When you bought your house, you might have said something like this: “Yes, but.” Yes, this was the home for you…but, you could also see yourself eventually making an addition so that it would be your absolute dream home.
There’s nothing wrong with buying a “Yes, but” home—as long as you know the proper way to go about handling a home addition. With the steps you see below, we’ll guide you through the process so you know every milestone along the way—even if this is the first time you’ve ever made an addition to your home:
Step One: Addressing the Fundamentals
If you’re building a new house, the first step isn’t to add the shutters. The first step is to level out the area, dig out the basement, and lay the foundation for what’s to come.
The same rules apply when you’re thinking about a home addition.
In this case, the fundamentals are all about making those big, important decisions early. That includes the following:
- Choosing your end goal. When the addition is finished, what will your house look like? What’s the goal of this addition? If you can’t define it, chances are you still have some thinking to do.
- Have a feel for the style you want. What do you want your addition to look like? Are you adding on an office room, and if so, how large does it need to be?
- Do some math. You’ll talk to some experts later, but for now, don’t be afraid to do some measurements yourself and see if an addition fits physically with your space.
Step Two: Hiring the Right People
Once you have a vision for your new home addition, the next part is just as crucial: choosing the people who will work with you on this project.
Here you have a few options:
- Hiring a design-build firm. Some contractors offer both design and build services. This can be great because it means a lot less work for you while having one place to contact with any issues. However, these contractors can also be a little on the expensive side, depending on the range of your addition.
- Hiring a designer and contractor separately. While this can be more of a low-budget approach, it can also mean some difficulties in getting everyone on the same page. Work with experienced designers who are conscientious of what kinds of materials and project scope will actually fit with the real-world challenge of building.
Whatever you decide, there will be a few important pieces to keep in mind. From the start, you’ll want to tell them exactly what you have in mind for the project—which is why we started Step One with figuring out exactly what the fundamentals of your addition will be.
Next, you’ll want to hire experienced, licensed professionals. Home Advisor is a place to find real reviews of contractors who have handled new additions like yours before. You’ll even find that they have a special section for additions and remodels like yours.
Step Three: Making the Right Selection
Now that you know how to find and meet contractors for your home addition, the next step is to whittle down the list and arrive at the right choice.
The key here? Every addition project is different. The right contractor for you might not be the right contractor for someone else with a different type of addition in mind.
But how will you know whether you’re making the right choice? Here are a few tips that should work no matter what your goals:
- Work with someone who has good communication skills. Open communication throughout the process is essential. They need to be open and honest with you, as well as take the time to understand what your new addition is all about. Anything short of that and you might want to think about another contractor.
- Previous experience. There’s no substitute for experience—but it’s not just about having time as a contractor. It’s also about demonstrable Have they handles new additions like the one you have in mind before? Previous results are a good indicator of future success.
- As nice as it would be to live in a world where money was no object, let’s face it—it’s an object. You need someone who can be straight-forward with you about any budgetary limitations and not make bold claims with limited resources. The more realistic they are, the fewer surprises there will be down the road.
Step Four: Seeing the Project Through
With the right designer and contractor aiding you through the project, now comes the difficult part: waiting. And while you’re in charge of your addition—it’s your money, after all—you should give the contractors the time and space they need to get things done.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t take the time to help see the project through.
There are many things you can do to proactively make this project smoother. For starters, you can make plans to make sure your living arrangements won’t be interrupted throughout construction. A new kitchen addition, for example, can get in the way of cooking regular meals. You can cook some meals ahead of time to make up for this fact.
You also want to make sure to keep the contractors accountable—that means both time and budget. If they’re on track, then there’s nothing to do—you can simply step away and watch the addition go up. But if there are problems that require your attention, make sure that you give your time freely. That will help the contractors get back on pace and the addition come together smoothly.
A Finished Addition
By following these steps, you’ll have exactly what you need to figure out a new addition for your home and see it through to completion—all while remaining on budget and on schedule. Remember these steps if you tackle any other home projects in the future. Your reward? A great new addition to your house that’s even better than you imagined back in step one. While each step might feel small along the way, it’s no small thing to put an addition like that together.