Should I Build An Addition Or Move?

Inevitably a family will outgrow their current accommodations and look at various solutions to provide enough room for all members. As children grow, the room becomes more limited. Many families will increase the amount of available living space by either building an addition or moving into a new residence. There are many factors to evaluate before making this costly and stressful decision.

But is building an addition to your home a good idea? Or should you pack up and move to a new home that’s large enough for your needs? Answering the following questions will help you determine whether it pays to opt for remodelling versus buying a new home. 

The Cost of Buying a House vs Building an Addition

I typically recommend that homeowners do their due diligence by looking at other houses to see what’s out there. People often find this is a sideways move… they’re buying another home that might be slightly bigger and needs some work. While that work may be cosmetic (such as remodelling outdated kitchens & bathrooms), it can still be expensive.

After going through this exercise, I find that most homeowners choose to stay in their house & do what’s necessary to work for them. I think it’s the combination of the many factors that attracted them to the house in the first place…the house, the property, & the neighbourhood. It’s home & has a lot of emotional investment in that, so many decide to stay.

Should I Add An Addition To My House?

Whether it’s a small bump-out addition with a remodel, or a full-blown addition project, house additions are investments. If you do not plan on moving from the home, you have more incentive to make it yours. The value you receive from a new room or a second story can be enjoyed for many years to come. 

However, if you may sell the house in the future, you need to think about the resale value. Make sure the add on is cost-effective if the value of your home increases with a tasteful addition. Investing in your home could have a high return on investment.

Home Builders Melbourne Is It Cheaper To Build A Home Yourself?

How Much Does An Addition To Your Home Cost?

How much money and additional cost depends on the variables of your home and what you want. The bigger the project, the more money it will cost. If you’re hiring a contractor, you may see a wide range among different contractor estimates. You may be able to DIY the project, but you must be confident in your skill and willing to sacrifice your time.

When it comes to adding on, you need to set some limits for yourself. It’s easy to say you want to double the square footage of your home, but is it something you can afford? Are you able to add a sunroom and maintain your home’s value?

“How much” is a broad question that covers a lot of ground. It can cover a very elementary question like “How much do we want to spend?” or “How much room do we want?”

“How much” can also cause answer you might not want to hear. Questions like “How much do we need this space?” or “How much are we willing to put up with the dust, noise and strangers working on our house?” or “How much time will it take?”

When you’re honest with yourself about the answers to the question of “how much,” you’ll have a better idea of your needs and expectations, and you’ll lay out the groundwork for the project ahead. 

Adding an addition can require a significant investment of your time and money. It can also disrupt the comfort of your home for a time.  At Home Builders, we have the best dual occupancy selection to make your house a dream come true.

Is This A DIY Project Or Will You Hire A Contractor?

The next big question to ask before you pick up the phone or head to the hardware store is, “Who’s doing the work?”

You can go a couple of different ways with this question. First, you can take it on yourself. With that, you’ll have to make sure you, and anyone working with you, has the skill and know-how to do the job right. You don’t want to get started on a project to figure out you’re in over your head. 

Imagine finding out you bit off more than you can chew after spending $8,000 on materials you can’t even use. Going it alone means you’re on the hook for every mistake you make. What’s worse, your mistakes might not come to light until you flip a light switch.

Before you begin, make sure you know your limitations, and know when you need help. If you can frame and hang drywall, but the thought of wiring makes your skin crawl, why not hire out a contractor? If you have a friend with electrical experience, maybe you could get them to help you out with pizza and beer.

Save money by hiring out contractors and doing some of the work yourself. Contracting out a job is what a contracting company does when you hire them. Often, contractors will add a markup to the subcontractors they hire. You’re paying for the recommendation of your contractor, but you’re also paying for the contractor standing by the work their subcontractor performs.

However, if you don’t know a hammer from a hole in the ground, you’re better off hiring a general contractor outright. On something as important as an addition to your home, get professional help. The right contractor can build your dream addition. And their work may up your home’s resale value.

How do you find the right contractor? It’s all in who you know. I’m lucky enough to have a neighbourhood Facebook page where people ask for contractor references all the time. If you don’t have a ready reference like I do, ask your family and friends who’ve had similar work done.

