Are you thinking of adding on to your house? You’re not alone, especially in the Vancouver area. British Columbia’s booming real estate market is pushing everyone to make the most of their spaces – both new and old.
Home additions aren’t just a great way to upgrade and expand your house. In many scenarios, they can be an investment in the home’s value, future, and comfort. If you feel your house has the potential to be more than what it is (literally), now might be the time to talk to local home addition contractors.
Not sure if a home add-on or extension is right for your situation? Here are some key concepts to keep in mind as you consider the possibilities.
Benefits of Vancouver Home Additions
Extra Square Footage
At the risk of stating the obvious, the first benefit of a home addition contracting project is the extra space. You have the option to add more square footage to your home by either expanding its footprint or building onto its upper floors.
Sometimes, homeowners are looking to add entire rooms to their homes, substantially increasing their overall square footage. However, that’s not always the case – many homeowners are simply looking to make their current layout a little more spacious and breathable.
In the past, our home addition contractors have helped with projects adding as little as 60 square feet or as much as 800 square feet. It all depends on the homeowner’s budget and goals. Are they looking to make a cramped kitchen just a little more functional, or are they adding an entire room for sleeping, dining, or bathing?
Additions frequently give Vancouver homeowners opportunities they might not otherwise have. Homes here are often relatively small and outdated – especially in the historic parts of town. An expansion project might allow them to build a dream kitchen, expand a tiny bedroom, or create entire rooms like additional bathrooms or home offices.
Increased Home Value
More square footage typically results in higher resale values. Compiled 2021 statistics from Royal LePage Signature Realty indicate that adding space to kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and outdoor areas can add tens of thousands of dollars to a home’s total worth.
This is especially true in an area like Vancouver, which is full of homes that haven’t fully “maxed out” their square footage on a property. If you can make your older home the largest on the street with a home addition, you could substantially increase its value and appeal to buyers.
Addition - 2014
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Less Demolition and Construction Waste
Another substantial benefit of adding to an existing home, rather than building something new, is the reduced production of waste. If you can avoid tearing down an old house and instead repurpose at least 20% of it, you’re doing the environment and yourself a favour.
According to a study prepared for BC Housing by Light House, residential construction, renovation, and demolition projects contribute just over 60% to the total municipal solid waste produced. As a result, homeowners and contractors are increasingly looking for ways to better manage waste and reuse original materials.
Faster than New Builds
The last benefit we want to touch on is the timeline. Generally, new builds take months longer to complete than home additions, although it does depend on the home’s location and the complexity of the project.
At TQ Construction, we typically estimate home additions to take about eight months while new builds are often year-long projects. If you’re looking to create space quickly – perhaps for a growing family or for rental purposes – adding to your current home might be a more efficient choice than starting an entirely new build.
Two Popular Kinds of Additions
In our experience as Vancouver home addition contractors, we primarily see owners choose between two options:
1) Adding a full or partial top story to increase square footage within the footprint of the home.
2) Adding a room/space to the side or rear of the home, thereby extending the square footage.
Both of these options have potential, although adding an extension to the side of the house can be more challenging and complicated. Not only will you need to extend the roof to cover the new addition, but you’ll also need to expand the foundation’s layout, and that requires more labour and contactor expertise
In terms of cost, second-story additions and extensions are similar in price. It’s really up to the homeowner to decide what they need from their extra space and what will increase the value of the home the most.
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Addition - Rear - 2003
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Things You Need to Know Before Adding to Your Home
1) There Are Limitations
It’s important to realize that zoning regulations will play a role in your construction planning. These could place limits on your “dream” plans for a home addition.
In many areas of Vancouver, zoning regulations dictate that you cannot use more than 60% of your lot size during an add-on or expansion. Similarly, some neighbourhoods or coastal areas have restrictions on second-story additions that could block the views of other houses.
Note: There is an exception to the 60% regulation. If you buy or keep a house built before 1960 in Vancouver, and you retain at least 50% of it, you can use up to 75% of the lot for the home’s total square footage. That’s one more reason not to cross old character homes off your list when shopping around.
Long story short, you’ll need to speak to an experienced local contractor and research your property’s zoning details before making any construction decisions. Easements, sewage requirements, and many other regulations stated in zoning bylaws can impact what you can and cannot do with your home’s add-on.
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2) It’s Still a Detailed Process
We mentioned earlier that constructing home additions is faster and often simpler than building something new. However, that doesn’t mean there are no hoops to jump through during the application and permitting process.
Every Vancouver home addition requires contractors to seek:
- Initial site measure
- Property survey
- Design approval
- City approval
As much as we all wish the process could be expedited, there are always legal boxes to check and approvals to earn. Before you get the ball rolling on your home addition, spend some time ironing out a timeline with your contractor and understanding the details of permit approval.
3) You Need a Budget
How much are you willing to spend on your home addition? Although adding to an existing house is less expensive than building a new one, you could still face some construction hefty expenses.
Second-story additions can easily cost more than $300/square foot while garage additions typically fall between $200 and $300/square foot. That’s why homeowners need to really consider the best place to add to their houses based on function, aesthetics, and price.
If you’re working with a limited budget, tell your contractor upfront and request a firm price estimate. You want to know from the get-go if your grand ideas are within your budget, and if they’re not, you want to come up with a backup plan that won’t brank the bank.
Contact Us for Further Home Addition Questions
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The truth is that the success of a home addition lies largely in the planning and contractors. When clients do their research and partner with the right local company, they make the process smoother, quicker, and less expensive.
If you’re in the market for trusted home addition contractors, let’s chat. TQ Construction specializes in maximizing and updating homes throughout the Vancouver region. Whether you’re adding to your home’s second floor or building out an entirely new addition, we’re here to help.
Schedule your free project consultation or give us a call at 604-430-9900. Our team will walk you through the process and answer any questions you might have.