Second-Floor Addition: How do you know if it’s right for you?
When you bought the bungalow it was just the two of you. You had two bedrooms on the main floor, your bedroom and a home office, and the basement served as a recreation room and guest suite. Then you got pregnant, and a baby makes three! The baby moved into the office, the office moved into the guest suite, and guests camped out in the recreation room. Now you’re blessed with baby number two and your bungalow doesn’t seem to fit anymore. While moving can be an exciting journey, some things can make it less so, such as a real estate market with low inventory and exorbitant costs to buy something new that’s fully renovated or even similar to what you already have. And besides, you love your neighbourhood! You’re walking distance to the grocery store, restaurants, and you spend most of your free time with neighbours and friends on your street. And since you’re only looking to add a couple of bedrooms and maybe another bathroom, a second-floor addition makes the most sense. But, how do you know if it’s right for you?
Budget will likely have the biggest influence on whether or not a second-floor addition is right for you. Most people undervalue renovation projects or have no idea what construction work involves or costs. Having an initial conversation with a builder who is forthcoming and transparent about the process is an important first step. While most builders need detailed information about a project to accurately price it, they should be able to discuss the cost of your project in general terms so you can assess whether the project is a possibility. Projects such as second-floor additions typically start at $500K, but keep in mind, most of the house and property will be impacted by the project, so your budget needs to include these spaces as well.
Which brings us to our next point, in a project like this, most, if not all of the house will be affected by the build so it’s not practical to assume savings can be realized by keeping finishes on the main floor or basement. This is an important consideration because the design of a renovated home will have a direct impact on the construction process and ultimately, your budget. As the house increases in size, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical will need to be updated to accommodate the new layout and structure of the larger house. The age of the original home also factors into the equation because building codes change and the renovated house must conform to current standards. An often overlooked consideration, while we’re on the topic of support services for the home, is the foundation. It’s strength and ability to bear new loads should be assessed by an engineer and possibly re-enforced before any work commences to ensure it can withstand the additional weight of the new structure.
Knowing how you plan to use the home is also an important consideration, because it drives the entire design process from structure to finishes. What are you looking to achieve in the new space? If you’re looking to add two bedrooms and a bathroom while gaining some separation from the main floor, a second-floor addition makes a lot of sense. When making renovation decisions, it makes sense to design your space in a way that supports the way you and your family live. However, an exit strategy is always a wise consideration in case you decide to sell sooner than planned. While it’s nice to customize your home, maintaining traditional, structural space configurations will make the house more appealing to potential buyers in the future. Even if your finishes are eclectic or unusual, most buyers accept that a new kitchen or painting is part of buying a home.
This brings us to our final point, market value, will you get a return on the investment should you choose to sell? An easy way to assess if an addition makes sense is to see what your neighbours are doing. If many of the homeowners on your street have put on a second-floor addition, it’s probably safe to invest in this type of project because two-storey houses are in demand in your neighbourhood. You can also do a cursory search on MLS sites to see what houses are selling for in and around your neighbourhood, or contact a local agent and ask for a consultation regarding house prices.
These days, just because you’ve outgrown a home doesn’t mean you need to move from a neighbourhood you love. There are so many possibilities when it comes to re-creating the home you love, you can go up, out, and even tear down and rebuild! As long as you can manage the budget, achieve the space requirements for you and your family, and make wise decisions based on the housing market, you’re only limited by your imagination.
Want to love your home again? Give us a call today and talk to us about your vision for a second-floor addition.
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