If they’re thrilled with the work they had done, they’ll be happy to tell you all about it. On the other hand, if they had an awful experience, they’ll be so glad to tell you all about that as well.

One popular option is a contractor grading service like, whose model includes paying a subscription fee for their grading. If a monthly fee provides you peace of mind when hiring a reputable contractor, go for it. 

Should You Move, Remodel, or Build?

Choose to move your family into a custom-built or remodelled home when

  • You are moving toward being an empty-nester, so your home no longer fits your needs, and downsizing would match your lifestyle. Selling your home and using some of the money to build a smaller one-level home or one with a first-floor master suite is a great way to downsize while creating a retirement fund so you can age in place on your terms.
  • Your lifestyle has outgrown your current home. Building a new custom home will ensure that your home will match the way you live. You can build in the same neighbourhood or one better suited to your changing needs. In some cases, you may choose to buy an older home and tear it down to make way for your custom home.
  • You need to relocate for work, be closer to family or special services, or some other reason.
  • There are community or homeowner association restrictions that prevent you from making the changes you would like to your current home.
  • The area no longer has the services you want/need.

Choose to remodel your current home when

  • You like your neighbourhood, but your home doesn’t quite fit your current lifestyle.
  • The cost of living where you are now is more affordable than other locations where you would move.
  • You and your family are connected to your current community (house of worship, schools, doctors, family, friends, organizations, etc.).
  • Your home has special memories for you and your family.
  • You have enough property to build an additional or outdoor living space that will reinvigorate your lifestyle.
  • You would like to age-in-place in your current home. Adding a first-floor master bedroom and handicap-accessible features are great ways to remain in your home and save the cost and emotional strain of having to move to an assisted living facility.
  • The cost of buying a new home and selling your current one (including the cost of the real estate commissions, closing costs, and moving and relocating) is more than the cost of home remodelling.
  • You think the hassle of moving is too much.
  • There is a likelihood that, because of the price or age of homes in the neighbourhoods where you might plan to move, a home would need to be fixed up, customized, or remodelled before you were able to move in.
  • The market is such that you won’t get a reasonable price for your current home, or your home might be on the market for a long time before being sold.

Build An Addition

The first option typically considered is to build an addition onto an existing structure that accomplishes two goals. It prevents having to uproot the entire family and temporarily live in an apartment or lease a house. It may be less costly in certain circumstances to build an addition instead of purchasing a new home. These two conditions require extensive analysis because nothing is ever as black and white, especially when it comes to your families’ happiness.

It’s possible that it took several years to find the current home where your family now resides. Many home buyers have an extensive list of what they want in a home, and once they find it is reticent to start looking again. An existing structure may accommodate an addition if it is laid out correctly and integrated into the property and neighbourhood. If building an addition makes sense for the current structure and lot, it still has to be determined if it makes sense financially. Looking for dual occupancy? Look no further! Home Builders has you covered. 

Additions cost average anywhere from $40,000-$60,000 depending on square footage, materials and the difficulty of integration into the existing structure. This cost can be significantly higher depending on high-end touches like marble countertops and radiant floor heating. If the addition is paid for in cash, which often is not the case, then financial considerations may not be an issue. If it is financed using a home equity line of credit or another construction-related loan, then the amount of the addition plus the existing mortgage may be as much as a mortgage on a new home. This financial analysis is integral to the decision-making process.

Buy a New House

Purchasing a home is a long-term endeavour on the order of decades which provides roots and security for growing families. But buying a first home doesn’t always satisfy these needs, and it is common for families to move for multiple reasons not explicitly related to needing increased living space. Changing jobs, enrolling in school, neighbourhood decline, traffic problems, adding a swimming pool, and a plethora of other factors may play a part in the decision to buy a new house. Increasing square footage may be the catalyst that gets things started.

If the existing residence is an older home, increasing available living space by purchasing a new home may be more time and cost-effective. This is primarily due to unexpected structural issues, often discovered during extensive remodelling projects or additions. As any viewer of the show This Old House is well aware, many expensive surprises pop up when building reserves onto an existing home. Consider this in your budget and expect 25% more in additional expense when going the addition route. This, of course, can be avoided by buying a new house.

