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The advantage of having an addition
or sunroom added is that it will increase the value of your home and it
will be another room for three season usage. We construct only
Approved sunrooms and additions . House additions often require
the expertise of an architect or designer. To avoid making costly,
time-consuming mistakes, take advantage of their design skills and
specialized training. They can suggest solutions and use materials
creatively to save money, time, and contribute to the customization of
Once you have a plan and are ready
to consider contractors, protect yourself and your home by making sure
you get the following information about each contractor or
- Length of time in business.
- References for projects completed. Ask to see
current projects, too.
- Copies of contractorâ€™s licensing, workersâ€™ comp
insurance, and liability insurance. Make sure all licensing and
insurance is current and in force for the duration of your project.
- Copy of the contractorâ€™s contract. Read it
carefully to make sure that you are protected.
- Copies of estimates and warranties that specify
exactly what the contractor is going to do, is liable for, and how
long heâ€™ll guarantee his work.
Good contractors are professionals and want to serve
you the best way they can. Ask questions until youâ€™re satisfied. If you
can establish good relationships with your contractors, the dust and
inconvenience of a home addition will be well worth it!
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Let's say the old homestead just isn't doing it for you
anymore. It's too small or outdated. You'd like the kind of home
they're building today -- with a glorious foyer, big windows
everywhere, a huge kitchen and opulent bathrooms.
Should you upgrade the house you've got or move? It's a
With our early 1950s ranch house, my wife and I opted for
remodeling. We built a kitchen and family room addition,
converted the old kitchen to an office and put skylights
By doing a lot of work ourselves, we saved a bundle. And
we've stayed in a neighborhood we love, where our son has lots
On the other hand, we've been at it for seven or eight years
and nothing is completely finished. I've lived in construction
sites most of my adult life, so I don't particularly care. But
lots of people don't want to live this way. They want the
improvements done now. Or they want to
How do you weigh the pros and cons of the remodel-or-move
Ultimately, you'll need to get some contractors to price your
proposed improvements. And you'll have to house-hunt to assess
the moving option.
But first, take a look at a month-old Web site called
www.remodelormove.com. It has an intriguing calculator for
comparing the costs of the two choices.
The program asks 35 questions, starting with a couple of
• What could you get for your home and what would it cost to
buy one with all the features you want?
• Then it gets to the nitty-gritty. How long have you lived
there and how long would you stay in it after remodeling, or in
the one you might buy?
• If you remodel, would you hire a general contractor or
manage the project yourself?
• How many baths would you redo?
• What about the kitchen?
• Would you add a second story?
• If you sell, would you do it yourself or hire a broker?
• Would you hire a full-service moving company or just rent a
truck and move yourself?
The final 10 questions attempt to assess the hard-to-quantify
"gut feeling" issues. How do you feel about the neighborhood
schools and how important is that? Do you like the neighborhood
and is it convenient to your work? Do you need the perfect
house, one that's adequate or something in between?
I tried the calculator with a hypothetical suburban home
worth $300,000, assuming that the perfect replacement would cost
On the remodeling option, I decided to have pros do just
about everything -- adding a bath, remodeling two others and
redoing the kitchen. If I sold, I said I'd hire an agent and a
But I said I loved the neighborhood I was in.
Result: The program suggested I stay where I am and remodel
at an estimated net cost of about $50,000. This was the cost of
the improvements and the financing for those improvements for
the 10 years I'd stay in the house, minus the value I'd recoup
when the house was sold eventually.
The cost of moving was around $89,000. About $34,000 of that
would be for the real estate agent's commission for selling the
current home and moving costs. And the estimate included $55,000
to finance the extra $100,000 I'd need to buy the new home. I
wouldn't need the full $100,000 because I'd sell in 10 years.
Obviously, a computer's advice has to be taken with a dose of
skepticism. The calculator does not let the user modify factors
such as the interest rate on any new mortgage. And in real life,
you'd need to gather your own figures for things like
construction costs and mover's charges.
In the just-released report, a minor kitchen remodel and
siding replacement led the list of most valuable projects, with
an estimated 93 percent return. Mid-range bathroom additions and
remodels were estimated to return about 90 percent of their
cost. A deck addition that was said to more than pay for itself
in 2003 fell to an 88-percent estimated return this year.
Remodeling a basement or adding a sunroom brought up the end of
the list of 18 items, with estimated returns of 76 and 72
Keep in mind these figures assume pros do all the work.
Skilled do-it-yourselfers can make many projects profitable.
The latest report is at
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