What is Shell Construction and What Does it Include?

Shell construction can be a good option for many people who want to construct a house or other building. First, they can contract to have the outer structure built. Then, later, they can take care of adding the finishes to the project.

People choose shell construction for a variety of reasons. Whether they are a homeowner who wants to save money by installing the finishes himself, or a building owner who’d rather finish the building to meet the needs of specific tenants, shell construction is an alternative worth considering.

But what is shell construction? Basically, shell construction involves constructing what’s called the building envelope. This includes the foundation and the structure that protects the interior of the building from rain and snow and is a barrier to insects, noise, and intruders. The shell not only protects the inside of the building but is the structure that ensures the building’s stability.

In contrast, a complete project would essentially be move-in ready. The builder would complete all the interior and exterior finishes. While some people prefer the turnkey alternative, others are more inclined to shell construction.

What is Included in Shell Construction?

While some projects may include more features, every shell construction project consists of constructing the primary structure of the building.

This includes six components: site work, footers and foundation, reinforced masonry, tie beams, slab, and roof framing.

In projects that involve building a complete structure, these same components would be built. In addition, all the exterior and interior finishes would be added. Since shell construction does not include the finishes, it is much less expensive.

But before deciding on pursuing the option of shell construction, it’s essential to understand what’s involved in building a shell that will meet your needs.

1. Site Selection and Site Work

As in any real estate decision, the location is critical. There’s no point in building your dream house in an area that few people would find desirable.

Once you’ve found a piece of land that looks promising, you’ll need to do some testing and analysis to ensure it is appropriate for the structure you plan to build.

Soil testing is imperative to determine if the subsoil meets code. Many areas are sand or muck in south Florida, which do not meet building code requirements. If your lot’s soil doesn’t meet code, the engineer will determine what needs to be done to remedy the situation. Excavation, demucking, or backfill might all be required.

The site may also influence the type of foundation. This is usually determined through a survey and by analyzing the vertical dimensions of the proposed building. The architect and engineers will be able to tell you if the lot will support the type of building you want and what excavation or backfill will be required.

2. Footers and Foundation

This is a critical step in the process of any construction process. Any mistakes made in the foundation will impact the rest of the building.

Footers are designed based on the weight of the proposed building. If necessary, piles may need to be installed to compensate for any inadequacies in the soil.

The footers will need to be carefully laid out to ensure that windows, doors, columns, and other vital points are appropriately reinforced. A correctly performed concrete pour of the footers and foundation will provide a sturdy foundation for the building.

Hiring a shell construction company that understands the south Florida building environment will help ensure the success of your project. For example, coastal properties require different concrete than those located inland.

3. Reinforced Masonry

As in other stages, the layout is vital. Once the footers and foundation are in place, the block layout is designed to support masonry openings, such as windows or doors. Reinforcing materials, such as steel rods or horizontal bracing will be added as needed to enhance the strength of the building.

4. Tie Beam

The tie beam connects two footings and avoids the settlement of columns or the foundation. They also keep different footings from settling differently.

5. Slab

This is when the concrete is poured for the foundation. It will most likely be run simultaneously as the foundation if it’s a monolithic slab. If not, it might be poured with the tie beam. Every project is different.

The key to either approach is to plan appropriately beforehand, including ensuring there is no rain headed your way. You want the slab poured in dry weather to make sure it dries properly.

6. Roof Framing

In this stage, the trusses are installed, and the wooden sheaths are attached. This leaves the structure ready for the roofers to do their part. Roof waterproofing is not included in the shell.

Once these phases are completed, all that’s left is for the site to be cleaned up and excess materials stored for the later use of the subcontractors.

The Big Advantage of Shell Construction: Flexibility

The primary reason people choose the option of shell construction is the flexibility it offers. They can get the shell built quickly, then take their time to complete the work according to their timetable. In addition, they can figure out how they’d like to finish their sub-floors and stud walls and add any other finishes they’d like.

Every project is a little different. Because of that, various projects may include other elements besides the ones described above. Sometimes further details are included in the shell construction. For example, some projects include windows and doors, external cladding, and occasionally, landscaping. Additional elements are added depending on the needs of the building owners.

Your builder can work with you. We can do that if you’d like to include heating, electrical systems, or roughed in plumbing.

What are the Advantages of a Shell Building Structure?

Many homeowners prefer to hire a building contractor to construct a shell. By doing this, the homeowner can save some money. This can be a good option if the homeowner has the time and the skills to add the flooring and interior finishes and enjoys doing the work.

