someday?
  • Have you developed bonds with neighbors?
  • Do you desire the addition for aesthetic purposes; to make the home more to your liking?
  • How much stress and disruption will you be willing to endure during the construction process?

Developing a Plan

Once you have carefully weighed these and other factors and the decision to proceed has been made, you should develop a home addition plan. Now is the time to develop your home addition idea; incorporating things from a wish list into the actual home addition floor plan.

Establish your overall project objective, addressing both wants and needs. The addition of more living space is commonly the main objective; however storage, traffic flow, improved access, aesthetic appeal, the addition of modern elements, and entertaining are other considerations.

According to most real estate professionals, kitchen and bathroom additions bring the most significant increase in market value. If your home addition idea includes plans to add garage space, consider a garage plan with added living space; such as second-story living quarters over the garage, or a rec room at one end of the structure.

Compile features, items, and materials you might want to incorporate; get ideas from home design magazines, product information brochures, television, or even from touring new or remodeled homes. Consider special features such as kitchen cabinetry, a fireplace, a media area, a laundry chute, or even an indoor waterfall.

Realistically determine which features are feasible and within budget, time, and space requirements. Prioritize and edit the list, and then pass it on to an architect or contractor for incorporation into your blue print floor plan.

Evaluate the Site

Closely evaluate the site where the construction will take place. Determine what landscaping features or existing outbuildings to keep or remove. Consider visual elements; sun exposure, shade, and air flow.

Note obstacles such as power lines, septic systems, and fuel tanks. Also consider ease of access; including driveways, sidewalks, or alleys. Be absolutely sure of property lines and easements. If doubts exist, have your property professionally surveyed and staked to avoid the possibility of legal issues later.

Check with your local building authority to ensure there are no building code restrictions as to what can be built on your property. Common restrictions include building height, setback regulations, (how close a structure can be in relation to property lines) design agreements, and historic district preservation ordinances.

If your project conflicts with any such regulations, you may want to apply for a variance (special permission to disregard an ordinance) to proceed with your addition. Or else make necessary revisions to your plans so that you are in full compliance with local codes and ordinances.

Formulate a Cost Estimate

To more closely define budget constraints, develop a home addition cost estimate for your project. Check with several contractors to get an average building cost per square foot. Communicate how elaborate your project will be; low-end budget, mid-range, or high end.

Typical home construction cost without plumbing or HVAC is $85 to $130 per square foot. High end projects will, of course, cost more. Once you have a ballpark price quote, it is prudent to allow another 15% to 20% for any delays or cost over-runs.

Helpful Tip: a pre-fabricated modular home addition can be purchased, transported to the site, and set into place in less time and for a substantially lower cost than on-site building by a contractor; making factory manufactured options increasingly popular.

Locating a Contractor

Whether built on site or purchased as a modular, most homeowners will require the services of a building contractor for the project. In the upcoming part 2 of Home Improvement Construction; a Homeowner's Guide to Building a Home Addition, contractor screening and construction issues will be discussed.

Meanwhile, if you have a Chicago home construction, a San Diego home addition, or any type remodeling project in the USA, can connect you with a reliable contractor in your area. Membership is fast, easy, and FREE!

Homeowners sign up without cost or obligation and post their home addition project online, where it is immediately visible to home addition contractor professionals in their community 24/7. Member contractors also receive instant e-mail notification of new project postings in their scope of expertise, and provide competitive bids in days, even hours from project posting.

Homeowners can view references, licensing/insurance/certification credentials, customer feedback, company profile pages, and photos of recent projects online. And then make an informed hiring decision, or hire no one at all. Remember, there is no obligation whatsoever.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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