When you’re planning an addition to your Portland, Oregon, home, it’s best to take a team approach to a job that has so many facets. Your team will include players such as your own family, financial professionals, city officials, architects, engineers, designers, builders, subcontractors, and more. Let’s consider where you should start.
Not to be facetious, but the first people you should consult when planning a home addition are yourself and your family members. What do you need that your home isn’t providing? More bedroom space? A more efficient kitchen? Room for entertaining? Make a list of what you’d like to add, and prioritize those needs and wants. Then, when your budget starts applying the brakes, you’ll be ready to drop some less-critical items from the list.
Study the Site
If you’re planning to build out, rather than up, take a close look at your property. Where you’re hoping to expand your home’s footprint, are there trees and other landscaping that you’ll have to take out? Do you have other structures on that part of the property? How about power lines, water or sewer lines, a septic tank? Will you be blocking your own views, or improving them? Will you be blocking sunshine in a significant way?
To get just a rough estimate of what your project could cost, call a few local contractors or the Home Builders Association of Metro Portland and ask for a ballpark average price per square foot for what home additions are costing in your area. Specify what kind of project you have in mind and whether you’re planning for a budget, midrange, or upscale addition. Multiply the estimates you were given by the square footage you’re planning to add, and then figure in another 10 to 20 percent for unexpected costs.
Check the Rules
Do you even know if your planned addition will be allowed by the city or county? In Portland, a visit or call to the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will clue you in about restrictions such as setbacks from the property line, height limits, approved ratio of your building area to lot size, and any design or historic-preservation rules. If you think you might run into a problem with the rules, you also can learn how to go about seeking a variance for your project.
Talk to the Pros
Now that you’ve got a better handle on your project, you can start looking for the professionals who will actually design and build your addition. There’s some debate about whether it’s best to talk to an architect or a builder first. Each will be critical to your project; what’s most important is that they work together to make sure your dreams today are accurately transformed into your finished product tomorrow.
Alternatively, to cover both bases at once, you could consult with a design-build company such as COOPER Design Builders, which seamlessly combines the architectural and the construction aspects of a project. When seeking out the best Portland-area builder for your addition, don’t neglect doing your homework. The selection of a competent, reliable contractor with whom you feel comfortable working will make all the difference in the success of your project.