In addition, the shell construction concept allows people more flexibility. They can customize the home as much as they like, and finish the building at their own pace, taking their time to decide about flooring, paint, and other finishes when they are ready. These people don’t like the pressure of making all the decisions at once, as is the norm with turnkey construction. By building a shell, they can control the timing of the finishing process.

Many people who build commercial properties prefer the shell construction concept as well. There are many advantages to using this method.

The reason is simple. Many building owners who built and finished commercial space discovered later that their tenants had utterly different needs or wants regarding the space. Many of the finishes and interior walls needed to be changed. Ceiling, flooring, and electrical and mechanical fittings often required significant changes.

All of which added up to a lot of wasted time and money. Many commercial properties are now built with the shell concept. The common areas like lobbies, staircases, elevators, public restrooms, electrical, plumbing, mechanical systems, fire detection and safety, and landscaping could all be completed even before tenants sign the lease. Part of the lease would involve finishing the rental space to meet the tenant’s needs.

The work can proceed even if tenants have been found before the shell is complete. This gives the tenants a little more time to decide on the layout and finishes of their space.

If you’d like to explore shell construction as an option for your new home or commercial property, give us a call. We’d be happy to explain how our process works and how shell construction can be a better, stress-free option for you.

Is a Home Addition Worth It?

Are you planning a home addition and wondering if it would be worth it?

Perhaps you’re tired of tripping over each other in your cramped house. Your kids are begging for their own rooms. Or maybe you want to invite your aging parents to move in with you.

Whatever the reason, you’re considering the possibilities of a home addition. Given that a home addition may be the most expensive home improvement project you’ll ever take on, it’s understandable if you’re wondering if adding on to your house would be worth the cost. And what if you’re not happy with the results? You can’t easily do it over, as you could if all you’d done is slap a coat of paint on the walls.

 

Pros and Cons of a Home Addition

The best way to start your decision-making process about a home addition is to consider the pros and cons. By looking at both sides, you’ll be better able to decide if you want to proceed or not.

 

Pros of a Home Addition

1. A Home Addition is Your Creation

Unlike a simple renovation, adding on to your home allows you to create the space. You’re not just altering someone else’s work. So you’ll be able to put your own personality and desires into building the space you want.

2. There’s No Better Way to Add Space

Nearly everyone who builds a home addition is looking for more space. Sure, it is true that turning a porch or patio into a sunroom can give you more room. But not all buyers will consider it to be quality space.

In contrast, a home addition will add actual square footage to your house and be quality living space you can enjoy, and that potential buyers will value.

An addition can also be the perfect way to add recreational areas to your home. Whether it’s a home gym or theater, a craft room or other specialized space you’re looking for, an addition could be the way you get it.

3. Enhance the layout of your house

Adding on to your home might enable you to enhance or refresh the layout of your house. Taking out a wall, for example, can give you that open plan you’ve wanted while making the flow more efficient.

4. Avoid Moving

Moving, as we all know, isn’t easy, can be expensive, and creates a lot of upheaval. And often moving means leaving a neighborhood that your family loves.

5. Increase the Value of Your Property

A well-planned home addition can enhance the curb appeal of your house, give it a fresh look and make it more functional. The additional square footage will generally mean you’ll be able to set a higher asking price.

While a higher resale price is not guaranteed, the favorable market in South Florida makes it more likely that you will get a great return on your investment. As more people relocate to the area, housing values continue to climb. Over time, the appreciation on your house could exceed what you paid for your addition.

 

Cons of a Home Addition

Now that we’ve looked at the plus side, let’s consider some of the drawbacks of home additions.

1. A Higher Resale Price is Not Guaranteed

While adding square footage to your house by constructing an additional room or bathroom generally means you’ll be able sell for more money, this isn’t always the case. Changes in the housing market or economy could affect what buyers are willing to pay. If you over-improve your house beyond what is usual in your neighborhood, you might not get as high a return on the money you invested in your addition. If return on investment is important to you, consult a real estate agent before finalizing your plans. They could be able to tell you what features are getting the best return in your area.

2. Increased Expenses

After your home addition is complete, you’ll have more house to clean, more space to heat and cool, and higher property taxes. All these expenses can add up.

3. Loss of Yard Space

Unless your addition is built on top of your existing house, it will most likely take up some of your yard space. If you have a small lot, this could be a problem, especially if local zoning requires a certain amount of space.

4. Additions Are Stressful

There’s no way around it. Adding on to your home can be emotionally stressful. Having workers, dust and noise in your house continually for weeks or months on end can wear on you.

5. Can Be Expensive

Depending on the project, your addition could end up being more expensive than moving. Projects that expand your house horizontally are less costly than those that build up vertically over the existing structure. To give you some examples, a 300 square foot master suite addition could cost between $75,000 and $100,000. A 1000 square foot addition that enlarges the kitchen and living room on the first floor and the master suite on the second floor could easily be in the $300,000 range.

