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5 things to consider before expanding your home

Homeowners who feel their homes are a little confined may be interested in expanding their homes to make them more comfortable and serviceable. Several questions may come to mind when homeowners are considering adding on to an existing home.

Expanding a home requires careful consideration. While the end results can be spectacular, expansion is typically a long and costly process that will impede on the lifestyles of a home's inhabitants during the renovation process. Expect loud noises, work crews and sawdust throughout the project. Depending on which areas are being renovated, residents may feel their lives are in upheaval until the expansion project has been completed.

Familiarizing yourself with the expansion process and recognizing potential snags along the way can make planning and coping that much easier.

1. Many homeowners first consult with a contractor when mulling over expansions. However, you may want to speak with an architect first. He or she may be able to suggest renovations that fit with your neighborhood and appeal to prospective buyers when you decide to sell your home in the future.

2. Visit your building inspection or municipal office to learn the local regulations. You want to ensure that any renovations you make are done in keeping with safety codes and laws.

3. While you're thinking of your neighbors, give them the heads up on your potential plans. This way they will not be surprised by the extra noise and activity when the renovation begins.

4. Remodeling can cost anywhere from $200 to $600 per square foot added. You'll need to figure out a way to pay for the renovations, and you may consider refinancing your home. Make sure it is a smart time financially to do so based on current real estate market conditions. Also know that additions will likely increase your home insurance coverage needs. Consult with the insurance company about estimated charges and any restrictions they have.

5. Consider a standalone structure when mulling over your options. Sometimes the cost of putting up a free-standing office or another structure on your property may end up being less expansive than expanding on what you already have. Think creatively and research all of your options before committing to a project. SH162866