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The Biggest Home Expansion Mistakes

Friday, March 6th, 2015 by Danny Peterson


Your house’s floor plan is not set in stone. If you want to expand the place, change the dimensions of the rooms, or fundamentally alter the character of the place, you can. It won’t be simple, easy, or cheap, but it’s almost always doable, in some form or fashion. For homeowners, the important thing is to make sure you’re doing it prudently. This more or less goes without saying, of course. Knocking down walls and adding onto your home is never a minor or trivial issue. You already know that there is potential for this kind of project to be too costly or too cumbersome, or for it to simply go awry. The important question is how. How do home expansions go off track? What are some of the biggest potential problems—and how can you avoid them?

Expanding for the Wrong Reasons 

First off, some people expand without necessarily thinking about why. As with any home remodeling project, it’s important to stop and think about your goals. What are you trying to accomplish? Home expansions can be highly rewarding, but frankly, you don’t want to do one unless you really need to in order to accomplish your homeowner goals. If you’re looking for more space, then by all means expand. If you just think you want a change, or would like to change the look of your home, then there may be easier and more value-adding options than expansion.

Adding the Wrong Kind of Room 

As you knock down walls and expand the perimeter of your house, it forces you to confront this basic question: What are you going to do with your new space? Depending on your answer, the expansion may or may not add value to your home. Larger kitchens, family rooms, and sunrooms are all examples of expansions that tend to add value to the home—making them terrific investments. With that said, there are some expansions that simply do not offer much investment potential. Home offices are the best example of this. If you add on a home office, thinking it will enhance the value of your home, you’re frankly making a big mistake.

Not Considering All the Costs and Complexities 

You probably know that expanding your home is a big undertaking—but do you know just how big and complicated it can be? Simply put, there are a lot of issues to think about. You’re not just knocking down a wall and adding onto your floor plan. You’re also going to face the need to reconfigure the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC in your home—all of which can prove quite ambitious, and potentially disruptive to your family life, at least while the project is under way. Make sure you know just how major this undertaking is, and that you speak with your contractor about the different professionals whose services may be necessary to complete it.

Not Thinking About Your Lawn 

When you add space to your house, you have to take that space from somewhere—i.e., your yard. You probably realize that already, but have you thought about the impact that home expansion will have on your property, broadly speaking? Are you willing to have a smaller lawn in order to have a larger home? How will it impact your landscaping decisions, your driveway, and everything else?

Hiring the Wrong Contractor 

Finally, it is a big mistake to undertake a project like this without a reputable and trustworthy contractor. Make sure you invest some time into finding a contractor you really trust—a contractor with a reputation for true integrity!

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