Author Topic: Saving for a home update?  (Read 1568 times)

Weisass

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Saving for a home update?
« on: January 04, 2020, 10:32:01 AM »
Hey there Mustachians! Curious how yíall would approach planning for a home addition. 

The basics:
-we have 4 kids that are getting bigger and bigger, and a house with a dining room, Amal kitchen, and living room on the first floor. We are running out of space! (Our total sq ft is 1800).
-with that in mind, we are strongly considering adding a room (about 22 by 14 ft) to the common floor space of our home in 3-5 years. Our house is L-shaped and has a patio in the space that would be taken up by the new room. It would connect with our kitchen and probably involve some kitchen renovations to improve flow to the new room.
-we are also debating adding a garage at the same time (our house has a detached shack that is almost 100 years old and slowly melting into the earth. No place for my wood shop or for storing anything that needs to stay dry.)

Savings wise we are doing well but I imagine this may help us be even more focused with our budget. The question Iím pondering is two fold: should we talk to an architect or marinate on this for a while? And in the meantime, how much extra should we be socking away (bc we donít want to change our retirement planning)?we know our limits, so we wonít be framing any walls or building foundations, but Iím definitely willing to do the drywall, interior stuff. Has anyone with experience any wisdom to lend? Is there anything Iím not thinking about at all?

ysette9

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Saving for a home update?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2020, 12:12:04 PM »
A couple of my opinions for what it is worth.

If you do want to add on then please do talk to an architect and do it right. So many of the little houses in my area have these ill-conceived little boxes slapped onto the side of an otherwise cute house and it just looks awful. These poorly done additions donít age well either.

Have you looked into selling and buying a larger place in your same area? Is recommend doing your best to price out the addition and then compare to the transaction costs of selling and buying something that is already the right size. Keep in mind that the hassle and cost of having a non-functional kitchen or whatever else goes along with a remodel. Every remodel I have ever witnessed also took anywhere between 50-150% more time than estimated, so expect cost and schedule overrruns.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2020, 12:22:52 PM by ysette9 »

Bernard

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Re: Saving for a home update?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2020, 03:35:27 PM »
One of my employees lives with his wife and small child in a 400 square foot home. In many Asian countries, 400 square foot would be enough for two full families, which is why a bigger home is not a need but a want. We all spend money on things we want, but not necessarily need, otherwise we'd be all dumpster diving and sleeping in used tents to save money.

I have an "enclosed" patio of about 320 square feet, done without a permit, and even though it looks top notch with thermo-insualated windows and Mexican tiles on the floor, I doubt that it has cost a great deal of money. You'll add some ransom for an architect and building permit, but it still shouldn't cost a fortune, me thinks. Not worth changing your life over.

My 3+3 even including the enclosed patio is less than 1,800 square feet, and I can skate-board through my open concept foyer, family room, and kitchen.

NaN

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Re: Saving for a home update?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2020, 04:03:07 PM »
I would absolutely agree with @ysette9 with expecting 50-150% more time than originally thought and absolutely expect cost overruns. Sometimes this just happens due to surprises and dealing with multiple sub contractors who have their own idea of "time management". 

First, decide if you want to do it with an architect/general contractor (GC) with proper permitting or not. Most municipalities require it, some county areas are looser. Know your local rules.

Secondly, if you are going to hire someone to design it and to be the GC, start looking around now. Most will come out and give their sales pitch to acquire your business, but they can also often provide a lot of good insight you may not have thought of. If you have the time, which it sounds like you do, do as much research into each firm/company. Ask for references, talk to past customers. See if they are a good fit. The relationship with a builder is really important. (Just a side note, a good GC would tell you not to do the drywall yourself. A friend of mine did a lot of his remodel work himself, but he hired out the wall and mudding and found it to be the best spent money on his project. I think MMM has an article somewhere about this about how hiring drywall out is often better.)

Lastly, if you even spend all the time to prepare this year you have the luxury to ponder it for as long as you want. It is like adding the item to your online shopping cart, and not purchasing it until it has sat there for several weeks or months. If you come back to it later and say "yes, we absolutely will do this" then you can pull the trigger. Just don't get into the situation where you feel rushed to do the addition. Rushed remodels are bad news.


Weisass

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Re: Saving for a home update?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2020, 06:29:50 PM »
Hey there Mustachians! Curious how yíall would approach planning for a home addition. 