 

To Add on or Not to Add on?

As with most big decisions, many factors come into play when deliberating if a home addition is right for you. The most important criterion for you to consider is your why for wanting a home addition.

Being clear on why will help you minimize the downside and maximize the benefits of your project. Ask yourself the following questions:

● What is my goal for the additional space? How do I intend to use it?
● What exactly do I not like about the current space?

This is important because the answers will drive the planning of your project. So consider carefully. Are you adding on to get more living space? To create some more accessible space? To add a little luxury?

In any case, you need a clear reason. If you don’t have one, it will be hard to develop a solid plan that you’ll stick to and to stay within budget. It will be too easy to get caught up in adding features that would be nice to have, rather than making priorities of the ones that most closely align with your vision.

And by having a definite goal in mind, you’re more likely to end up with the addition you want. If you have some extra money and think an addition would be a good way to invest it, that line of thinking doesn’t make good financial sense. Not when you are likely to recoup less than 60% of your investment when you sell.

 

Home Addition vs Moving Decisions

Once you know your why, then it’s time to think through if adding on is the right decision. A lot depends on your circumstances, such as in the following examples.

1. You Have No Plans to Move

Consider how long you plan on staying in your current house. If you don’t have any plans to move in the next five to ten years, then a home addition might be the right choice. However, if you think you might be moving in the next few years, you’ll probably be better off saving your money so you can buy a bigger house when you do move.

2. You Love Your Neighborhood

If you love your neighborhood, then an addition may be the better choice. There’s no guarantee your new neighborhood will be as good as the one you live in now. Unless, of course, the perfect house happens to go up for sale just down the street.

3. Your Home has Unique Feature that You Love

If your home already has unique features, such as built in bookshelves in the family room or a spa tub in the master suite, or other features you don’t want to live without, then an addition will make sense. These kinds of features might be hard to find in another house.

4. You Are Adding on to Accommodate Your Parents

In this case, an addition might be the best choice. You’ll be able to include your parents in the planning process. Otherwise, you might end up taking them all over to look at houses, which could get complicated.

5. There’s Big Gap Between the House You Want and the House You Have

The bigger the gap between your existing house and what you have in mind, the more reason you have to sell. The simple reason is that the bigger your addition, the more likely you’ll end up with the most expensive house in the neighborhood. That will make it harder to sell and you’ll get a lower return on your investment. If you’re looking to expand significantly, you’ll be better off buying a bigger house.

Unless, of course, you have one of the smaller houses in the neighborhood. Then your improvements will bring you more into line with the others and add significant value.

One way to think this through is to assess how much you could sell your house for as it is. Add on to that what your proposed addition would cost. Then use that figure to see what you could buy with that amount of money. Having that information might make the decision easier.

6. You Have Space that Can Be Converted

If you have a sunroom, porch or garage that can be converted into the space you want, this might be the simplest way to achieve your goal. So if you’re willing to give you that sunroom or garage to achieve your goal, a conversion might be the solution.

7. Local Zoning Gets in the Way

If you have your heart set on a certain addition and local zoning rules prohibit you from building it, then consider a move. You probably won’t get what you want any other way.

 

The Tear Down and Build New Option

If you really don’t want to leave your neighborhood, there is always the option of tearing down your house and building a new one. Many people are finding this is the best choice of all.

One reason is that it is often cheaper to start over, as you don’t have to try to work around existing structures. With new construction, you can design the house to fit your needs. It will be far easier to install new and more efficient wiring, plumbing, and HVAC systems than to upgrade in an older house. And by building new, you don’t have to worry about making the new portion blend with the old.

Many of our clients have chosen to tear down and build a new house. If this interests you for your residence or an investment property, we can help you decide if this option makes sense for you.

 

Getting Started with Your Home Addition

Once you’ve thought through the pros and cons of a home addition and have decided it’s right for you, the next step is to find a contractor. Choose your general contractor carefully. An experienced contractor will make your life easier throughout the process, as they’ll manage and coordinate the subcontractors and minimize the disruption to your life. They’ll also make sure the new addition blends well with the older portion of your house.

If you’re ready to plan and build your home addition, give us a call. We’ll be happy to show you how we’ve helped others expand their homes, allowing them to stay in the neighborhoods they love while accommodating the changing needs of their families.

Is Remodeling a Kitchen a Good Investment?

Most people who want to remodel their kitchen wonder if it will be a good investment. Maybe that’s you, too. You’ve been living with your drab, inefficient kitchen with its dated cabinets and countertops for years. Now you’re ready for something fresh.

