Do you need more Space?

Do you need more space at home? And you are wondering how to start and what it will cost. Take a peek at some of the topics below to help you on your journey.

What do you need?
If you are looking at this list, you have already decided that you need more space or need to rearrange and change your home. If you need space – what do you need the space for? Is it something specific like a new member of the family arriving or now you work from home and need an office? Are you getting close to retirement age and you see that your home might not work well as you get older?

Write down all the parameters that are informing your decision to change your home. Then take a good look at your home – at every room – and think about what you use it for and what you would like to use it for. Write down what isn’t working or what you would like to see changed. Be sure to get input from the rest of the family to include on the list. People tend to use different areas of the house and will give more insight on what needs to be done.

Be general about your wants – like “I need an office area” instead of “We need to add 200sf for a new office”. Sometimes rearranging the existing space can give you what you need.

What do you like?
Now for the fun part – start a file of what you like. Collect pictures from magazines, print out things from the internet, if you find a material you like (a specific stone or fixture, etc) include product brochures.

Look at the images you collect and figure out what it is you like about it. Is it the color? The open space? The type of stairs? Be aware of what you like (or possibly don’t like in the image). People can pick out different likes and dislikes from the same image so it is good to be clear what you are looking at when you are discussing it.

What do you want?
So make a list of things you’d like to do – from the general to the specific. And then prioritize what is most important.

Is creating a better flow through the house most important? Adding a connection to an outdoor patio? Putting in new windows throughout the house?

After you have refined your list and have what you think you need and want and like, revisit it occasionally to be sure you have everything listed and your priorities have not changed.

What is this going to cost?
Cost is a factor that is highly fluid. It has many factors that affect it:

Where you build:
Labor fluctuates greatly depending on where you live in the US and what time of year it is. Winter in snow areas might have more workers available but be much more restrictive on what can be accomplished.

Materials vary greatly from region to region also. Red oak might not be too expensive in areas that mill it but its price goes up the farther it has to be shipped.

If you build in an area that has more structural concerns, such as a hillside area or a seismic area, your cost will go up.

What you build:
A small project will cost more per square foot than a larger one since many of the same equipment has to be rented or arranged to be brought to site.

If you choose more expensive materials or procedures your cost will go up. Slab on grade is the least expensive foundation but it can’t be use in all areas. Aluminum windows and carpet and drywall tend to be the least expensive materials to use so using vinyl frames or wood flooring or adding specialty walls (such as stone features etc) will cause your cost to go up.

Renovating or building a bedroom will cost less per square foot than a kitchen or bathroom. The fixtures and cabinetry will add significantly to the cost.

The numbers listed here are only for your information and do not guarantee you can build it for this amount. To get an accurate cost you will need to speak to a contractor with a clear plan for your project they are responsible for providing a detailed cost estimate for you that is specific to your project.

$150 sf to $300 sf
New construction or an addition
Renovating a kitchen or bathroom

$100 sf to $250 sf
Renovating other areas of the home

Remember the low number is for certain areas in the US where labor and materials cost less and if you are using the least expensive materials and procedures (be aware you might not have a choice depending on your region and city ordinances). This cost can go up much higher if you choose fixtures and materials that are custom or exotic. The upper number actually has no limit – you can spend much more than what is listed here.

This cost is just for the construction. Additional costs can be incurred for architects, engineers, permits, etc. Another rule of thumb is to use about 15%-20% for architect, engineers and city costs. Again, this number varies greatly from architect to architect and city to city but giving yourself a number here will help keep your budget more realistic.

Many cities have different plans that can affect your budget – what if you city requires an automatic fire sprinkler system? That could add another $10k to your project. So perhaps asking your city a few questions before you start the project will help keep you informed as to what you will be required to do.

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