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Reasons to add on to your house rather than move

  • You can build equity. Depending on where you live, the amount may vary, but remodels usually build equity into your home. (Also, location-dependent, may add value to your real estate value should you move. Talk to a realtor about this.)
  • You like the location. You may like your neighborhood, the commute is manageable or your kids are settled there.
  • Renovating is cheaper than buying a new home. Depending again on location, this can very well be the case. The big plus here is that once you renovate your own home, you will have exactly what you want (which may not be the case elsewhere.)
  • Increased space in a home you already know and love will add value to your family. You will have more room for that new baby, a family that is living with you, or your new hobby room

Some Considerations

You are thinking about adding space to your home, and a second story addition may seem like a good idea. You may have a lot of restrictions that prevent you from adding out, so adding up might work.

  • If you have a ranch-style house (1 floor), the frame of your home was not built to withstand the weight of a second floor. This will be a complex remodel. Check with your contractor on what is needed.
  • You can do a partial floor, but you still have to have a beefier foundation for the weight of the building. If you are thinking about an apartment above the garage, the same principle applies. There will be work done to make the building viable for both the vehicles and the apartment above.
  • The cost of a second floor, or even a partial, has to take in many expenses. Among them are the moving and addition of plumbing, electrical, HVAC systems in walls and ceilings, and adding stairs which changes the floorplan on the downstairs (something many homeowners overlook when thinking about adding additional space especially in the beginning stages.) Not to mention framing, painting, drywall, and finishes.
  • Zoning may be an issue. Check with the local zoning office to see whether a second floor is feasible where you live. Ask them about the total structure height. This may be a concern in subdivisions. Always a good idea to check!
  • When asking for an estimate, ask about the extra cost in adding another bathroom. Keep in mind that these are estimates, so add another 20% to that to cover issues that may come up in construction and finalization of plans.
  • Remember to find out how much you qualify for at your bank or credit union so you know what you can comfortably afford. That way you don’t dig yourself into a hole.
  • Find other homeowners who have had the same remodel that you are thinking about. Ask them how they went through it and if they would do anything differently. This may help you in your decision where to live while your home is being remodeled.

The Good News

Finding a good contractor who can help design and build your remodel takes a little logic. You want someone with experience in the to remodel you are thinking about, who can help you make your second floor look like it has always been part of your home and who knows the best way to make what you want a reality. New Life Builders has experience getting you a licensed carpenter for adding a second story.


Can you build a second floor on a modular home?

Yes, conditionally. If your modular home is structurally capable of supporting the additional weight of another floor (you may need to hire a structural engineer to see if this is feasible) then an addition for a modular home is actually faster than a non-modular home. Going to the manufacturer and getting the build from them, the contractor can just add it on to the existing home.

What if I want more living space? Does a second floor make sense?

For resale value, second floors are where bedrooms and bathrooms are, not living space for visitors. So moving bedrooms to the second floor and remodeling the first floor for living space, like a den, family room, dining room, and bigger kitchen would make more sense.

Can I live in the home while the construction is going on?

No. Your roof will be removed. There will be dust everywhere. And needless to say, it will be chaotic. While the construction is going on the family will have to relocate. That leaves you with choices to either go with family or friends who can put you up for the duration or renting for a few months. Factor this in as another expense for your remodel.

Is it cheaper to build up or build-out?

All things being equal, the actual costs are cheaper building up. You are not paying for more foundation and surveying. However, every remodel is different, so ask your contractor for his advice if this is a consideration. Zoning also plays a role, you may be too close to your neighbors to build out, and building up might be your best choice.

What about an attic conversion?

An attic conversion is a very cost-effective solution if you have a large attic and your roof is in good repair. If it isn’t, your roof will be repaired or replaced during this process – however, chances are you won’t have to move out of your home during this construction. This is taking advantage of space you already have – so it is more like finishing a basement. Most attic conversions are around the $50,000 – $65,000 mark but check with your contractor if you want additions to yours like adding sunlight or other considerations.

Do I need an architect?

If you are building an entire floor on your home, yes. If you want it to look like it was always part of your house, and your home to have maximum value, yes. If you are just building on top of your garage, maybe no. Keep in mind that this is your home and if you want it to look and function well, an architect can do that for you.

Bottom Line

If you are considering an addition to your home, think about the size of the addition that you want. Think also about the loan amount you qualify for. Hopefully, you will only do this once, so do it right and you won’t regret the results or the money spent. Hire an architect if you are doing a large addition (an entire second floor) so they can make the addition look cohesive to your home and make the first-floor work as well – this won’t be just space tacked on.

New Life Builders will be partners for you during your remodel and help you every step of the way. Talk to others who have had similar remodels and ask what they did and if they would do anything differently.

Most of all, once you are through the process you will have a home that works for you and your family.

Check out our next blog post about Can I Add On To A Mobile Home?