The Pros and Cons of a Home Addition

Photo of a man holding pros and cons cards

Whether your family is growing, or your home simply isn’t meeting your needs in terms of space, you’ve got a couple of options: either move to a larger home with more square footage, or add it to your existing home in the form of an addition. Both are viable options, but the choice you make should only be done after careful consideration.

Many homeowners choose to stay put and go the home addition route. But while this option offers the obvious advantage of adding more space to your home, there may be some downsides to it as well.

Before you decide to add more space to your home through an additional room or even a completely new level, weigh the pros and cons of this option first.

The Pros

You don’t have to move.

If you love your current neighborhood and don’t want to have to go through the hassle of moving your family and all of your belongings, an addition could be a great solution. This is especially true if you’ve got kids and don’t want to uproot them from their current school, unless you’re able to find another home in the same school district.

Create just the right amount and type of space that your family needs.

Rather than depending on what’s available on the market, you can have the addition tailored specifically to your needs and tastes that will match your lifestyle perfectly. You have the freedom to build the right amount of additional living space that you require, and can customize the home addition design, as long as your lot size and city by-laws permit.

You can control the costs associated with the work.

Depending on the scope of the work, you can complete your addition in stages in order to ensure the project complies with your budget. For instance, you might choose to build the home addition and move your family into it while holding off on finishing up smaller yet expensive components of the project, such as crown molding or trim work. Once your budget is capable of supporting this additional work, you can then continue. You might even want to pitch in with your own elbow grease to cut down on the costs.

The Cons

It’s disruptive.

You and your family could be living through a ton of noise, dust, and disruptions for weeks or even months if you choose to remain in the home while the construction is going on. Depending on exactly what the project entails, you might be stuck having to do without certain important components of the home. For instance, if the addition involves extending the kitchen, you might have to go without that critical space for a while.

Your other option would be to temporarily relocate while the work is being done, but this also comes with its own set of consequences. If you stay in a hotel or other similar accommodations, this could end up costing you a pretty penny when it’s all said and done, not to mention the fact that living out of a hotel can get old after a while.

If you choose to stay with family or friends, you might be saving money but you’ll also have to put up with living in someone else’s house in the meantime, which can get pretty frustrating and burdensome as time goes by, both for you and the family who graciously put you up. 

It could be more expensive than just moving.

Moving comes with the costs of real estate brokerage commissions and fees, moving company costs, land transfer taxes, lawyer fees, and other closing costs, which can certainly add up. But these expenses could actually be cheaper compared to an addition. If you don’t plan properly, the addition could cost you more than you anticipated. The last thing you want is to have to make last-minute change orders to the design while it’s under construction, as contractors will charge you a great deal for these. In addition, not only will you have to cover the costs of material and labor, you will also be responsible for paying for permits and site inspection fees from the city, which can all add up.

You might be negatively affecting the value of your home.

An addition might suit your needs, but it might transform your home to the point that your neighborhood real estate market value won’t support it. For instance, if all the homes on your street are 3-bedroom bungalows and you add a second story addition that brings your bedroom count up to 4 or 5, you run the risk of “over-improving” and not recouping the money spent on the addition come sale time.

You’re compromising your yard space.

If you’re building out, you’re encroaching on your yard space. As a result, you’ll need to be ready to accept a smaller yard when the addition is done. Not only will this potentially compromise your own enjoyment of your yard, you could also be negatively affecting the value of your home if buyers in the area are looking for more yard space. In addition, you also have to confirm with the local building inspector is see if there are any setbacks and restrictions when it comes to building an addition on your property.

The Bottom Line

A home addition could very well be a fantastic solution for your family’s needs, but considering the cost and scope of such a large project, you need to cover all the bases to make sure that you’re making the right decision. Before you call your contractor, speak with your trusted real estate agent to help you explore all of your options and ensure that the decision you make doesn’t negatively impact your current home’s value or your budget.