Unless a long-distance move is necessitated by a new job or a major lifestyle change, reasons for considering a new home usually have something to do with space requirements. Home additions are big business in Dallas. A desire for additional bedrooms, a larger yard, or an additional garage bay can be strong motivators. The need for a home office or a formal dining room, even the wish for a hobby room, a new kitchen, or a “man cave” can prompt the search. Sometimes, as in the case of young and growing families, the need looms large—and timing can be critical.
Often, however, there are important reasons for staying put, and they can be just as compelling. Most families dread moving but face the question “Move on or make do?”. Fortunately, there may be a third option: home additions.
Staying Can Make Sense
There can be plenty of good reasons for staying put: Familiarity of surroundings, friendly neighbors, convenient commute to work, schools and parks, equity in the property, and memories can all play a part in the emotional hold that a property exerts on its residents. Previous improvement projects may have brought the property close to perfection in your eyes. Even the size of the trees or neighborhood stability can be reason enough for staying and modernizing, enlarging or redoing.
You might want to consult with a real estate professional to ensure that neighborhood values will support a remodelling project. The need for more space may require a bit of ingenuity, but it might make financial sense and be a boon for the family.
Honest Assessments Needed
When all is said and done, there are only three ways to gain space: build out, build up, or enclose. In a traditional Dallas-Fort Worth ranch, enclosing a patio or converting a porch to living space can be accomplished quickly and inexpensively. Before calling the contractor, take a walk around your property and look at possibilities.
Finding a way to add on may be obvious; or it may take the expertise of a structural engineer, a residential designer, or an architect. By removing a wall, your formal parlor might become a brand new family gathering room. If attic space could become a teenage hangout room or a couple of extra bedrooms and a bath, perhaps it is a viable way to gain space.
Always check city, subdivision, and homeowners association requirements and prohibitions before getting too far into the project. Call your local planning and zoning department. Officials are generally helpful and will give you detailed information on required permits and inspections. Some cities also have rebate programs in the event you decide to add energy-saving features or to modernize the exterior of your home.
If you do not have sufficient funds put aside for your project, you would be wise to investigate the possibility of a home equity loan and other financing options before proceeding any further. Having the funds in place before spending money on plans and signing a construction contract simplifies the project for everyone involved. Your lender may also have specific procedures for dealing with home additions.
It can be very trying to live in a place where major home additions are being done. You may have to vacate the space—especially if you are removing the roof—for a period of days or weeks. You should be available during any construction project, however, so it is not a good time to take that Hawaii vacation!
Just be patient, and look forward to enjoying your “new” old home.
Image Source: Flickr/Corinna Makris