Proper planning of home additions eliminates many of the headaches and disagreements between contractors and homeowners face. (Courtesy photo)
Proper planning of home additions eliminates many of the headaches and disagreements between contractors and homeowners face. (Courtesy photo)

Renovations can be expensive, but will usually add value to your home, according to experts who offered some insight on navigating the process of home additions.

“Some contractors will offer a monthly payment plan to spread out the entire cost over a period of time, rather than settling for something short of what your full vision is,” said Glenn Wiseman, sales manager at Top Hat Home Comfort.

Wiseman suggests that those seeking renovations and additions ask providers if they offer a similar plan to accommodate your lifestyle and budget better.

“Avoid disappointment by paying close attention to the details and terms of your contract. Good contractors will work hard to make sure that the expectations are highlighted within the contract and that the job is done to this standard,” Wiseman said.

For homeowners, it’s vital that anyone they hire provide a written and agreeable services contract which should include the scope of the work agreed upon – including confirming house plans, pulling permits from the city, ordering materials and getting equipment onsite, said Shawn Breyer of Breyer Home Buyers.

“Don’t just assume that your idea of a quality end-product and the contractor’s is the same. You may be expecting a move-in ready, professionally cleaned bathroom,” Breyer said. “Meanwhile, the contractor usually leaves the bathroom in broom swept condition with dirt and dust everywhere. Sometimes you can even encounter a contractor that gets 90 percent finished and proceeds to pull his crew off to work on the next home while sending back people as they free up,” he said.

Breyer continued, “This would leave you with an incomplete build. Make sure that your contract with the contractor has a section stating that they will complete the work in accordance with the local laws and settle on the condition of the bathroom when it is completed.”

John Bodrozic, the co-founder of Digital Home Management said a detailed budget of all materials, appliances, equipment, fixtures and finishes for the project should be kept.

Homeowners should do this before a contractor is hired because it usually forces individuals to decide on different products and brands for the items in the addition.

Bodrozic said it’s also important to get at least three qualified bids from contractors and compare pricing.

“Keep track of all the actual costs, receipts, invoices, before and after photos, product warranties, owner’s manuals for everything installed in your home addition,” Bodrozic said. “This helps keep the contractor accountable and it helps you get things replaced a year later if things are not working because they should still be under warranty.

“You also need all this digital information at tax time because you can assess the costs of this addition and how it impacts your taxes and you need this information if you ever decide to sell the home, because it will be helpful in marketing your home and your taxes the year in which you sell it,” he said.

Not only do home additions make your home more enjoyable for you, but they also increase your home’s market value and when deciding which additions are right, each homeowner should consider the weather and design an addition that provides the greatest return on investment, said Craig Ricks, Jr., president of Acadian Windows and Siding.

“Screened-in porches are a great addition to homes in areas with months of warm and moderate weather … invest in a sunroom if you live in an area that experiences extreme weather; because the insulated sunroom blocks out harsh weather while still providing views and a porch-like experience,” Ricks said.

Homeowners also might consider creating a comfortable space rather than a fancy one or sacrifice a glossy paint finish to build a spacious area they’ll want to occupy,” Ricks said.

“Electrical is a low priority, including recessed lights, low voltage lighting, and sconce lighting is costly without significantly increasing your home’s resale value,” he said, adding also that pressure-treated wood makes your home addition last longer.

“This initial investment cuts costs of repairs,” Ricks said.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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