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Building an Addition Q&A

What You Need To Know When Building An Addition

We will answer some frequent questions that homeowners pose when considering building an addition to their home.  Many homeowners are happy with their present neighborhood and its proximity to family, friends, schools, and shopping.  Perhaps they are in a rural area and like the expansive property surrounding the home.  Several motivators for homeowners to consider building an addition are caring for aging parents, a growing family, a gathering space as children age or whatever the motivation the questions and answers are the same.  Is building an addition on your home the right choice for you?

To help you make this very important decision we have compiled answers to frequently asked questions giving you a good foundation in which to consider incorporating an addition to your home.

Additions can come in all shapes and sizes and can be located in various places. If you are short on ground space you can often build up. We see this often when homeowners purchase a rancher and decide they would like a master suite and a few extra bedrooms or studio. Voila! A rancher becomes a two-story home. If you have some ground space to work with, but need more than your lot has to offer, you can create a two-story addition. Lastly, if space is not a problem, then you can add an addition to the front, side or rear of your home or turn a detached garage into an addition by creating a connection to the present house.

As you can see, there are many wonderful options for expanding and updating your home to meet your needs.  We hope you will find the following information helpful. If you need further clarification or have questions, please give us a call. We have been remodeling Maryland for over 35 years and have won many awards for our excellent work. We wish you great success in renovating your home.

What should I know before I contact a builder/remodeler?

Consider your desired use of the space, your budget and whether you wish for your builder to be your design professional which is called Design/Build.  This usually means the contractor has design professionals in-house.  You can also choose to hire an architect to draw plans for your home addition.

How will you and your contractor communicate during the home project? We have communication software in place that allows homeowners to communicate with us 24/7.  All communication is kept online so that the homeowner can follow a thread of conversation for the life of the project.  Also, all proposals, selections and other documents are accessible.

Do I need to know the zoning laws?

The contractor should be the one to pull permits for the addition and also help with any variance that may be needed.  (A variance is a request to deviate from current zoning requirements. If granted, it permits the owner to use the land in a manner not otherwise permitted by the zoning ordinance. It is not a change in the zoning law. Instead, it is a specific waiver of requirements of the zoning ordinance.)

How do you determine the cost of the addition and how do I establish a budget?

Each building project is different.  There isn’t a one size fits all addition.  The factors considered when determining the cost is related to the placement of the addition on the property, the topography, the size of your addition, one or two stories, what will the space incorporate; a kitchen, bath, bedrooms, family room?  These are but some of the considerations that determine the cost.

Of course, when meeting with your contractor you have this opportunity to establish a budget and work to it.  The size of the addition will be in proportion to the amount you desire to spend and what the property boundaries allow. Final selections, such as the type of flooring, exterior, interior trim, fixtures etc. will drive the cost for the finished addition.

We believe it is very important to consider your neighborhood and the value of the homes around you.  You don’t want to overbuild your addition so that resale value of your home does not support the amount invested in the addition.

Are there any other costs, such as excavation, debris removal, and landscaping that I will need to budget that are not in your estimate?

The homeowner should have no concern regarding excavation and debris removal.  This should be handled by the contractor and included in the cost of the proposal unless otherwise stated.  Landscaping can be included but must be established upfront.

What protection do I have from cost over-runs?

If the homeowner stays within the allowance amounts scheduled in the proposal and keeps within the scope of work stated, over-runs should be minimal.

Sometimes, there are things that could not be established upfront with a remodeling project, things that are hidden.  This is when a good relationship with your contractor is needed.  When you choose your contractor there should be a trust factor established.

Know that your contractor has your best interest at heart and work together to solve the hidden surprises that infrequently surface in remodeling.

What if I live in a neighborhood with a Homeowner’s Association?

Homeowners Associations do have certain by-laws and usually require for you to submit drawings for an addition to the board for approval, prior to work beginning.  It would be helpful for you to contact the H.O.A. in advance, before investing in drawings, to be assured that an addition is allowed in your neighborhood.

Will I be able to live in my home during the renovation?

Of course, you can stay in your home while the renovation is taking place.  Understand that every possible consideration will be made to make the living conditions acceptable, i.e.: establish a temporary kitchen, dust control…but the truth is that a remodeling project in your home is an inconvenience and will cause some family routines to be interrupted.  The upside of that inconvenience is that you have a home with all that you desired when the project is finished!

Will you create an addition that flows with the present home, making it look like it has always been there?

When in the design phase of your project, the finishes for the addition should be discussed and how they can be incorporated into the final product.  Most professional contractors have been building additions for decades and can give you a seamless look.  Factors may be the availability of matching materials etc…

The homeowners of this home desired an updated kitchen and some additional family room space, as well as, some recreational space, which could not be accommodated in the existing home. To learn more about this project please visit our Maryland Kitchen Addition article.

What are the phases of the project?

A general idea of phases, though each project has its individual nuances:

  1. Establish a budget and create drawings of the desired space.
  2. The contractor offers a proposal for the cost to build.
  3. Discuss the project start date, the supervisor who will be overseeing the project and the things that will be implemented to make the remodel as smooth as possible, establish how payments are made and projected finish date.
  4. Begin the work on the project.
  5. Meet regularly with the contractor to discuss ongoing work.
  6. Finish the project and final punch out and final payment.
  7. Enjoy your improved home!

What is the average timeline for building an addition?

A seasoned professional can adequately estimate the time it will take to create your addition.   Homeowners should understand that there are factors that are unforeseen when building onto a present structure and excavating the ground that cannot be estimated.  Also, changes in weather, economy, and supply can alter the time frame.

How to choose the right contractor.

In the end, the contractor you choose should understand your needs. An open rapport should exist between you.  Remember remodeling can be an inconvenient time for a family and consideration and understanding should be provided to the family. Establish basic rules regarding pets, safety for children, needs during construction etc… in advance, to assure a great working relationship.

Building an addition onto your home is a somewhat lengthy process and it is important that there is a comfort level with the team they provide to work in your home. We recommend that you check credentials, such as; licensing, insurance and previous customer reviews.

Owings Brothers have worked hard to build its reputation. We have won major regional awards for our work and can offer glowing references from our 35 years of happy clients.  At Owings Brothers Contracting all of our employees are screened for drug use and have undergone background checks.   Your home is one of the largest investments you make. You can trust us to treat your home and your family with the care and consideration you deserve.

We wish you great success in your home addition.  Check out other additions in our portfolio.