Sure, you could just sell your house and buy one that already has everything you’d want in a dream kitchen. But perhaps you love your neighborhood. Or don’t want to go through the bother of moving. So, updating and upgrading your kitchen seems like the right decision.

But before sinking a lot of money into it, you want to know if remodeling your kitchen will in fact be a good investment.

We’ve all heard that when people are looking at houses the most important rooms are the kitchens and bathrooms. These are the rooms that sell the house. A freshly remodeled kitchen or bathroom will attract buyers and make the house sell faster.

And that makes sense. These are the most expensive rooms to upgrade. So, investing in making your kitchen to make it a welcoming, efficient space will pay off, right?

The short answer to that question is maybe, it depends. Here’s why.

Do Kitchen Remodels Add Value?

Four factors come into play when determining if your kitchen remodel will add value to your home.

The first factor involves how extensive your project is. In other words, whether you undertake a minor or major remodel will impact how much of your money you’ll recover when you sell your house.

A major kitchen remodel is precisely that—significant changes to your existing kitchen. Major remodels often involve gutting part or all of your kitchen. You will most likely change all or nearly all of the entire room. The layout and flow might be completely altered. Typically, appliances, flooring, cabinets and countertops are replaced, as are backsplashes, paint and lighting. You might even add or enlarge a window.

A minor kitchen remodel is considerably smaller in scope. The original layout and flow of the kitchen will remain the same, or only be lightly modified. So, for the most part, the footprint of your kitchen will not change.

While many of the existing elements of your kitchen will remain the same, others will be altered. So, you might replace your flooring, refrigerator and the hardware on your cabinets, and finish with a fresh coat of paint. Or you might retain your floor but install quartz countertops. In other words, you might do some, but not all, of the work involved in a major remodel.

The second important factor is the quality of the materials used in your project and the appliances you select. Whether you choose upscale quartz countertops at the high end of the price range, or something similar in the midrange, this will have an impact on what you’ll be able to recoup when you sell. But those choices may not have the impact you think.

What is the ROI on a Kitchen Remodel?

According to a study done by Remodeling Magazine as presented in their 2020 Cost vs Value [link: https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2020/] report, you will at best recoup 78% of your investment. This means, for example, if you put $40,000 into your project, you won’t be able to add more than $32,000 to the asking price of your house.

The 78% ROI they report is for a minor remodel using midrange materials. Major remodeling projects did not provide that much of a return. Remodels that were major in scope that used upscale materials had an average return of 54%, while those using midrange materials were slightly better, at 59%.

But can you count on even that much? Estimates vary. Some real estate agents believe that on average the ROI on a kitchen remodel is 60%. Other sources estimate between 50 and 85%. Another study showed that the kitchen remodel did not increase the value of the home at all.

With such different statistics, how can you estimate what value a kitchen remodel will add to your house?

A third factor to consider is the current condition of your kitchen. If it is well-laid out with plenty of storage, appliances less than five years old and finishes that aren’t dated or worn, then a remodel won’t add a lot of value to your house.

On the other hand, if your floors are worn, you have chipped granite countertops, old appliances and dated finishes, then a remodel certainly will add some value.

The fourth factor is the standard of kitchens in your neighborhood. If you have the least efficient, most dated kitchen on the block, then an upgrade will assuredly have a positive effect on your house’s value. If you have a kitchen that is the envy of all your neighbors, then enhancing it won’t allow you to increase your asking price.

To Remodel or Not to Remodel?

When answering this question, keep in mind why you want to remodel your kitchen. Most people undertake kitchen remodels for themselves, not hypothetical future buyers. These homeowners can’t stand certain features of their kitchens and want to change them. They are doing the remodel so they can enjoy using their kitchen, not simply to make some extra money when they eventually sell their house.

What Should You Not Do in a Kitchen Remodel?

When you do decide to go ahead with your kitchen remodel, it’s easy to get caught up in creating your dream kitchen. There are a few mistakes that can end up being very costly. And while you’re not expecting an unrealistic return on your investment, you want to plan so that you get the most return possible.

There are a few common errors that people make. You can easily avoid them by following these tips.

1. Don’t sink a lot of money into your kitchen, thinking you will get 100% back when you sell. The only way this will happen is if your kitchen is horribly outdated with aging appliances. And even then, it’s not likely.

2. Don’t over improve. Make sure the end result will be in line with other homes in your neighborhood and price point.

3. Set a realistic budget for what you can afford. Don’t count on making a profit from this remodel. And don’t get fixated on having everything you’ve dreamed about. Prioritize the most important features and be willing to let a few of the others go.

