My neighbors were planning to put their 1975 sq. foot home on the market as it has become a bit tight for their family of five. With two teens in the house, space is at a premium and everyone wants and needs their personal living area.
These days, my neighbors are no longer looking to move, choosing to upgrade their current home by adding a family room. Although the project will cost them just over $30,000, they’ll save on moving, closing, and new financing costs, expenditures they would have had to contend with even if they had moved across town.
Tens of thousands of people will be adding on to their homes this Spring and Summer, choosing to stay put rather than putting up with the hassle of a move and having to familiarize themselves all over again with a new house, different neighborhood, perhaps even a completely different school system.
Most of the cost of adding on to a home can be recouped when you sell it. Over a long period of time that new family room can increase the value of your home significantly, paying you a nice dividend when you choose to downsize.
Before you begin your family room project, there are some things for you to consider:
- Is the property level where the room will be placed. If not, you may have to pay significantly extra to regrade the area where the room will built. Something to think about: If located on a slope, you could gain some valuable storage space underneath via the exposed room.
- Will adding a family room mean that changes will have to done to the adjoining part of the house? Some family rooms are designed to be virtually self contained, while others are more of an extension of the current home.
- How large of a room will you need? Will your new room be in proportion to the rest of the house or will it be a significant add-on?
- Will the roofing materials, exterior siding, interior walls, doors and windows match the rest of the house?
- Can solar panels or skylights be added? This can be a good time to create a highly energy efficient room, particularly helpful in light of today’s high energy costs.
The Construction Process
Will you be hiring a general contractor or overseeing construction yourself? Whether you are doing the work yourself, outsourcing it completely or doing a combination of the two, you will need to find people who can:
- Provide demolition services.
- Grade the property, if needed.
- Pour the foundation.
- Put up the framing, roofing, and walls.
- Install windows and doors.
- Run electricity, plumbing, and heating/air-conditioning.
- Install the ceiling.
- Build shelves, a fireplace, install flooring.
- Install light fixtures.
- Paint or wallpaper the room.
Familiarizing yourself with your town’s building code as getting all of the necessary permits is important. Making sure that your contractors are licensed and insured is also critical.
Finally, consider hiring an interior designer who can help you create a room that maximizes its livability and is enjoyable. Use the designer before construction begins to include ideas which should become part of the final blueprint. Have this person return when construction is done to help you lay out furniture, hang pictures, and add those personal touches to maximize the benefit of your new space.
A family room project can be completed within 2-3 months time, from developing the plans to move in. Pick the time of the year when disruption can be minimized and be prepared to enjoy your expanded quarters when the project is done!