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Portland Design Build Remodeling Blog

5 Questions to Ask When Planning a Home Addition in Portland, OR

Posted by Lane Cooper on Jan 3, 2022 12:11:27 PM

Maybe your family is outgrowing your home and you don’t want to move, or you bought a small house that you’d always planned to expand. Whatever the reason, tackling your Portland, Oregon home addition can be serious work. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. We pride ourselves on giving our customers the best experience possible; that means giving them — and you — the information you need to plan ahead. So, if you’re wondering how to add an addition to your home in the suburban Portland, Oregon area, start by answering these questions!

#1 What do I want? 

Tackle this question by asking yourself why you’re considering a home addition in the first place. What’s wrong with your home as-is? Is it no longer big enough for your family? Is your kitchen outdated and uncomfortable? Or is your bedroom simply too cramped? 

Be as specific as you can about your needs and the ways in which you’d like to see your life improve as a result of the addition. Once you’ve identified what you need out of the remodel, it’s time to think about what you want. Dream big here. Imagine all the things your dream addition would have: enough space for a new entertainment area perhaps, or the master suite you’ve always wanted. Then write your needs and wants down in a list — it’ll be a helpful resource to reference throughout the project. 

Now, it’s time to prioritize your list based on what's most important to you. Some people find it helpful to break their remodeling ideas into categories such as “Must-Have”, “Nice-to-Have”, and “If Money is No Object.” This can be a big help when you set your budget for the project — but more on that below!

# 2 How Big of an Addition Do I Need for My Home?

Ultimately, house addition planning is about creating a design that transforms your current space into one that helps to solve your life's problems. The first step in that process is figuring out how much space you have to work with. 

So, take a look at your needs column in the list you made earlier. Ask yourself: can my needs be accommodated within my home’s current footprint? Or do I need to add some extra square footage? If you don’t need to add space, skip ahead to the next question! But, if you do, here are some tips to help you figure out exactly how big your home addition should be. 

Start by determining whether you want to add a new room altogether or simply expand one of your current rooms. Then, estimate the square footage of your expansion or addition. A quick Google search will give you the square footage for an average bedroom, bathroom, or other addition. But, if you plan to expand a room, you’ll need to break out the measuring tape! Measure the room’s current size — knowing that information that will allow you to more accurately estimate how much square footage to add. 

If you want to be extra thorough, consult with an interior designer or remodeler located in your Portland suburb!

#3 What’s My Investment Range?

Now, look deeply into your pocketbook. How much money do you have in savings and liquid investments? How much equity do you have in your home that you’d be willing to borrow against? How is your credit rating? How much of a monthly payment could you add to your budget? To make things easy, we've written an article about the cost of adding a home addition in Portland. Knowing what you can afford is critical to planning your home addition, so here’s a couple of things to keep in mind. 

Set a Realistic Budget

It’s one thing to have a rough idea of what you can afford, but setting a realistic budget brings things into sharper focus. Will you finance your remodeling project, or do you have the cash on hand? If you’re planning to finance, make sure you have your loan set before you begin designing or building. When setting your budget, include a contingency fund for unforeseen expenses and upgrades you may decide to include. The amount is up to you; 10 to 20 percent of your budget is realistic. Your remodeler will work with you to create a budget, but it’s a good idea to estimate that your budget will be upfront. 

Think About Value — Not Just Cost

A successful home addition isn’t about getting the job done for the lowest price. It’s about getting the most value for the work done at a price that is within your budget. That’s why you should consider Return on Investment while planning your finances. ROI is the amount of value an addition or remodel will add to your home divided by how much the project cost. If your remodel yields a high ROI, you’ll likely be able to get a better profit whenever you decide to sell your home. To figure out what projects have the best ROI in your area, check out Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs Value report. 

Educate Yourself on the Process

You don’t need to become a remodeling expert by any means, but when you’re planning a home addition it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of the remodeling process. It’ll help you understand industry terms, procedures, and standards. Plus, it’ll be easier to communicate your needs and questions to your remodeler if you have an understanding of how things work. One way to learn about remodeling is to download our free Portland Remodeling Guide. You’ll discover the essentials of the remodeling process, including how to design to fit your lifestyle, how to evaluate different home styles and design elements, and much more. 

For specifics on how to clearly communicate with your builder, check out our eight communication tips. You’ll learn how to effectively communicate your sense of style — and your wishes — to your professional remodeler.

# 4 How Much is This Going To Cost?

The cost of your home addition depends on square footage, location, and building materials. At this point, you just need a general cost estimate, so focus primarily on square footage. According to Home Advisor, the average home addition costs between $80 and $200 per square foot, although high–end projects can cost upwards of $500. Use these averages to calculate a range for how much your addition could cost. Or you can get an estimate for a house addition from a local remodeler. 

How Much Does It Cost to Add a Second Floor to a Home?

A second-floor addition can be one of the most expensive types of home additions. If you’re budgeting $100 to $200 per square foot for a home addition, keep in mind that you’ll be in the higher range for a new second floor. It’s not just that you are building more square footage than you might to make a bump-out or mudroom on the ground floor; you also have to build so that existing structures on the main floor support the new structures above. Plus, you have to remove the roof entirely and then install a new one!

For some properties, a second floor is well worth the expense. There are plenty of reasons that you might want to add a second floor instead of building out. If you have an older or small home on a smaller lot, you may not even have the option to build out. Building up could be your only choice to maintain your home’s value in relation to the neighborhood.

#5 How Do I Find a Qualified Remodeler?

Who is actually going to build your new addition? Choosing the right builder is key to achieving the best results. Obviously, you’ll want to choose someone with the skills and craftsmanship to deliver outstanding results. And choosing the right builder can ensure that the remodeling experience is smoother and less stressful. Here’s an article that walks you through the process of finding the best Portland contractor. It also features a whole section on questions you’ll want to ask to make sure you get the contractor that’s right for you. Look for a pro with a remodeling portfolio full of projects you love!

Planning an addition isn’t overwhelming when you have an expert house addition contractor like COOPER Design Build. Check out our design-build process, then contact us to schedule a consultation.

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Topics: Home Remodeling, Home Additions