4. Think ahead. If you’re not planning on selling for several years, select appliances that have a long life. You won’t want to buy new ones just before you leave.

How Can You Save Money on a Kitchen Remodel?

Proper planning and budgeting will help you keep the cost of your kitchen remodel within your means. Then you won’t feel pressured to get 100% return on your investment.

The first way you can save money on a kitchen remodel is to do your research up front. This isn’t just the fun part of looking at pictures of kitchens and dreaming about the features you want. It’s also important to have an idea of what things will cost, just to have a good sense of what money you’ll need for the new countertops or cabinets.

One way to do this is by checking out kitchen remodel cost estimators, like this one [link: https://homeguide.com/costs/kitchen-remodel-cost]. A tool like this, for example, will tell you that you can plan on spending between $250 and $350 a square foot. If you want all high-end finishes, then you can expect to spend at the upper end of this range. But don’t forget, using a formula can only give you a general figure of what your project might cost.

The estimator tool can also give you an idea of what new cabinets, countertops, flooring, appliances and other features can cost. Bear in mind that these are just estimates to help you with your initial planning. The estimate your contractor calculates will be based on the actual plan and finishes you choose. If you make major changes to the plumbing, for example, your cost will be much higher. And it will take into account the prevailing wages and costs in your area.

Once you have a ballpark estimate of what your remodel could cost, you need to set a budget.

If the estimate is more than what you’re willing to spend, think through what’s most important to you. And discuss it with your contractor. They’ll be able to help you figure out where you can trim some of the expense. For example, there are different grades of quartz countertops. Or you can choose a less expensive flooring material.

Then you’ll have to decide what your priorities are in planning your kitchen remodel. You will get more life out of higher quality materials. But you’ll get a lower return on investment when you sell. So, you’ll need to decide why you are remodeling: to get a financial return, or to create a kitchen you love. Or perhaps some of each.

In any case, being willing to give a little on less important features and putting your money in your highest priorities will help you save money on your remodel. And since you end up with the majority of what matters the most, you’ll be happy with the end result and have saved some money at the same time.

A great contractor will help you figure out which items will maximize your return on investment. They’ll know the condition of the houses in your area and will be able to guide you to make choices that will be in line with the neighborhood.

The Intangible Return on Investment of a Kitchen Remodel

Remember that remodeling your kitchen isn’t all about the money. Unless you’re planning to sell in the next year or so, you’re upgrading the kitchen for you.

Think about what bothers you about your kitchen. You don’t live in your house to be frustrated by an inefficient, outdated kitchen.

Consider how happy the remodeled kitchen will make you. If you can’t stand cooking on an electric stove, then changing to gas will be a good investment in your quality of life. If your dream is having an herb garden in your kitchen window, then that’s what you need. If you’ve always wanted a wine cooler in your kitchen, maybe you should go ahead and have one installed.

And there’s no reason not to build your dream kitchen if you can afford it. Just don’t count on getting all the money back when you sell your house. There’s no telling what you’ll get in terms of dollars and cents when you actually sell.

But you can make sure you’ll enjoy your kitchen as long as you stay in your house. Consider what it’s worth to create a space you’ll love cooking in, creating meals and memories for family and friends. When you think about it that way, the return on investment for a kitchen remodel can be priceless.

What are the Benefits of Home Additions?

Many people wonder what the benefits of a home addition are. After all, it’s a lot of work to plan a home addition. And then your life is disrupted for weeks and possibly months while the project is underway. Not to mention the major expense you can incur.

But home additions are very popular. That wouldn’t be the case if adding onto your home didn’t provide some very solid and worthwhile benefits. Here are just a few:

 

 

More Space

Who doesn’t want more space? Adding on to your home can be the answer.

You can get increased living space by adding on an entire room. Or by enclosing a porch or patio.

Sometimes you don’t even have to do that much. Even bumping a wall out by three or four feet can make a huge difference to the amount of space you have to work with.

 

Create Specialized Space

Instead of making your living or family room do double or triple duty, adding a room could give you some specialized space. You could create a private office for yourself or a study room for the kids. Or your addition could be a music room that you specially insulate so the rest of the family doesn’t have to hear every missed note. Or the addition could be a childproofed playroom or a mudroom for guests to take off muddy shoes or wet boots. Another possibility is a gym for the days you want to exercise at home.

 

More storage

Some people add on to their homes simply to have more storage space. And that’s something everyone wants.

By adding an addition to your home, you can easily increase your storage space. No more cluttered hall closets with the overflow of stuff that invades your living areas and makes the space feel smaller.

A smaller project such as enlarging your entrance could give you a welcoming foyer with a closet for guests’ coats.

