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Old 12-01-2007, 06:31 PM   #1
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Home Addition


Hi Everyone,
My husband and I have purchased a home in Westchester county, NY. The home is a small victorian, 1220 square feet. We will need to do extensive work to this home to make it livable. We want to change the exterior of the home from aluminum siding, to stucco, and perhaps add a two story addition (each addition level approx.360sf totaling 1,080 sf total), that would consist of a car garage on the first level, extra living space on the second level, and spare bedrooms on the third. The house sits on a hill, so we are thinking of making the garage below-grade, bringing the third level of the addition in par with the second level of the home.
Our questions are: Any ideas on the dollar size of this project? What is the breakdown for the addition, and the stucco exterior? Any tips on saving money? What about those architecture blueprints offered online (How are they helpful in saving money)?

Thanks in Advanced.

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Old 12-04-2007, 05:37 PM   #2
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Q: Any ideas on the dollar size of this project?

A: I don't know what building costs are in your area, but in the Pacific Northwest we are paying between $125 to $150 per sq. ft. for new houses. Therefore, if you take the lesser of the two figures, your project would be somewhere around $135,000. If anything I would suspect that this is low.

Q: What is the breakdown for the addition, and the stucco exterior?

A: This one I will leave for the more knowledgeable on cost break-down. There are not many plasterers remaining in our area of the country. So, we would be hard pressed to get a house stuccoed. They are doing, however, what my dad, who was a plasterer for 21 years, calls thin wall stucco. In other words, it is only a skim coat. This is not a very substantial covering. I would say stay away from it.

Q: What about those architecture blueprints offered online (How are they helpful in saving money)?

A: Yours is what I would consider to be a very involved project. The only way that I would attempt doing this project would be with plans drawn by an extremely competent local architect. There are far too many variables involved. The grade that you propose is significant.

Q: Any tips on saving money?

A: If you had the time and know-how, you could be your own "General Contractor". Of course, this would mean that you would have to find all of the sub-contractors to get the work done. It would save considerable dollars. However, you may make up the difference in frustration. Subs can be a challenge. Another thing that you can do to save money is, do as much of the finish work as possible; painting, etc.


Last edited by Handyman50; 12-04-2007 at 05:47 PM. Reason: Additional thoughts.
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Old 12-04-2007, 06:33 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by destepan View Post
Our questions are: Any ideas on the dollar size of this project? What is the breakdown for the addition, and the stucco exterior? Any tips on saving money? What about those architecture blueprints offered online (How are they helpful in saving money)?
Thanks in Advanced.
First off, it is absolutely impossible to properly figure out the actual costs for such a project without seeing the home's existing structure, regional code requirements, property access, material choices, windows, flooring, landscaping, etc, etc, etc...
It could cost $100,000.00, ...it could cost $300,000.00??? or more, or less???

Architectural plans on line will not get you a building permit to do the job. The plans must be curtailed accurately to your existing home's structural designs and your property. Hire an architect.

My other Advice: Once you get the plans ironed out, then get some quotes from reputable contractors.
Be honest with them about your goals and budget. Once they give you a price, discuss with them the ways that you could save $.

Some areas to save $$: You provide labor for: insulating, clean-up, all painting. You pay for the debris removal, etc...

OR:

You could hire a GC to get you to the point of having the shell built, windows and doors installed, siding on, roofing on, and then do the rest of it yourself (interior).

Hire your own electrician, plumber, & do the interior areas that you want to yourselves...
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Old 12-04-2007, 07:30 PM   #4
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Hire a local architect for sure. If you decide to be your own GC like mentioned make sure you do ALOT of homework on what that all involves. It is more than what most homeowners think. And i have seen way to many times around my area where the subs will take advantage of the homeowner trying to save money by being the gc and the homeowner actually ends up paying more in the end. Being your own gc will save money if done correctly but when the electrician or plumber call you with a question you have to have an answer for them and most homeowners(unless they have some construction experience) won't be able to answer alot of the questions and things won't flow smoothly, not that they always do with a gc either! Good Luck either way and without seeing your project i would say 150,000. Other ways to save money is to do work yourself, depending on your skills, insulating is easy as long as you know how to do it correctly, drywall can be done by ho, in my state the ho can do there own wiring which if there isn't anything complicated can be done, painting, finish carpentry, what ever you can handle will save you money. Good luck
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Old 12-04-2007, 08:30 PM   #5
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Do your homework. We are in the midst of a remodel turned re-build. It's our 4th home, and we are experienced DIY'ers. My wife works daily with builders so we feel we have some pretty good advisors. Cost was / is a big issue for us, so we decided (before starting) to do the work ourselfs (ok, myself), aside from most of the framing. Conclusion: lots of moving parts to re-building a house, in a remodel of an older home, there is no way to foresee and account for everything, and whatever you think it will cost....you're wrong, it's more.

Would I change our approach, no, but my wife might have a different answer. I would suggest you talk to as many local people in the trade as you can. This board has some good info, but a quick post can't convey the scope of the project. Even if it can, cost estimates will be all over the place depending on the location of the provider. I'm in the SF bay area, and the cost info I see on this board is pretty funny (low) compared to what I see.

Good luck
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Old 12-04-2007, 08:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ponch37300 View Post
.... If you decide to be your own GC like mentioned make sure you do ALOT of homework on what that all involves. It is more than what most homeowners think. And i have seen way to many times around my area where the subs will take advantage of the homeowner trying to save money by being the gc and the homeowner actually ends up paying more in the end. Being your own gc will save money if done correctly but when the electrician or plumber call you with a question you have to have an answer for them and most homeowners(unless they have some construction experience) won't be able to answer alot of the questions and things won't flow smoothly, ...
Well said...
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Old 12-05-2007, 12:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by destepan View Post
Hi Everyone,
My husband and I have purchased a home in Westchester county, NY. The home is a small victorian, 1220 square feet. We will need to do extensive work to this home to make it livable. We want to change the exterior of the home from aluminum siding, to stucco, and perhaps add a two story addition (each addition level approx.360sf totaling 1,080 sf total), that would consist of a car garage on the first level, extra living space on the second level, and spare bedrooms on the third. The house sits on a hill, so we are thinking of making the garage below-grade, bringing the third level of the addition in par with the second level of the home.
Our questions are: Any ideas on the dollar size of this project? What is the breakdown for the addition, and the stucco exterior? Any tips on saving money? What about those architecture blueprints offered online (How are they helpful in saving money)?

Thanks in Advanced.
I'm going to be the realist here. You bought a home in Westchester, New York. I'm on Long Island and I just sold my grandparent's estate in Larchmont. Much of my family lives in Westchester. I'm familiar enough with Westchester to tell you, confidently, that you're asking for ways to "save money" on a addition that you just can't do without to make a house "liveable" is like a Leona Helmsley leaving an extra 12 million to her dog for his continued care after her death.

Nobody is going to take your effort to save money realistically, or cooperatively. You'll be viewed as just another "I want this done as cheap as possible, because I expect others to do without so that I can do with more." Any construction company in your area is not going to be geared towards doing anything on the cheap, and, acting as your own GC will probably eliminate most of companies that you'd be better off doing business with.

Anyone delving into a major expansion, especially if this is your first expansion or your first experience with home ownership, is going to be naturally nervous, especially about cost. But "Home ownership in Westchester and 3-story addition on a budget" just flies in the face of practicality.

You could save some coin by doing a lot of the grunt work, but you're going to find (if you examine the bids and the math carefully) that when a construction company is left out of a signifigant portion of a job, they tend to deduct their costs of doing that work for you, not the PROFIT they'd make by doing that work for you.

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