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Cost of adding on to your house
Old 03-27-2011, 12:45 AM   #1
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Cost of adding on to your house

So we are thinking about adding on to our house. We would be adding a master bedroom/bath and enlarging out kitchen. In total, we would be adding to 920 sq ft. We gotten a few different quotes and they seem to range from around $175-$210 sq/ft. Houses here usually go for between $350-$400 sq/ft.

We are in CA, so I expect things to be more expensive than say TX. But certain costs like drywall, framing can't be that variable can they?

So, how much does it cost to add on in your area? And how does it compare to housing prices?
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Old 03-27-2011, 04:59 AM   #2
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Consider the expansion cost + the value of the existing house and compare it to selling and buying an existing home with the space you need.

If you are up-sizing... the weak real estate market might be in your favor... as opposed to downsizing!
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Old 03-27-2011, 06:22 AM   #3
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Consider the expansion cost + the value of the existing house and compare it to sellng and buying an existing home with the space you need.
We did the same analysis many years ago, also including looking at the taxes we would be paying in both locations.

Our decision was to build new, rather than expand. We have no regrets, many years later...
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:42 AM   #4
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Prices for an existing home include price of the land. I would imagine that is pretty high in California. When you are adding on, the land is obviously not included so one would expect the price per square foot to be lower.

Here prices for an existing home are 25%-30% of the prices per square foot that you cite. Still, people do add on to their homes. I don't have a price per square foot for additions, but I do know that who does the addition for you and what your requirements are makes a huge difference, here.

Although I believe the tax assessor is supposed to raise the assessment after additions, I'm not sure he actually does that right away in all cases, here.
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:13 AM   #5
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Consider the expansion cost + the value of the existing house and compare it to selling and buying an existing home with the space you need.

If you are up-sizing... the weak real estate market might be in your favor... as opposed to downsizing!
That's the process we are going through now. It looks like adding on has a slight advantage over buying an existing one. We really like the layout and location of our house and this add-on would give it the space we need. And most of the other properties we've seen wouldn't be as nice as our added-on house would be.

There is an irrational financial concern in the mix too. We are less than < 90K from paying off this house. I'm debt averse and was very excited about paying this off in 4 years or so. Yes we can pay for this in cash but that'd would be a dent in our portfolio that is slowly approaching the magic number!
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:24 AM   #6
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As W2R indicated the cost of the land and development costs are included in the SF cost of for sale homes, which increase those costs. The biggest issue on add-on's will be hidden and unknown costs. I am quite sure that the $175-200 SF costs you were quoted have lots of riders, that could potentially increase that SF cost if the contractor encounters something unforeseen. That often happens when you tear into a wall, you find wood rot, or signs of water damage, or termites, or find the foundation has sagged and has to be reshored, the electrical panel or water main or sewer isn't large enough to accommodate the new addition, or any number of other unforeseen conditions. So you just need to be prepared for that but carrying a healthy contingency.

About a year ago we were going to build a house I had designed (I am an Architect) but we found we could buy an existing house, remodel it, and still be way ahead of the game. The builder who did our renovation told me afterwards that he could NOT have built the renovated house for the price we paid for it. I agree with him, the designed home was nice but in hindsight I am very glad we opted to not build and bought this instead. Good luck!
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:39 AM   #7
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The type of room you are adding on obviously makes a big difference, kitchens and bathrooms being the most expensive. I added on to my house in Arizona back in 2004, it was a 420sq-ft family room, and paid about $50sq-ft. I did put in the wood flooring myself which saved some on the total cost.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:46 AM   #8
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My grandmother's cousin had a 12x16 addition put on her house last summer. Total cost was around $17,000. Now, it was just a bedroom with a closet, and nothing fancy. It has electric baseboard strips for heat (cheap to install, but EXPENSIVE to use!) and for cooling, there's a framed hole in the wall that a window unit a/c fits in. Cheap initially, I'm sure, and probably not THAT expensive to cool, but I bet there's a lot of heat loss in the winter!

The addition also has 9-foot ceilings so that it blends with the rest of the house. I'd imagine that added a bit to the cost, compared to an 8-foot ceiling.

I figure her cost came to about $88.50 per square foot. This is Maryland, Prince George's County. Of course, your mileage may vary ;-)
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:04 PM   #9
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Upgrading in place is a messy process. But if you think you can stand it, you will avoid the costs of two realtors, 2 lawyers, and moving. You might make out better financially by moving, but that would be by taking substantial extra risks.

A home is not an investment but a lifestyle expense. Take the lowest cost path to satisfaction.
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:10 PM   #10
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Here prices for an existing home are 25%-30% of the prices per square foot that you cite. Still, people do add on to their homes. I don't have a price per square foot for additions, but I do know that who does the addition for you and what your requirements are makes a huge difference, here.

Although I believe the tax assessor is supposed to raise the assessment after additions, I'm not sure he actually does that right away in all cases, here.
Forgot to reply to your post earlier W2R. Your point is exactly why I'm surprised that people in cheaper real estate markets do home additions. I can't imagine that it makes financial sense to add on when housing is so cheap.

Yeah, our county assessors tacks on the value of the addition to our basis. In our case, that would probably save us about 2.5K a year in taxes if we bought an equivalent size house.

zinger1457, we are definitely doing one of the more expensive additions since it's we completely redoing our kitchen and adding a master bath. We are probably leaning towards to doing if we can get the cost down to about $180 sq/ft.
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Old 03-30-2011, 08:58 AM   #11
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California also. In 1987 we added 400 sq ft at $100/ft when housing sold for about $110/ft. In 1999 we added another 500 sq ft to the same house at $205/ft when the house was worth about $220/ft. We enjoyed the design and construction process, and got just what we wanted. We don't regret it at all. Our property taxes are half of what we would be paying if we had sold/bought in 1999 instead of adding on.
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