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Planning for the Cost of a Home Addition

How much will my home addition cost? It's the first question that comes to mind when you even consider your home improvement project. And, as you might expect, the disappointing answer is always, "it depends."

No two home additions are exactly the same. The cost of a home addition can vary depending on a number of factors, from your city or town to the size and scope of your project, the limitations of your lot, and so much more. So how do you plan for the cost of a home addition?

Exterior photo of two story addition by Meadowlark Design+Build

While we can’t give you an estimate on the cost of your home addition without first understanding your goals and taking a look at your home, we can help you get a general sense of what your project would involve and what pieces need to be factored into the equation. There are three key factors that influence the cost of a home addition: size, scope, and your property. Let’s take a closer look at each to see how they impact the cost of your home addition.

The Size of your Home Addition

The size of your project is the first factor to consider to get an idea of how much your home addition might cost. As you might expect, the bigger the home addition, the more it is likely to cost, but the actual estimate you'll get from a contractor is a bit more nuanced than that. Consider these questions about the size of your home addition to get a better idea of the project's cost:


How much are you adding on? 

The square footage you're adding to your home will impact the overall cost of the project. In general, more square footage means more cost, but it's also good to remember that the square footage of your home is a large component of how your home is assessed for property taxes. If you add to the square footage of your home, you'll not only need to account for the cost of the project, but also for the cost of any additional property taxes. Here is a great article that explains how renovations can affect what you pay in property taxes. 

Depending on the size of your addition, what technical systems (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc.) will you need to add? 

If you're looking at a larger home addition, you'll need to consider what that addition will require in terms of technical systems like plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling. While a smaller addition may just need a few electrical connections, a significant addition to your home may require changes to your HVAC system, plumbing additions, and more. Any feature that requires a trade expert will add to the overall cost of your home addition. 

The Scope of your Home Addition

Beyond just the size of your home addition, it's also important to consider the overall scope of your project. Adding on a bedroom is one project, bumping out the kitchen to allow for a total first-floor redesign is another. When you're assessing the scope of your home addition, think about:

Kitchen Addition with Clerestory Windows

How this home addition will affect your home's layout.

If you're expanding your kitchen with a plan to relocate items like the dishwasher, sink, refrigerator, oven, and more, your home addition is likely to cost a bit more than adding on a porch or a sunroom. Because you'll need to work with trade experts to adjust plumbing and electrical work, this project will require more hands and more time, which means a higher cost.

Are there aspects of this project that extend beyond the addition itself?

When you think about your plan for this home addition, are there any other areas of the project that extend beyond the addition? For example, are you reconfiguring cabinetry, knocking out a wall to create a larger, open floor plan, or even moving rooms around? All of these changes expand the scope of your project and will contribute to the increased cost of your home addition.

Rear exterior of screen porch additon

The Property You're Building the Home Addition On

Finally, in addition to considering the size and scope of your home addition, you'll also need to think about your property to get a realistic idea of the cost of your home addition. Every property is a little different, and how your home sits on your lot, the township you're located in, and even the topography of your property can affect how complex your project will be. A few key items to consider include: 

Where are you adding on? 

A second-floor addition carries a different price tag than a first-floor addition. Adding on to one side of your house might be more expensive than another, depending on where structural elements in your home are located and more. 

Great Room in Kitchen remodel and addition

What limitations does your lot pose? 

Not every lot is big enough to support a large home addition, and depending on where your home is situated on the lot, there may be restrictions to where you are able to build onto the home. 

  • Will you need to get a variance to build your home addition?
  • Do you have the space to build the addition you've planned? Are there setbacks or restrictions that will limit how much you can extend your home’s footprint?
  • Are there any other restrictions, based on the size of your lot, HOA restrictions, or local building regulations?

How much work will have to be done to the property to make it buildable? 

There's a lot of preparation that goes into a home addition project. Site preparation, addressing existing structural issues, and more, will add to the cost of your home addition. Consider: 

  • How much excavation, leveling, or site and home prep is necessary before your contractor can begin the work of building your addition? 
  • Are there any structural components that need to be added or reconfigured to support this new addition to your home?

Rear exterior photo of first floor addition

A home addition is a great way to add the space you need to a home you love. While planning for the cost of a home addition can sound stressful, you can get down to the facts by considering all three major factors: size, scope, and property. Once you've planned your home addition with those three components in mind, you'll be able to talk confidently with a contractor who can provide a realistic quote for your next project. 

Ready to build your home addition? The Meadowlark team is here to help! Give us a call at 734-332-1500 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation about your upcoming project.

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