Other options include creating a place to store your craft supplies. Or sports equipment and musical instruments. Or out of season clothing. Or toys. A home addition can easily give you extra organized storage space and liberate you from crammed, cluttered closets.

 

Improve Curb Appeal

Adding a bow window to your living room or enlarging the entrance to your home will make it look much more attractive. Not only will you enjoy the new, fresh look, but it will be more appealing to buyers when you decide to sell. And if you tuck some storage under that bow window, that’s just an added bonus.

 

Provide Housing for More Family Members

Maybe your kids are growing up and it’s time they all had their own rooms. Perhaps you have an elderly parent you’d like to have move in with you. Or a grown child has a need to stay with you for a time. Adding an extra room will make it possible for you to accommodate your family’s needs.

 

Make Some Extra Cash

If you’ve got an extra room, you could use it to generate some additional income. So if you’re adding on a room to accommodate a family member, think about the future. If you include a bathroom, kitchenette and separate entrance, you’ll be all set to rent out that space when it’s no longer needed for family and it won’t go to waste. Whether you decide to lease to a long-term renter or go for short-term vacation renters, you can start getting a return on your investment long before you sell the house.

 

Additions Can Be Cheaper than Moving

Many people move because they’ve outgrown their existing home. But moving can be expensive, stressful and time consuming. And if you really like your neighborhood, there’s no guarantee the new one will be as pleasant.

A carefully planned addition can give you the additional space you need, without the upheaval, uncertainty and stress of a move.

 

Add a Little Luxury

A home addition can give you the opportunity to add some luxury to your home. Expanding the master suite could result in his and her sinks in the bathroom, a larger closet and perhaps even a spa tub.

Enlarging your kitchen would allow you to add some of the features you’ve always wanted, like a wine cooler, chef’s stove or more counter space.

 

Add Natural Light

Adding a sunroom can bring more natural light into your home to give it a brighter feel.

 

Get Better Use out of Existing Space

A home addition project doesn’t always involve building a new structure. Suppose you have a screened porch you don’t use very often. You could enclose it and have an additional room that could be used three or four seasons in the year.

Other possibilities are refinishing your basement to become a family room or turning attic space into a bedroom. This way your existing space can be converted into space you will use and enjoy.

 

Add Value to Your Home

Additional square footage, in the form of an extra bedroom, bathroom or storage can add value to your home. However, you won’t get it all back when you sell. But the upgraded features will be appealing to buyers and you will be able to recoup some of the money you invested.

 

Add Personality to Your Home

Maybe you’ve grown tired of having a house that looks just like everyone else’s. Building an addition, whether as simple as an enlarged entrance or extensive as an entire room can add an appealing dose of personality to your house.

 

What are the drawbacks of home additions?

Before starting a home addition project, it’s vital to think through two major drawbacks.

The first is that a space tradeoff could be involved. If you add a room or garage to the back of your house, you’ll lose some of your space in the yard. This will of course be more of an issue for people with small lots.

The second is the expense. Additions can cost more than moving. If you’ve got a very extensive project in mind, you could end up sinking a lot of money into your house. And if you over-improve your house so you are out of line with the neighborhood, you won’t have a very good return on your investment. In this case, moving might be the more economical option.

 

What are the top home additions?

Having thought about benefits and drawbacks, let’s consider some of the top types of home additions. Since these are so popular, they will not only give you more space and functionality but will add value to your home.

 

Second Floor Additions

Adding on to the second floor allows people to move bedrooms upstairs, giving family members more privacy. At the same time, you’ve freed up more living space on the first floor. And by building above the existing footprint of your house, you don’t lose any yard space.

 

Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory dwelling units, or living spaces that are not attached to the main dwelling, are becoming more popular. Not only do they add resale value, they give you flexibility as your family grows or shrinks. They can also provide a source of extra income.

Most people add accessory dwelling units by converting a shed or detached garage into a unit with a bedroom, sitting area, kitchen and bathroom.

 

Chef’s Kitchens

As more people are discovering the delight of home cooked meals, they want a more functional space to work in. Adding just a few more feet of space can often feel like a lot, giving you the joy of not working in cramped conditions, along with having room for all the fun gadgets and tools you’ll be working with. You can expect a fairly good return on investment on a kitchen expansion when you sell your house.

 

Dormers

Dormer windows add natural light while adding a little space to rooms with slanted ceilings. They also enhance curb appeal and resale value.

 

Bump Outs

Bump outs are a popular option, as all that’s involved is extending a room by a few feet. This small addition can make a huge difference to the usable space in the room, and you don’t sacrifice much yard space to get it.

