So month we discussed the whole idea of home additions and some of the common mistakes we’ve seen over the years. This month we’re going to turn the tables a little bit and talk about additions from the planning side and focus more on what you should do.
Home additions are a big decision so making sure you take the correct steps in the planning process will help you avoid major pitfalls later on. Let’s jump right in!
Do your permitting, get your legal documentation
If you’re serious about this, you’re going to have to gather a lot of items – first and foremost legal documentation about your property and then eventually – pulling your permits. You’ll need an accurate plot plan of your property that accurately shows the property lines and proximity of your buildings to those lines.
You have two things to be aware of, here – not building ‘outside’ of your legal jurisdiction and zoning ordinances. You can get these documents at your local registry of deeds.
Before you see any designs, spec work or any of that stuff – set a budget that you’re comfortable with. The worst thing that could possibly happen would be for you to fall in love with some hypothetical design and you talk yourself into stretching yourself thin. Develop a budget that includes the actual hard cost, a contingency plan (for mistakes, unexpected ‘uh-oh’s’), the increase in property taxes, the utility expense hit you’ll take with the expansion and then of course – insurance.
Then stick to it. If it looks like your desired project will stretch past your financial means to execute it appropriately, then don’t do it.
Needs vs. Wants
Is this an expansion that you need to have? Or is it just buying you a little extra space to put your feet up? And this is an honest and serious question. Because every decision you make has to have this conversation accompany it. There’s a lot of things we all want to have. And if you can afford them all – then great! But if not, you need to focus on the life-essential pieces of that expansion and prioritize money for them.
Tell your neighbors
It’s just a courtesy. You’re not required to, either – but if you do live in a neighborhood where houses are packed in tight, it can save a lot of headaches. That and you can answer any of their questions before the project actually gets going.
This is the most important thing for anyone. Be realistic with your budget, your needs and your expectations of what will get done and when. People sometimes dream a little bit too much and assume these projects will be completed without snags, without a disturbance to their lives and others. Even small projects can take a lot longer than you’d think they would and cause disruption. Just be ready for it, roll with the punches and be content with where you’re at.
Good luck and if you’re in the Tampa area and are looking to put an addition on your home – give us a call!
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