Home additions are a big home related project in every sense of the word. They can change your property in a considerable way, transforming not only the size and function of the interior, but also the appearance of the exterior. There is a lot of planning and work to be done on such a project, not to mention a commitment to investing a sizeable amount. When all of these factors are weighed together, it becomes apparent that the stakes are particularly high with home additions and that there’s little margin for error. In light of this, it’s especially important to avoid making what we would consider to be fairly basic mistakes during the design and construction processes, as even slight errors can set you back thousands and seriously push back the completion date.
We’ve been involved in numerous projects in Toronto involving home additions over the years and have often been called in to resolve issues caused by other contractors’ poor work and decisions. We’re going to share some of the main mistakes you need to avoid during this post.
Benefit From Our Experience With Home Additions By Avoiding the Following Mistakes
A home addition often interests a homeowner as their property is no longer able to satisfactorily meet their requirements, but they aren’t too keen on the idea of moving. In essence, home additions offer the best of both worlds – providing you with the facilities you require in the location that you love. However, the following mistakes can often turn what should be a dream project into a nightmare.
- Hiring the Wrong Contractor – Home additions are certainly not a project you can attempt on your own; even the most skilled DIYer in the world will need “backup” in the form of a general contractor or experienced home addition experts. While the vast majority of homeowners recognize this need, many aren’t thorough enough during the hiring process and end up collaborating with a contractor that doesn’t have the skills, resources or experience to turn the vision the homeowner has into a reality. Some important tips that you must follow during this process include interviewing multiple contractors, utilizing multiple checks to qualify a contractor (not just price or availability!), consulting several individuals that have worked with the contractor on a similar project and actually seeing the contractor in action.
- Exceeding Your Budget – Budgets exist for a reason. We set a financial limit on how much we’re willing to spend on a project as that’s the most that we can comfortably afford to spend. However, too often, maybe due to poor planning, a homeowner will exceed the budget they initially established for the work they want doing. This can be very, very dangerous with home additions, as last minute changes can end up costing thousands extra and we’ve heard horror stories where homeowners have had to take out second mortgages and even sell possessions such as cars to be able to afford the extra costs. The contractors at Karen Homes will always work with the budget you have available, making you aware of what can be achieved with the financial resources you have and providing you with accurate estimates for all materials and labour before you even hire us. Whichever contractor you end up working with, make sure that they do the same!
- Uncoordinated Design – We always advise any homeowner that approaches us with a request relating to home additions to keep the appearance, style and layout of the existing part of their property at the forefront of their minds when planning the addition. Ideally the new part of your home should blend in effortlessly with what’s already there, but sometimes homeowners think that a contrasting design might work well. However, at least in our experience of working in Toronto for many years, it rarely does. Using contrasting designs for the two parts of the home typically creates a fragmented, uncoordinated look that is likely to make your home less appealing to others (which could be an issue if you ever decide to sell) and could gain your property a reputation as the “neighbourhood eyesore.”
- Making the Home Addition Too Big – We know that we said that home additions are a big project, but we didn’t necessarily mean literally! Your home addition only needs to be big enough to meet your requirements. If the addition is built to be larger than the original building, especially if the same style isn’t maintained, the whole structure can look a little, well, ridiculous. Furthermore, you shouldn’t underestimate the value and usefulness of having a good sized yard and you don’t want to eat into that space unnecessarily.
- Falling Victim to a Costly Scam – Again, this mistake has to do with a lack of research and can end up being very, very costly. One of the most common ways contractors scam unsuspecting homeowners interested in home additions is to demand a very sizeable fee upfront. If the contractor you consult with sets these conditions, there’s only one thing you need to do: Run. That’s what they will likely do once your cash is safely in their possession. Any reputable contractor won’t typically ask for a down payment that exceeds 10 – 20 percent of the project total. This is because they will likely already have many of the resources required to start work and , if you think about it, paying a large proportion of the total upfront really provides little incentive for the contractor to work as efficiently as they possibly can. Also make sure you have a written contract and an agreed upon payment schedule before any work is done.
If you’ve never undertaken a project on the scale of a home addition before, the entire process can be very overwhelming and we’re here to make it a little less daunting for you. Contact us today for help, advice or to arrange a consultation. We are also capable of handling basement remodeling, bathroom remodeling and kitchen remodeling projects.