The basics:
-we have 4 kids that are getting bigger and bigger, and a house with a dining room, Amal kitchen, and living room on the first floor. We are running out of space! (Our total sq ft is 1800).
-with that in mind, we are strongly considering adding a room (about 22 by 14 ft) to the common floor space of our home in 3-5 years. Our house is L-shaped and has a patio in the space that would be taken up by the new room. It would connect with our kitchen and probably involve some kitchen renovations to improve flow to the new room.
-we are also debating adding a garage at the same time (our house has a detached shack that is almost 100 years old and slowly melting into the earth. No place for my wood shop or for storing anything that needs to stay dry.)

Savings wise we are doing well but I imagine this may help us be even more focused with our budget. The question Iím pondering is two fold: should we talk to an architect or marinate on this for a while? And in the meantime, how much extra should we be socking away (bc we donít want to change our retirement planning)?we know our limits, so we wonít be framing any walls or building foundations, but Iím definitely willing to do the drywall, interior stuff. Has anyone with experience any wisdom to lend? Is there anything Iím not thinking about at all?

Thanks for this.

To answer yesterday, Iím definitely not interested in DIYing the project because I donít want to create any eyesores for the future. Our house, incidentally, is the only one in our neighborhood (circa 1920) that has never out an addition on, so the original footprint is what it is. I think we will do some research this year, keep up on maintenance, and go from there.

MayDay

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Re: Saving for a home update?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2020, 05:41:33 AM »
We priced out additions, two bedrooms plus a crawl space or basement underneath.

They were very expensive. We would have been able to move to a bigger house for a better price. It was disappointing. Especially with the current job market, the construction trades are charging a fortune and insanely busy.

But this might be a good time to start planning- then hold onto those plans and use them during the next recession.

I will ditto that your house will be town up forever. We just did a super minor kitchen update and it was a good month. And we still haven't finished the backsplash or good vent!

NaN

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Re: Saving for a home update?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2020, 08:14:32 AM »
Great! Plan it out as much as you can because you will a) understand how much effort will be required on your part and b) you can always save the plans for later! Imagining a remodel is easy and quick. Executing is always way more effort than imagined. Expect it to take a good chunk of your free time. Again, 3-5 years in the future is a good amount of time to spread the planning effort out.

I picked up some books a while back at the library that were helpful in understanding different phases of a remodel. They were great for cleaning out the "noise" of the internet, though some were dated. For most additions I think it was about 80% or so return to the value of the house, interior remodels vary. It definitely helps if your neighborhood supports those, meaning your house is at the bottom of the square footage. I have seen additions in neighborhoods that put it way above in sq footage than any other house. They don't sell well if you ever had to move.

One thing to think about that I always thought would be great: moving the family out of the house during the construction (either rent a place nearby, or swing a long month or two vacation!). If you hire a GC you trust, just tell him/her to send you updates but to make decisions himself as problems arise but with a $ threshold on when they need your approval. Your mind would be clear from the mess. As long as they have the city inspect things properly, you should not worry. A good GC would also stand by their work if problems arise later.





Weisass

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Re: Saving for a home update?
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2020, 09:07:27 PM »
Great! Plan it out as much as you can because you will a) understand how much effort will be required on your part and b) you can always save the plans for later! Imagining a remodel is easy and quick. Executing is always way more effort than imagined. Expect it to take a good chunk of your free time. Again, 3-5 years in the future is a good amount of time to spread the planning effort out.

I picked up some books a while back at the library that were helpful in understanding different phases of a remodel. They were great for cleaning out the "noise" of the internet, though some were dated. For most additions I think it was about 80% or so return to the value of the house, interior remodels vary. It definitely helps if your neighborhood supports those, meaning your house is at the bottom of the square footage. I have seen additions in neighborhoods that put it way above in sq footage than any other house. They don't sell well if you ever had to move.

One thing to think about that I always thought would be great: moving the family out of the house during the construction (either rent a place nearby, or swing a long month or two vacation!). If you hire a GC you trust, just tell him/her to send you updates but to make decisions himself as problems arise but with a $ threshold on when they need your approval. Your mind would be clear from the mess. As long as they have the city inspect things properly, you should not worry. A good GC would also stand by their work if problems arise later.

Interesting and helpful. Thanks.

I will admit that my first thought at your last paragraph was about my mom-She would die if I did something like that. It sounds amazing to me but for much of my life she has elected to manage construction and remodel projects and complain constantly about them.

