Home Additions | An Overview

Oct 7, 2015

I. Planning

Just like every good home starts with a strong, defined foundation, so should your decision to build a home addition. There are a plethora of factors to consider, and before you can get going on those- you first need to determine whether or not adding a room is even a viable option. Here are some key things to consider before reaching out to a contractor:

• Does my county allow these kinds of permits?
• If you belong to a home owners association, what is their approval process?
• Can my room addition be completed and adhere to my counties setback allowances?
• Am I prepared to take out a loan, or do I have enough expendable capital to accomplish the quality of work I am seeking?
• Am I prepared to handle work crews for the duration of the project?
• Have I considered all other options to add space to my home?
• How will this room addition impact the resale value of my home?

Once you have established that adding a room to your home is a viable option, the next step is to decide what KIND of build would work best for you.


II. Budget

       It is important to keep in mind that building an addition on your home is, in many ways, equivalent to building a house, just on a smaller scale. You must consider things such as plumbing, appliances and fixtures, electrical, flooring, foundation, supplies etc. When setting your budget, it is a very good idea to leave a little excess as "wiggle room". A good contractor will stay within, or very close to budget, but what you don’t want is to be left with a half-finished room that remains unfinished due to lack of funding. The majority of people take out an equity loan on their home in order to fund a large remodeling project.

Of course every project is different, but as an idea- a conservative cost estimate is between $120-$200 per square foot, not including appliances. This pricing structure assumes that carpenters charge an average of $70 per hour, electricians between $65 to $85 per hour, and painters between $20 and $35 per hour. You can work out finite details with your contractor(s), but this can give you a very basic idea.

Types of Room Additions:

Living in California means that we can take a basement right off the table. There are two main ways in which you can expand your home.

1.) Building "Out":

Undoubtedly the most common type of room addition. It is very self-explanatory. Building "out" means literally that- building and attaching a structure to your home. Although this seems like the go-to option, you have to remember that any square footage you add to your home, you are taking away from your yard.

2.) Building "up"

Building up can be a better option for those who have smaller yards or whose "set back" restrictions disallow them from building outwardly on their home. Building up is adding a level to your home.

3.) Separate Structure:

Although this option isn’t exactly a "home addition", adding an external structure to your home can be a viable option. Much like with any large construction project- it certainly had its draw backs, but a case can be made for creating a space that is livable but is not attached to the home. Think "guest house".
When you meet with your contractors, you can definitely get a better idea of what or may not work best for your situation. Luckily, there are no wrong answers! That's the beauty of design, it’s entirely up to you!
Ok, so you've checked all the necessary codes and ordinances, checked your finances, and have decided on what type addition to add to your home. The next bit may be the absolute more important.

III. Picking a Contractor:

     Choosing the wrong contractor, not only can, but will lead to disastrous consequences and will likely leave you with a mess you don’t want to have to deal with cleaning up. Pearl Remodeling is Los Angeles ' premier home improvement and remodeling company. You can certainly rest-at-ease that with us, you're protected.

      You should interview/ meet with between 3 and 6 contractors to ensure not only that you get the price that suits you, but you can make sure that there isn’t a clash of personality. Check over their last 10 projects, ask for references, look at reviews online, and make sure to be as prepared and professional as possible. Have a budget and time-frame in mind. Think about the "must haves" of your new room addition, and be prepared to talk about them with any potential contractor.

      We at Pearl Remodeling really pride ourselves on our integrity, and years of experience allows us to have a real idea of the scope of a potential project. This means we can give you realistic estimates, based on prior experience and not guesswork. We will help you decide what kind of addition to add to your home, and help you sort out permits so that your room addition is 100% to the books.

Once you have narrowed it down to 2-3 potential contractors, they can then bid on your project. As a pro-tip: many contractors won't bother bidding of they are up against too many other contractors. Usually bidding between 2-3 contractors is common practice, and will make sure the bidding process is efficient as possible.

IV. The Build:

You've done your planning, chosen a contractor, met with the architect, secured your funding, attained all the necessary permits, and have set a time for the project to begin. Now what?

The contractors will come prepare the space-Anything other than level bare dirt will need to be demolished, removed, and graded. A crew will come and drop off a portable toilet, and perhaps put up a sign telling the world who is building your addition. Your contractor should obtain permits, and will most likely be required to post the approved permits in a visible spot on your property.

Once the space is prepared, you choose your foundation, and then try to relax and enjoy watching your new home addition take shape right before your eyes.

Pros and Cons of Building a New Home Addition:


1.) Less Expensive than Purchasing A New Home:

Your new room may have set you back $25,000, but that is hardly a fraction of the total cost of buying a new home.

2.) You Choose... EVERYTHING:

Building a new addition to your home gives you complete control over design. The build is uniquely tailored to your needs, your wants, and your likes. You can build a little paradise if you so desire. And our motto at Pearl Remodeling is "You dream it, we can build it". The sky is the limit.

3.) High ROI:

You get back what you put in. In fact, unlike most other investments, building an addition is basically guaranteed to do nothing but put value into your home, and when it comes selling time- you could find yourself being paid back for your build.

4.)The Most Logical Way to Add Space to Your House:

If you need the additional living space, then the clear option is to build an addition. There are countless methods which all, to a certain extent, do add some additional square footage, but the most cost effective means that will blend seamlessly with your home's current design is to simply add on.


1.) Increased Monthly Cost:

Additional space means additional heating, cooling, cleaning, and electricity needs. You'll need furniture, appliances, and decorations- and over time the upgraded space means a slightly higher monthly cost.

2.) Emotional Cost:

The initial rush of breaking dirt on your home addition is intense. It feels great to see the work crews diligently sculpting out your ideas into reality. But in many cases- the feeling is very temporary. Having work crews in your home, 5-6 days a week, the sounds, the dust, the constant activity- it can wear on people. Make sure before committing to your home improvement project, you're prepared for the increased stress. Just remember- it’s only temporary! Your new home addition is forever!

3.) Gaining Space inside Means Losing Space Elsewhere:

In Los Angeles, it is not uncommon for yards to be somewhat small as-is. When you build your house out, that inevitably means eating in to your yard. For some people, this isn’t a problem... but for some the potential to lose space for children to play, or to entertain guests is an important factor to consider.



    When deciding whether or not to add a new addition to your home, there are many factors to consider. We hope that this has provided at least some answers, and helps in the ongoing process of creating a new home addition. Contact us today for your free in-home consultation, and we will work hard to ensure the process is as stress-free as possible.