 

Florida Rooms

Florida rooms, sometimes called California rooms, are popular ways to create an indoor/outdoor space. These rooms have a ceiling and large glass windows, but they remain open to the outdoors on one or more sides. You can enjoy natural light and being out of doors, and the space can be used as either indoor or outdoor.

 

Sunrooms

Sunrooms are another popular way to add to a home. Unlike Florida rooms, they are closed on all sides. A standard feature is huge windows and occasionally, skylights. Sunrooms give you extra space for three or four seasons in the year, depending on where you live.

 

Planning Your Home Addition

As you can see, there are many options for adding to your home. It’s important to keep in mind that good planning is the key to creating a home addition that you’ll love. When you plan your addition, carefully consider your budget, how long you want the project to last, and what realistic increase in your home’s value you can expect.

Perhaps this list has inspired you to think about your own home addition project. By adding on to your house, you can solve storage or crowding problems without having to go through the upheaval and headaches of selling your house and moving. Resolving these problems will make your home more comfortable for you to enjoy living in and increase its resale value.

Do you have a home addition project in mind but aren’t sure how to get started? Or you feel cramped in your house and aren’t sure what to do about it? Give us a call and we can offer some suggestions that can help you make your home more efficient and comfortable, while increasing its value. And most important, your new home addition will make you love your home even more.

If you’d like, we can provide an estimate of what your project might cost. We’ll do our best to be responsive to your needs. Just give us a call to get started today.

How Do You Know it’s Time to Remodel Your Kitchen?

Remodeling a kitchen can be an expensive project. So it’s natural for people to put it off. But then they wonder, when is the best time to create their dream kitchen? 

And since so much money can be involved, homeowners don’t want to make a mistake. Instead, they want to get the best value for their money and maximize the return they’ll get from their investment.

 Also, remodeling a kitchen can disrupt your life for a few weeks. So, you don’t want to undertake a remodel when you’ve got other major life events looming. But let’s assume you’ve got the space in your personal life so you can put some energy into upgrading your kitchen. 

Is now a good time to remodel your kitchen? 

There’s no easy answer to this question. Much of the answer depends on your why.

 

Why Do You Want to Remodel Your Kitchen?

Think about what’s fueling your desire for a new kitchen. If you’re facing a situation like a significant electrical code violation, appliances from the 80s, and a floor that testifies to more than one generation of teenagers growing up in the house, then probably an entire remodel is long overdue. But most of us aren’t in those circumstances.

So, think hard about what’s causing you pain in your kitchen. According to one survey from Houzz, almost half of the people who remodeled their kitchens said it was because they couldn’t stand their kitchens anymore.

But did they really need to remodel?

  

What are the Pain Points of Your Current Kitchen?

Carefully consider the features of your kitchen that frustrate and bother you the most. The ones that cause you the most pain. Some of the most common ones are:

Clutter

One of the biggest complaints people have about their kitchens is that they look cluttered and untidy. Kitchen tools, spices, and other items crowd the counter space, leaving little room to work.

Instead of jumping to the idea that you need a larger kitchen or all new cabinets, maybe all you need to do is install organizers in your cabinets and drawers. Or perhaps add sliding drawers in your cabinets so you can make use of the hard-to-reach space in the back. In either case, you’ll be able to get rid of the clutter on your counters. Then you’ll be better able to decide if you really need more counter space or not.

Inefficient Flow

Another common problem is that the layout of the kitchen is inefficient. Before redesigning your kitchen, try to see if you can reorganize for efficiency. Store the things you often use within easy reach. Stash the stuff you use only a few times a year on high shelves or in the back of cabinets. This simple fix might be the solution. Even if it’s not, you’ll probably have a clearer idea of what you need in terms of cabinets and storage.

The Workspace is Secluded

Nowadays, most people want to feel like their part of the party. What’s the point of having family and friends over if you’re going to be isolated in the kitchen? And most people have struggled with preparing dinner while keeping an eye on what the kids are up to in the family room. Remodeling your kitchen to create an open plan seems to be the obvious solution.

But before you dive into a remodel, try rearranging small appliances or adding a mobile kitchen cart. Even if this doesn’t help much, you might get a few ideas for what kind of kitchen layout will work best for you.

Your Kitchen is Too Dark

Of course, you want good lighting in your kitchen. While sometimes you might prefer romantic dim light, it’s a different story when you’re chopping onions. Upgrading lighting might be the solution. Or a fresh coat of paint on dark cabinets could lighten things up.

Outdated or Overly Trendy Finishes

Your kitchen might be perfectly functional and efficient.