Another critical factor when deciding to build an addition or buy a new house is the housing market’s current state. How many homes are available? What are the prices of new home construction? How much money will you spend on moving and closing costs? What is the level of stress associated with buying a home compared to building an addition? What is the likelihood of staying for an extended period in a new home? An expansion may be preferable since families can continue to live in function in a space they are already familiar with where a new home would require an extended period of adjustment.

How Do I Find A Reputable Home Builder?

Popular Room Additions

You are interested in adding square feet to your home but not sure where to start? Or maybe you know the addition you want to make but aren’t sure what it entails.

Kitchen Addition

The kitchen can make or break a home. Many homes have a kitchen that’s too small or one that’s poorly designed. If you like to cook and entertain, having a big, well-thought-out kitchen is a dream.

Gather ideas of what you would like your kitchen addition to look like. You can search kitchen blueprints online and try to mock up one of your own. If it’s in the budget, you can hire an architect to put your dreams on paper.

When considering a kitchen addition, determine whether you want to replace your appliances and cabinetry. These are two costly factors, but if you forgo them with your new addition, your kitchen may not flow and may feel segmented or incomplete.

Mudroom Addition

A mudroom can add many benefits to your home. They’re a great place to store shoes, coats and backpacks. They function well as an informal entry to the house. They’re easy to clean, making it an excellent place to bring in dogs with dirty paws or kids with muddy boots.

Mudrooms benefit from benches with drawers, built-in shelving and lockers or cubbies. Depending on how you’re using the room, you may want a utility sink to make cleanup quick.

Mudroom additions range in cost based on size and materials used. For a small 6×6 room, prices are going to average around $4,000. A large room can cost as much as $12,000. Keep in mind this just for the room. Any benches and storage will cost extra.

Sunroom Addition

A beautiful sunroom can elevate even the most modest home. These rooms let in tons of natural light. Whether you’re thinking of enclosing an existing porch or building off your front entryway, a sunroom brings a lot of light into the home.

Sunrooms come in a few different varieties, including three-season sunrooms, four-season sunrooms and solariums. Three-season sunrooms are not well-insulated and cannot be used in the coldest months of the year.

Four-season sunrooms are well-insulated and are functional rooms throughout the winter. They’re more expensive than three-season varieties, but you’ll get more use out of them.

A solarium is a type of sunroom made entirely of glass. Because of the thermal technology to keep the room insulated, solariums tend to be more expensive than a four-season room. However, they can double as greenhouses for flowers that require full sunlight.

Bathroom Addition

A significant area to increase the value of your home is by adding on a bathroom. You could convert a closet or the area under the stairs into a water closet, or you could dive in and add a whole room entirely. Obviously, the more you add on, the more it will cost.

Before you go planning your new bathroom, you need to look at your piping. Do you have existing water and waste piping near where you want to put the addition? If you’re putting the bathroom in an unfinished basement, the piping is right there. At Home Builders, we offer a wide range of duplex build.

But if you’re looking at putting in a bathroom besides on the back of the house, you’ll probably have to pay more to run pipe. Costs like these can accumulate quickly, especially when you start adding the cost of fixtures.

The good news is that, even if a bathroom addition is costly, it can significantly increase your home value if done right. Just think how much more appealing a 2-bathroom home is than a 1-bathroom home. If you’ve got growing kids or frequent houseguests, you understand the reason another bathroom is valuable.

Home Office Addition

With more people working from home, the value of a functional home office is increasing. Yes, you could convert a spare bedroom or a section of the basement, but adding on an office is something to think about if you don’t have either of those to work with.

If you need a space with limited distractions where you can work, you need a home office. For small business owners working out their home, a home office may be a cheaper alternative than renting or buying a commercial space. Check out our range of dual occupancy builder for your dream house.

To add a home office to your house, your cost will go up depending on the room’s size and the cost of any fixtures. If the office you build could also be a bedroom, you could list it as such if you sell your house. This will increase your resale value.

Because so many emotions can be attached to a home, asking these objective questions can help decide whether to remodel or move a little easier. “It is a big decision for sure, but don’t get overwhelmed,” Pickens says. Just make sure you take your time to weigh all the pros and cons of each option.

Most importantly, remember that home truly is where the heart is. It’s where you live your life, so think about what will maximize your happiness.

Scroll to Top