| 3 min read

    Is a Home Addition Worth It? Weighing the Pros and Cons

    When a home runs out of space, there are several options: move, renovate unused or underused space, or construct an addition. Deciding what's best for your "bursting at the seams" situation is a matter of examining the needs and considering the pros and cons of each path.  

    Here are just a few of the challenges clients come to us with when considering an addition:

    • The family is growing
    • We need more storage
    • We need more space for entertaining

    Here in New England, garages in older homes are often used for storage because they are too small for modern autos. Add the need for space to keep vehicles out of the harsh weather, and the list could go on.

    With such a big decision, when is a home addition worth it?

    Home Addition Versus Purchasing an Existing Home

    It might be time to pick up and move. Or a home addition will give you the space you are looking for. Either choice involves disruption to daily life, so how do you choose?

    Suppose you find an existing home that meets all your needs and is in a neighborhood you like—fantastic! It means a big move, but you get the bedrooms, entertaining space, garage space, and whatever is on the list of must-haves.

    While buying a home may be the right decision, it has its challenges. Buying a house and moving costs a lot in time, money, and general anxiety. And while the new home may have all the space you want, other things may need to be changed - paint, carpet, or even making plans for minor renovations in the near or distant future.

    In what can seem like a perpetual seller's market here in coastal New England, finding the right home and accepting an offer may take a year or more. If you need to sell your existing home to purchase a new home, the offer is less attractive to the seller. The timeline of selling your home and getting into the new home can be incredibly tight.

    Another challenge: you may be carrying a beautifully low-interest mortgage. The terms are less favorable right now. When rates are high, and homes sell 20 to 30% over asking, that safe, predictable, low-interest mortgage payment can look very attractive.


    When Moving Might Be Necessary

    Sometimes, moving is the only reasonable option. My own experience is a good example.

    Years ago, we lived in a home on a 7,000-square-foot lot. It was a nice location, but the longer we lived there, the more we ran out of space. The yard was small for kids and entertaining, and there was no garage. We considered building on, adding a two-car garage and a primary suite above the garage.

    When it came down to it, an addition did not make sense for a young family in this home. Our must-have checklist was more significant than the available space. So we found a place that met our needs, and we've been there ever since.  

    Every home and family is different. The decision to move, stay, and renovate will be based on your unique criteria.

    Remodeling Existing Space

    What about the unused or underused space in a home? This might be an unfinished basement or attic. Removing walls, shifting the kitchen and other common spaces, and generally realigning the overall floor plan could also create a better overall flow.

    Remodeling existing space is generally less expensive than adding square footage. It can be done more quickly and with less disruption than building a new addition. There will always be permitting hurdles, but far fewer than when adding square footage to a home. With a renovation, you get enhanced aesthetics and functionality without increasing the home's footprint.

    On the other hand, your renovation wish list is limited by the home's current structure and square footage. You might need to compromise on creating the exact space you hope for, and the existing space renovation may not address your entire needs list.


    Building an Addition

    What are the pros and cons of building an addition?

    On the "pros" side, you've built many great memories in this home. The idea of making it even better is appealing.

    Especially if your hope is for this to be your "forever home," there is an opportunity to take what is not working and fix it, creating space to grow into and enjoy for a long time. This can increase the value of your personal use of the home, and an addition can add financial value to your home.

    When you decide to stay in your home, you avoid the headache of uprooting the family and the stress of researching and buying a new home.

    Still, there are some things to keep in mind. An addition is a significant investment, both financially and in terms of time. The process will inevitably disrupt your daily routine, and you may need to move out during at least part of the renovation process.

    Who you choose as a partner to build the addition makes a big difference. A good design-build firm will help you make the right choices for your situation and help navigate the process from the idea stage to zoning and permits to the completion of the project.  

    Deciding What Is Right for You

    Homeowners need to understand all their options. Whether you choose to move, renovate existing space, or build an addition, understanding the pros and cons of each will help you make the best decision for your situation. If you love where you live, an addition can make the most of your home over the long term.

    Whatever you do, it is essential to consult with a trusted design-build partner to help you choose the right options.

    To learn more about home additions, please download our FREE eBook - Home Additions 101: How to Plan a Home Addition That Perfectly Meets Your Family Needs. And if you are ready to speak about your next renovation, please schedule a home renovation discovery session.

    home additions 101

    Leave a comment