With our third child on the way, we really need more room but can't afford to upgrade to a larger home. I feel completely intimidated by the idea of adding on to our home. Where do I start when thinking about possible house additions?
Summer R. ~ Portland, Oregon
The first issue to resolve is whether you can add on to your home. Check with your local jurisdiction to determine what building setbacks could exist for your property. Most jurisdictions require a buffer zone between any structures on your property, and your property lines. If you are on a septic system, rather than public water and sewer, you will need to find out from your health department if your septic field can handle additional bedrooms or bathrooms.
Once you have determined that you are able to add on to your home, you ought to meet with a contractor, architect, or draftsperson. These may be able to advise on the most economical or feasible locations for your home addition. After you have decided where your addition will be located, and what you will be adding, have drawings made of the addition. The drawings will help you visualize the house addition, and will also be needed to get accurate estimates of the costs involved in the remodeling project.