Goldielocks

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Re: Saving for a home update?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2020, 01:33:36 AM »
My kids are about ready to move out of our home, and on their own. It's only been 10 years since we moved in..They grow up fast.  So- one thing to consider -- how would you use this extra space after they are no longer living with you?  (Or out of the house all the time?).

It sounds like you are in an older area.  Have you thought about building a garage with an attached / overhead room?  One with plumbing would give you a ton of options in the future -- super workshop, Air Bnb, room for rent or for a kid to have an "easy launch", man cave, etc.

If short of money for something so larger - you could build a garage with the overhead door and just fit it out as a second gathering / play / recreation room for now (so you get some peace in the house), and convert to a garage later....

A detached garage structure (with or without an open room plan attached) would not require a lot of architectural design, and the contractors quotes may be able to be lump sum instead of cost plus, so much easier to budget.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Saving for a home update?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2020, 09:10:26 AM »
As a mustacian, I would not make additions to my home.  I would find a different home for purchase if/when my current home does not meet my needs.

PGSD

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Re: Saving for a home update?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2020, 03:56:13 PM »
We just went though a major remodel. What a stressful and expensive PITA. Everything said above was spot on including it taking MUCH longer (estimated six weeks, ended up being ~16) and, once walls/ceilings were open and issues were found, we needed to make changes/fixes that added to the cost. Did I mention it was really stressful?

Here's a few thoughts:

- Work with an Architect and get a detailed design. And, REALLY think about the design as you'll be using that design to get bids. By getting the details nailed down, you can avoid change-orders (things you decide to change things after work starts can really mess up a budget and timeline).

-  While a GC will add to the cost, the subcontractors he uses know he'll have more work for them on the next project so (theoretically) they'll do a better job as he'll hold them accountable.

- Make sure the GC/contractor statement of work/contract is very specific (like number of outlets, flooring allowance, paint colors, baseboard allowance, windows, who pays for what materials...) on what will be done and the cost. No verbal agreements, get it in writing.

- If a change-order is needed, get the details and cost in writing BEFORE work on that change starts.

- You'll likely have a payment plan ("x" owed at start or completion of "y" part of the project). Make sure the last payment is due after work is completed and, that the final amount is big enough that the GC/contractor is willing to finish the job to your satisfaction.

- Interview several GC's and pick one that has both good reviews AND seems to be someone you can get along with. You'll probably have some tough spots and, it'll be better if you start off liking the guy. 

If I were you, I'd hire an architect, get a design done and get a couple of GC bids for the work. Then you'd be able to make an informed decision on how much you need to save (count on a cost of at least 20% more than the bid as issues are almost always found on old houses) or if it makes sense to sell and move (hopefully to a house that has what you want and that someone else has already renovated) or, live with what you have. 

Good luck!

PS: One thing that comes up often: once part of the house has been renovated (or an addition is added), the rest of the house may look a bit shabby in comparison. Beware of the potential domino effect of renovations!!!
     

Goldielocks

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Re: Saving for a home update?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2020, 10:42:58 AM »
^^  Yep.   I did a whole home renovation as well.   It took 6 months and we still moved in before flooring was done, or interior doors on the interior, no kitchen, only one bathroom working.   I did not get a kitchen sink working for two weeks.  We moved in because renting elsewhere was costing too much.   The project ended up costing nearly 3x the estimate. We had an architect for the plans.  I had budgeted for 2x, and we actually did not make any changes other than to take stuff out.   City came up with mid-project requirements for strucutural support and we could not repair the chimney but suddenly had to take it out.   Nothing horrific like in the TV shows.   Renovations on a 40 year old home can do that.   I can't imagine what they would find on an older home.

So.  My above recommendation to build a detached garage with or without a bonus room for extra space is based 100% because of my experience "adding on" to a an existing home.  SO MUCH EASIER to build and get a firm quote for an independent new structure.

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Re: Saving for a home update?
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2020, 07:49:26 AM »
I echo that sentiment that when you add something new that it can really make something that was ok look bad and it never ends then. When I was settled in our last house I would try to typically do one room a year for updating to keep the house fresh just as much on the outside. We recently moved and i am starting the process all over again and in good years or extra cash I might do more. But i find breaking it up into smaller projects and doing as much than myself as I can like I said keeps things fresh and up to date and you usually can find a contractor for smaller projects at a fair price then full bigger jobs these days for what you cant do.