Building an Addition? Here’s What You Need to Know First

02 May
Home Additions

Any time you update your home and especially if you add an addition, its time to review your insurance coverage.

While your current house may have been your dream home back when you bought it, over the years, as your family grows it might not fit your needs as well. You may need more room, more bathrooms or probably both but instead of putting it on the market and shopping for new home, you may want to consider an addition.

As we move into spring and the building season roars to life it might be time to start planning a new addition to your home. We thought it might be helpful to look at few things you should consider before jumping into construction.

What Are You Trying to Accomplish

The first step is sitting down to discuss what you want the addition to accomplish and how your family intends to use it.

  • Main Floor: If you are hoping for more living space for the entire family you may want to consider expanding the main floor of your home. Adding a rec room, den, office or second family room will give your family room to stretch out.
  • Second Floor: Families that are expecting a new baby, taking in an older relative or giving existing children their own rooms may want to consider building a second level or expanding the second floor if you already have one.
  • Timeframe: In addition to how the new space will be utilized, homeowners also need to consider their time frame and if putting on an addition makes sense. If a homeowner is considering moving within 5 years it makes no sense to put up a $150,000 addition, as they will never get the money back. If your current home is your forever home or at least where you will be hanging your hat for the next 7-10 years, putting on an addition makes sense.

The Technical Issues

Once you have considered your timeframe and needs, it is time to move onto the more technical issues.

  • Zoning: There can be zoning issues with additions so it is prudent to check with your local zoning board or code enforcement officer before breaking ground on your new addition. You may want to have a talk with your neighbors as well, warning them of the changes that are coming as well as the noise from construction.
  • Permits: Determine what permits you will need to pull before construction can start. In most cases your general contractor will do this but it never hurts to verify they have all of the necessary permits.
  • Plumbing and HVAC: If you are on a septic system you should check the capacity of the system and make sure it can handle the addition. Even if you are on a city sewer system you will need to determine if your plumbing system needs to be updated. The HVAC system will also have to be reviewed to determine if it can properly heat and cool your house once the additional square footage is added.
  • General Contractor or DIY: While it is certainly possible to be your own general contractor, running the show and dealing with all of the subcontractors, it is not the best route unless you have been a professional builder in the past.

A general contractor will make sure all permits are pulled and inspections passed as well as deal with all subcontractors. A general contractor will also make sure that all subcontractors are licensed and insured. Finally, general contractors are aware of the permits that need to be pulled and often have relationships in the permitting office that can help speed up the process.

Planning Your Addition

The technical part is out of the way so now it is time to start thinking about the practical aspects of your addition.

  • Style: You don’t want your addition to look like it was simply tacked on to your current home. An addition should fit seamlessly with the current style of your home. Match the siding, windows, trim and shingles if possible. If these type of supplies are no longer available look for complementary colors and styles.

You may need to hire architect if your addition is significant to ensure that it is structurally sound and meets all local codes.

  • Hire a GC: This is the time to find a general contractor. Ask friends and family for recommendations, check with local building stores and search online. Be sure to check references and verify that they are licensed and insured. Look for contractors that are experienced with your type of project and have experience running large projects.
  • Costs: It is very easy to go over budget when putting up an addition. Set a budget that you can afford and stick to it. Remember to include some contingency money because there will absolutely be issues that come up.

Insurance Issues

Any time you update your home and especially if you add an addition, its time to review your insurance coverage. In most cases you will need to up your coverage levels, as the cost to rebuild your house will be increased.

You may also need to review your possessions coverage as your new addition will have furniture, electronics and plenty of other possessions that need protecting.

Shop and compare multiple home insurance rates and coverage options all from one place. We can help you upgrade your policy to help cover the additions you plan to complete.

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