Evaluate Your House for a Two-Story Addition

2-story addition construction

Adding a two-story addition to your house will enhance your property’s value and help you gain a considerable amount of living space. But before you engage a design professional and remodeling contractor, it’s important to educate yourself about building codes, structural issues, and the professional expertise needed to accomplish your goals. A thorough understanding of the process ensures that all phases of the work proceed smoothly and without costly delays.

Evaluate your neighborhood

Walk around your neighborhood with a camera and a notepad to get a clear sense of how nearby homes compare with yours in terms of size, appearance, and features. Will building the two-story addition you envision keep your house within the neighborhood norm? An addition that is completely out of scale with the street may hurt resale value.

 If that’s the case, you may be better off investing in a different neighborhood and buying a house that already has the size requirements and amenities you seek.

Consult a local REALTOR® and your local tax assessor's website.

Understanding codes and restrictions

Devised to ensure the health and safety of occupants and preserve neighborhood value, building codes and ordinances dictate details such as setbacks—the distance from your property line to the nearest structural points of your house. Because a two-story addition is a physically large project, knowing your setbacks is a key first step in evaluating your property.

Typically, the minimum allowable setback for a single-family detached house in the suburbs might be 20 feet from the curb or street, 10 feet on each side, and 15 feet to the back. Though each jurisdiction varies in specifics, ignoring these regulations can result in fines and you may even be ordered to remove the new construction.

Consider utility companies, building ordinances for height and designated historic district.

Start by gathering basic information about your house such as surveys, lot dimensions, and property lines. These are available through your municipal property office and local building department. Many public records, regulations, and permits can be examined at government websites.

Consider your property

The next step is to refine your ideas for a room addition by inspecting your home and property. Although a design professional, such as an architect, will help solve possible problems, you’ll want to enter design discussions with clear ideas for a basic plan that suits your needs and lifestyle.

Develop an understanding of how an addition will affect the living ... Make sure that access to the new rooms flows along a logical traffic corridor and doesn’t disrupt existing living areas.

Hiring professionals

The complexity of a two-story addition means engaging an architect and a reputable contractor.

Your architect will prepare a complete and code-compliant set of plans as part of the building permit application, and will help you decide on the best solutions in terms of the look and location of your addition. Expect to pay an architect 5% to 20% of the total job cost.

You contractor will coordinate all workflow, schedule delivery of materials, and help you make decisions that occur during the construction process. A contractor makes a bid for the total project—be sure to ask for an itemized bid.

While it might sound like a no-brainer....Read more.

Evaluate some hidden costs of a Two-Story Addition

Evaluate your Return on Investment for a Two-Story Addition

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