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Add a Level or Make a Move?

Would you like more space, has the family grown, or are in-laws moving in? Regardless of the many possible reasons for needing more elbow room, you’re confronted with two potential paths to a larger home: add a level or move on to a larger model.

Would you like more space, has the family grown, or are in-laws moving in? Regardless of the many possible reasons for needing more elbow room, you’re confronted with two potential paths to a larger home: add a level or move on to a larger model. Once you’ve come to grips with the reality that, either way, there are going to be significant costs and disruptions involved, you’ll want to evaluate your specific situation and the best resolution given your circumstances.

HOA, City, and Clark County Guidelines

The following may seem obvious, but first things first. Check whether your subdivision permits you to add a level. Some Las Vegas neighborhoods were designed exclusively with single-story dwellings in mind. Others may allow both one- and two-story homes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there are no restrictions on raising the roof. Rules prohibiting obstruction of a neighbor’s view and similar regulations could nix a potential second-story addition. It’s important to consult your local Homeowners Association (HOA). Be sure also to check the guidelines of the Clark County Building Department as well as city rules and restrictions specific to your location. Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson all have their own guidelines.

Preliminary Inspection

Once you have the approval of the HOA board and any other relevant entities, you should consult an architect or building contractor about whether your proposed expansion is appropriate for your home. Where are the structural beams and supports? How are the current plumbing and air duct systems configured? Is there a feasible way to position the new stairway? These are just a few of the considerations that a knowledgeable professional will address, along with your personal wish list of design features in your plan to add a level to your existing home. If your plan involves opening up walls and systems, now is the time to think about key improvements, such as installing solar panels or reroofing with solar shingles, to take advantage of the abundant Las Vegas sunshine and cut down on future power bills.

Facing the Inevitable

If you’ve ascertained that no governing body forbids the addition of a level and that no facet of architectural design of your particular home precludes it, then the time has come to make some decisions. You will likely have received some ballpark estimates from the building contractor. Don’t forget to factor in associated costs, such as temporary housing if the proposed project necessitates that you vacate the premises during some phases of construction. If calculations show that the budget required to add a level equals or surpasses the cost of selling your current home and buying a larger one, it may be that moving will involve less hassle and stress than living through a home renovation. But what if you absolutely love your neighbors, your yard, or other features unique to your current residence? That’s certainly a compelling argument in favor of a decision to add a level. The bottom line is that only you can make the final decision whether there’s no place like home or you really need a new place to call home.

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