N.T. asks from Downers Grove, IL on March 08, 2011
Any Experience with a Home Remodel?
I would like some advice from anyone that lived through a home remodel. How long did you have to move out? Was it worth it, or looking back, would you rather have sold your home and moved? If you remodeled an older home, were there lots of unexpected issues that arose? How did you get the “flow” to work well, or does it seem awkward? Is there any way to estimate the expense (per sq ft?) for a mid-range project? Here’s why I’m asking…we currently have a small home built in 1951 that will become pretty tight for our family in another 4-5 years. We’re not looking to turn our place into a McMansion, just possibly add a “layer” on the back to add a master bedroom/bath and entry area/mudroom. We’ve discussed possibly adding a second floor in addition to or instead of adding to the back. (I know that’s often a ton more expensive, but would save our yard.) We need new siding and a new roof in a few more years, so those expenses will hit either way. I am a bit worried about a remodel damaging the existing structure, such as causing problems in the foundation. Is that common? Right now we have a decent basement, without water issues. I’m not necessarily opposed to moving (our lot itself is nothing special), but we could not afford a larger home in our neighborhood, which has left us looking at the remodel option. (Plus I don’t want to refinance after we finally start making a dent in our mortgage principal!) Also, if anyone has recommendations for companies that would be helpful. We’re in Downers Grove, Il. We’re not looking to do this for awhile, but are trying to understand the process and get prepared financially.
K.N. answers from Chicago on March 09, 2011
We put on an addition to our house in 2006. We live in Lombard and have a home built in 1946. We added a huge kitchen and a master suite. We ended up making modifications in almost every room. Our house feels like it was built in 2006 :) I love it. If I were you I would go with the addition. My suggestion is get a good architect and have him create plans for you either w/a small addition or a second story or both. From there, get estimates from contractors. I won't lie- during the remodel it's not fun. But the result is worth it. If you like your neighborhood I say go for the remodel.
One suggestion- get a finish date from your contractor and make sure they stick to it. I loved our contractors, but it took a lot longer than expected.
If you want any of the contact info for the people we used let us know- I would 100% recommend our architect and I loved our contractors they were meticulous- but a little slow.
S.L. answers from Chicago on March 10, 2011
In 2006, I tore off a family room that had been added onto my existing 1922 bungalow. I rebuilt the room then built up over that space and tied into the existing attic to add three bedrooms and two bathrooms. During the project we also remodeled the downstairs bathroom. They had to dig a new foundation for the family room/upstairs addition plus we strenghtened the existing beam under the house. I put new siding on and a new roof over the entire house, upgraded the electrical connection, basically repiped the house and redid the water connection to the street. In reality, I spent more money on the stuff you don't see than the stuff you do. My girls, then 7 and 4, and I lived in the house during the process. Was it fun? Not a chance, especially the two nights while the roof was off when we had big storms and water everywhere. Thankfully I had great contractors who fixed everything. Was it worth it? YES! I love my neighborhood and the extra space is fantastic. I didn't need to add as much space as I did but my architect came up with the plan and with a little cutting of some details and stretching the budget by my taking on certain things, we were able to make it work. Did it damage the existing house? No, not at all. In fact with the new beam, the house is actually supported better than it was. When you are ready, get an architect. It's totally worth the money because they will have ideas that you'd never think of. Discuss fully everything you'd like to do as you can always cut projects. That way when the plans go out to bid to the contractors, you'll have a realistic idea of what you are spending. The first bids on my project were scary but with some changes, it was doable. Remember, you will run into unexpected expenses-granite in the master bath, a wooden staircase are two of the things I ended up adding but I didn't add more than 2% of the budget. It will take longer than anticipated!!!!! No matter how well they plan, things will not go according to schedule. So be prepared for the long haul. Good luck!
K.S. answers from Chicago on March 08, 2011
In 2005 we put on a 2nd story and in the process gutted the kitchen and main floor bath. In 2009 we turned our basement from a finished space into a related living apartment. First remodel we were the contractor second we hired a contractor. Night and day with progress time and headache. If you can find a good honest contractor I would go that way. I loved ours. It was so worth the cost.
That being said we did nor move out. But at the time of the first we didn't have children. The second I had a new born (therefore not getting into everything). Also my house had/has two kitchens.
There is no question it is stressful. It's noisy, people in your home constantly, everything is covered in construction dust. BUT I HATE HATE HATE moving. So for me given the choice I would live through construction.
C. answers from Chicago on March 10, 2011
It's best to figure out the cost of the remodel on an older home, the value added to it upon completion, versus the cost of a new home.
My husband is an architect and a builder, he has both remodeled and built new homes for the last 20 years. He would be happy to meet with you and discuss your opitons. Feel free to contact me.