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HelloJerry
2nd story or ground extension

I bought a 2 bed 1 bath 1,250 sqft house with a basement and attic in Nutley, NJ. The house was built in the 1920s and the attic has about 6 feet of head clearance at the highest point and has two dormer windows that I'm currently using as a bedroom.

I want to expand my house into a 4 bed 2 bath. I have 40 feet of space in my backyard (see the picture with the basketball court) and even another 20 feet beyond that. What is the cheapest way to add value to my house? Should I build upon the attic or extend the ground floor back 40 feet? My house is exactly 20 feet wide inside from wall to wall.

HelloJerry
Re: 2nd story or ground extension
Seth
Re: 2nd story or ground extension

I don't know but doing it the cheapest way may be not the wisest. I would ask a Realtor which would be worth more when it was done. If your town has lots of families then covering the yard might be a bad idea, if your town has more elderly adding beds up stairs may be a bad idea, etc. And if you build something that doesn't fit with your neighborhood or looks like a small house with an ugly growth on it rather than large house that will hurt your value.

I also have had great luck with the contractors suggested by my last Realtor, unlike some of the flakes I found on Angie's List...

JLMCDANIEL
Re: 2nd story or ground extension

Your best bet is an architect or structural engineer. Not knowing the structure of the house is not possible to say if you can build up or what affect building out will have.

Jack

HelloJerry
Re: 2nd story or ground extension
skintigh wrote:

...if your town has more elderly adding beds up stairs may be a bad idea...

Excellent point. And as a way of saving money, my plan was to add two more dormers and marketing the area as a kid's suite.

JLMCDANIEL wrote:

Your best bet is an architect or structural engineer. Not knowing the structure of the house is not possible to say if you can build up or what affect building out will have.Jack

You're right. I don't know what type of house it is so I wrote the age and the location in hopes someone could tell me beforehand. I don't want to talk to a professional architect/builder without getting some preliminary information on my own.

I'm hoping that someone here has done a similar project and can tell me what they did and how much it cost.

MLB Construction
Re: 2nd story or ground extension

both posters make good points, you have some homework to do before you decide which course to take.

speaking generally from a contractors perspective, it would be cheaper to build up (assuming that you can) than to go back. by building up, excavation and foundation costs will be eliminated. plumbing and electrical will be cheaper.

Fencepost
Re: 2nd story or ground extension

If you do build out rather than up, you can also incur development or impact fees due to the increase in non-permeable surfaces (that is, roof rather than lawn) that require additional investment by the city to deal with additional runoff. In some locales, this can be significant. You may also be subject to setbacks, where any new construction must be a minimum distance from property lines or other features such as wells, septic, or utilities.

Building up, you may face restrictions on height. You might impact your neighbors' view, which can affect their property values. Then they'll sue you or convince the city to issue a stop work order.

If you are in any kind of historic district or HOA, expect a whole host of restrictions on what you can do.

Involving your neighbors in the planning process will help things go smoothly, since just about anything you do on your property affects them in some way.

dj1
Re: 2nd story or ground extension

All raised good points on some of the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Your first step is to talk to an architect, who may discover that one or both options may not be available due to restrictions beyond your control.

Do your homework and please share your experiences.

HelloJerry
Re: 2nd story or ground extension

This not a historic district, no HOA, and when I met with the city employee who granted me the certificate of occupancy (CO), he told me the city was accommodating to home renovations as long as permits are obtained and the characteristic of the home is retained (I think he meant don't paint it bright purple!).

A lot of the people on my street have made additions to their homes. When my house was inspected, the person pointed out a few houses where the roofs had been raised. So I don't think my neighbors would complain. I plan on keeping the house looking exactly as it is and just building on the huge space in the back. The lot is over 5,000 sqft and the home is just 1,250 sqft so there is a lot of wasted space.

If anyone has done a reno like this, please feel free to share.

MLB Construction
Re: 2nd story or ground extension

i've done many raising the roof renovations and many additions to houses. it all starts with the architect. you going to need one to get an estimate from contractors, you're going to need one to pull permits and you're going to need one to build you something that fulfills your wish list.

sit down with a few of them for a free consultation, tell them what you want to do, he can give you ideas. then he will tell you how much his services will cost and he can let you know if it's smarter/more economical to go up or back.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: 2nd story or ground extension

It's a lot like doing a contract. You can write your own or download one on the net but a few dollars spent on a lawyer can save a lot more than he cost.

Jack

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