How to Avoid the Most Common Home Addition Mistakes

Home addition

Home additions transform the look and feel of your entire home, and represent one of the most expensive home improvement projects possible. It makes sense for homeowners to plan this type of renovation well, taking the time necessary to cover every detail and build a solid relationship with the right contractor. But these common home addition mistakes can derail your project and end up inflating the budget. Be aware and be careful to avoid these traps.

1) Hiring the Wrong Contractor

As with any large-scale home improvement, hiring the right contactor will mean the difference between a quality job and a disaster. Take the time to meet with several recommended general contractors. Compare their quotes based on details, presentation, communication skills and price.

Be sure that the contractor you hire has experience with home additions. Ask for references and check them. You may also want to obtain a list of subcontractors the general often works with, so you can also check out their work and reputation.

2) Attempting to DIY or Serve as the General Contractor

You may want to save some money on this renovation and consider the idea of acting as your own general contractor. Unless you have experience with projects of this size, including ordering and receiving materials, hiring and supervising subcontractors, troubleshooting and maintaining an overall budget, get the DIY idea out of your head.

If you're still interested in shaving the budget down with DIY, talk to your general contractor about handling the removal or disposal process. This can often be arranged and allows you to save a little bit of money.

3) Spending Money on the Design Process Without the Big Picture Budget in Mind

When planning for your home addition, remember to avoid getting ahead of yourself. Talk to the architect or designer about your targeted budget before the design process begins. This eliminates a lot of misunderstandings that could potentially derail your project.

Without those overall budget numbers in mind, your architect may include impractical features, fixtures and layouts. You won't find out until you put the drawings out to tender and general contractors come back with inflated bids.

Many homeowners dream big, pay for a design that meets those dreams and then balk at the actual construction cost. Avoid that disappointment by informing your designer about the overall budget numbers.

4) Taking Out Building Permits Too Early

Wait to apply for your building permit and only begin that process once the final design is in place. The permit application occurs once all of the designing has been done and your general contractor hired. Changes happen throughout the design process and, depending on the bid submitted by your general contractor, changes could come into play after during the bidding process.

Changes to building permits often cost money, and simply waiting until the right time can help you save a substantial amount of cash. Although mid-project alterations may be out of your control, always wait and apply for permits once the design and bid stages have been completed.

5) Designing Without the Whole Property in Mind

A home addition needs to fit seamlessly into your existing home, as well as suit the landscape. Make sure your designer visits the property to get a feel for the existing style and gauges the landscape.

If you want to make major changes to the balance of your home at the same time, feel free to be more creative with the addition design. Otherwise, strive for consistency in the layout, styling and architectural features of your home addition.

6) Ignoring the Landscaping Challenges

The initial homebuilders placed your house in a certain position on the property. This likely had to do with clearances, access and grading. All of the same considerations should be looked at during the construction of a home addition.

How will the new extension work with the existing landscape? And what type of changes might you need to make to provide a safe, seamless property? If you ignore the challenges presented by your landscaping, the project may stall. Adjustments to the landscape can also boost the budget by big dollars.

7) Trying to Salvage the Wrong Materials

Salvaging makes sense for the environment, and often saves the homeowner money. But you need to understand what can be salvaged and what cannot, and be prepared for your plans to change. Salvaging often depends on the overall quality of the materials and damage can easily occur during removal.

If you cannot salvage your own building materials, consider shopping at a reclaimed building materials store. You can often find good quality flooring, light fixtures, doors and window frames, cabinetry, railings, posts, shelving and other wood features at these retailers, and for lower prices than new products. Save the environment and your money with this plan.

8) Not Anticipating Changes in the Middle

All home improvement projects run into difficulties, and a larger renovation like this has even more challenges. Be prepared to tackle problem after problem in the midst of the project. Make decisions quickly, but always think through the consequences and choose the best solution based on current and future considerations.

Your general contractor should be experienced enough to handle all types of alteration at any stage. If you are mentally prepared and flexible enough in your budget to handle these changes, your home addition project will run smoothly.

9) Paying Too Early

Most contractors require a deposit up front, often a small percentage of the project. They may also expect progress payments throughout the job. Make sure all of these details are clearly spelled out beforehand and stick to your end of the bargain.

If you need to have a payment out, get it issued. But if your contractor is asking for too much money before the project starts or pressuring you to release cash at an alarmingly fast rate during the project, stand firm to the agreement. Ensure that they honor your warranty issues by holding back a small amount until all service issues are cleared up.

Many homeowners make some or all of these common home addition mistakes. Ensure your project runs faster and smoother by avoiding these traps and managing your home improvement project better than some others.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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