If your home is no longer providing the space your family or lifestyle demand you have 3 options. Move, accept or build an addition. Perhaps moving isn’t something your family wants to do. They love the house and can’t fathom turning it over to someone else. Accepting the current situation isn’t really going to work in the long run either. So you’re left with building a home addition. However, if you’re like most folks you don’t have a clue how to get the process started.
The Process of Home Additions
Home additions are often the most sensible solution for the spatially-challenged although getting from idea to reality is not as simple as snapping your fingers. There’s a lot involved but it doesn’t have to be an intimidating process if you follow a few well-established steps.
- Identify your objectives – Home additions come in all shapes and sizes and serve different purposes. It doesn’t make sense to do anything else until you decide exactly what you’re after. What type of space do you need? Do you want to build up or out? On the back or side of the house? Will there be plumbing involved? You don’t have to draw up elaborate floor plans but you do need to nail down some goals.
- Inspect the site – Now that you have a better idea of what you want you need to determine if it’s physically possible. Grab a pen and paper and go outside. Inspect the area you want to expand into and take notes. Will an addition interfere with desirable views from other rooms? Are there power lines, fuel tanks or other utilities in the way? Will you need to cut down trees, tear down an old garage or relocate a septic tank?
- Clear it with city hall – Once you’re sure you have the space to expand into the next step is finding out if the powers that be in downtown Toronto will allow it. There may be building codes that restrict the total square footage of the house. At the very least there will likely be constraints on how close you can build to the property line, how tall you can build and certain design restrictions that will have to be honored.
- Formulate a budget – Once you’re clear with city hall you’ll need to determine if you can afford it. While material and labor prices will vary a simple addition will typically cost in the neighborhood of $120 per square foot. If you have expensive tastes you can double or triple that. Add another 20% to cover the unforeseen and now you’ve got some idea of the cost. But be careful: If your reach exceeds your grasp you could wind up having angry, unpaid contractors putting a lien on your property.
- Hire a general contractor – Anytime a home improvement project will involve 2 or more different trades you’ll want to hire a general contractor. This isn’t a suggestion, it’s a practical necessity. GC’s handle all aspects of the construction process from permitting to clean up and will save you time, money and a thousand headaches along the way. Home additions are not DIY projects and shouldn’t be approached as such.
If you’re contemplating a home addition give Karen Homes a call on 416-661-6006 to learn more details about the process. We’ve built scores of custom homes and home additions in the Toronto area over the past 15 years and have an ever growing list of satisfied clients to show for our efforts. With Karen Homes on the job you’ll get the addition you’ve long wanted at a price you can afford.