But you may have grown tired of what was once trendy. For example, you’re sick of the open shelving that forces you to keep your cupboards tidy. Or you cringe every time you try to clean the granite countertops that are stained and chipped. Or perhaps your mosaic backsplash or subway tile makes your kitchen look frumpy and out of date. Or your kitchen island is a great workspace, but no one can sit and eat at it. And you’ve grown to despise the oversized drawer pulls that were all the rage ten years ago.

You might be able to fix some of this without a major remodel. For example, replacing a backsplash or cabinet hardware is relatively inexpensive. Countertops and redoing the layout are more costly fixes.

Your Kitchen Lacks Features You Want

Maybe you really want a gas stove, and yours is electric. Or you want a double sink, a wine cooler, pantry, island, breakfast nook…the list could go on. When you start thinking of deficiencies in your kitchen like this, now a remodel is looking like your best solution.

The Kitchen is Too Small

Now we’re getting to more challenging things to fix. For example, suppose you live in an older home, and the kitchen doesn’t even have space for a dishwasher. Looking into remodeling will most likely be your only option for making your kitchen work for you.

You’re Getting Ready to Sell

We’ve all heard from real estate agents that the kitchen is the heart of the home. And that kitchens and bathrooms are what sell the house. So, you might be thinking that if you are putting your house on the market in the next few years, this might be the time to remodel your kitchen.

While you certainly will want to spruce up your kitchen so it looks your best, a complete remodel might not be what you need.

Once you’ve tried the easy fixes and thought through what you want from your kitchen, you’re in a much better place to decide if the time is right to remodel.

This brings us to the next factor involved in deciding if this is the right time to remodel your kitchen.

What is the Cost of Remodeling Your Kitchen?

If you think you can spend $40,000 on a kitchen remodel and then sell your house for $40,000 more than you would have asked, think again. The average return on investment for a kitchen remodel is between 60 and 80%. While return on investment varies depending on the scope and quality of materials used [link to roi article], it’s important to remember you won’t get all your money back when you sell your house.

Major kitchen remodels can cost over $60,000, while minor remodels are more in the $20,000 to $30,000 range. The quality of the appliances and finishes you choose will have a big impact on the final price tag.

So, it is critical to establish your budget. You don’t want to spend more than you can afford, hoping to recoup it with the sale of your house. Instead, set a realistic budget, and accept that you won’t be able to do all that you want to. Or else wait until you have the means to do the project to create your dream kitchen.

What are Different Types of Kitchen Remodels?

Deciding if you are going for a major or minor remodel will greatly impact the price tag. Understanding the difference will help you decide which is right for you.

There are three general types.

Cosmetic remodels involve items like refinishing the floors, repainting cabinets, changing cabinet hardware or upgrading the lighting. These projects are very limited in scope.

Minor remodeling means that the basic layout and flow of your kitchen will most likely remain the same. You might replace some appliances and put down a new floor. Or instead you’ll put in new cabinets and backsplashes. In other words, you might do fairly significant work, but you won’t replace everything.

Don’t be fooled by the word minor. This type of remodel could cost $20,000 or more, depending on the price of the materials you use. If you opt for top of the line appliances, flooring and quartz countertops, things will add up quickly.

Major remodeling involves gutting the kitchen, reworking the layout, and replacing most of the appliances, flooring and cabinets. A major remodel could even include taking down a wall or adding a door or window. Work of this scope will easily cost more than $60,000. A lot depends on the quality of materials you choose and the size of your kitchen.

Choosing the scope of your remodel is a very personal decision. It comes back to why you want to remodel. For most people, the biggest reason for remodeling is to eliminate features they hate about their kitchen, replacing them with features they will love.

How Long Does a Kitchen Remodel Take?

This is another factor to consider. While good contractors work hard to minimize the disruption to your life, you’ll want to take that into consideration during your planning. Major remodels take at least three to five months. Generally, minor remodels take less time.

If you’re remodeling to sell and need to be out of your house in three months, then your focus should be on a minor remodel, taking care of the things that can be done the quickest.

When is the Right Time to Remodel Your Kitchen?

Now we’re back to the question we started with. If you’ve thought through what you don’t like about your kitchen and easy fixes won’t be enough, then this is a good time to consider a remodel.

If you’re thinking of selling in the next few years, then some remodeling will most likely be a good idea. You won’t get all the money back, but a fresh updated kitchen will help your house to sell faster.

If you’re planning to stay in your home for a few years and there are things that you just can’t stand about your kitchen or stress you out, why suffer with them? Think through the things that you really want from your kitchen, what will make you happy and make it more enjoyable for you to be in your home. Set a budget and scope for your remodel. And look forward to enjoying your newly remodeled kitchen.