There are three things you can do to an existing house to increase its value, and/or increase its livability.
- Add on
- Tear it down and build a new one - the Extreme Makeover approach.
With all three approaches, remember that “general contracting is general contracting,” and you will always save money being your own house contractor, no matter what the size of the project.
If you can be the General Contractor (GC) to build a new house, doesn’t it make sense that you should be able to use the same process to remodel or renovate or build an addition? Well, you can! General Contracting is General Contracting.
Obviously, you can, and people often do, combine an add-on project with a major renovation, but I will treat them separately, for there is a difference in the scope of each job.
In both cases, you will save even more (as a percentage of cost) by acting as your own contractor than on new construction, as I will explain. With the third option, other than the house demolition, the process is the same as building on an empty lot.
Building an Addition
If you already have a house but would like more room and don’t want to move, you can add to your present home. It could be easier than you think. You may already have a head start toward additional space.
There are two basic ways to add to a home.
One is to make habitable an existing unfinished area such as a basement, garage, screened porch, breezeway, or attic.
This is the least expensive way because you already have the basic room with a foundation and some or all of the outside walls.
The other and more expensive way is to build on to your house.
If you are considering this, check to see that you have room on your lot without violating required setbacks and that you meet any subdivision or deed restrictions.
Whether you finish an existing space or add to your present structure, the procedure will be the same. Start at the beginning of this book and treat the addition as a small home.
The only things that will be different from building a house are that you already have the land and the costs will be somewhat different.
Don’t skip any of the applicable steps I outlined earlier for building a house.
Don’t add too much value to your home.
Sooner or later, all houses need to be sold, and you don’t want to have the most expensive house in the neighborhood when you put it on the market.
It’s a real estate fact of life: The most expensive house in the neighborhood is very difficult to sell.