Clients always ask me… “How do I add value to my home?” Investors always ask me… “How do I increase my rental revenue?”
You all know that I love buying an older house and renovating to increase value – but sometimes the house is not large enough and additional square footage is required to make the house a home. As you may recall, one of my first home purchases was a 1950’s mid-century modern – built with only 2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths. Even being walking distance to campus, I realized this rental property would never earn more than $1000/month in rent… and so an expansion plan began to form.
This home needed a complete remodel (as you’ve read about the kitchen last month), and so I planned accordingly – remodeling during the renovation to gain the largest use of my money in the shortest period of time.
In Bryan, like in most cities, any expansion or addition requires that the home owner use a general contractor and pull permits to ensure the work is up to today’s standards and codes. This is a fail-safe and protective measure for both the homeowner and the future homeowners and is not a step I recommend skipping!
In order to pull permits, you must have a detailed sketch of what the addition/expansion consist of – and this can be a hand-drawn to scale document or you can involve an architect to ensure all details have been thought through. For my addition, I utilized an architect as my new roof and addition needed to match the style and feel of the existing home – plus, it is easier for the sub-contractors to follow an exact set of detailed architectural drawings/blue prints.
Discussing the elements I wanted to keep and the elements I wanted to add, the architect and I decided that all existing baths should remain, so no extra plumbing expense was incurred, and that new plumbing could be piped in during the foundation creation for the bath expansion and addition. I also had an exterior door leading to a side yard to no-where, so I had the architect utilize that door area for access to what I will now refer to as the Master Bedroom Suite. Using exterior access kept me from having to rebuild walls.
Once the plans were designed, I had to find a foundation expert… and, he knew from my plans, that he would be tying on to the existing slab so that the home felt as if it had always been built with 3 bedrooms/3 bathrooms.
Clearing the side yard and setting out the foundation forms helped me to really visualize how my new master suite would feel.
Once the forms are set, plumbing is put in place and then the foundation can be poured.
The one issue we had with adding the master suite to this side of the home was that the air conditioner unit was connected besides that exterior door… so the entire a/c unit had to be removed and replaced (which the house was in desperate need of a new unit anyways!).
With the slab cured, framing begins. This is where the real fun starts – the project comes alive! Windows matched the original home. Roof line complemented the original home. Even the original landscaping next to the house stayed in place!
Once the home is framed, the windows are installed and the roof is added to ‘dry in’ in the new addition. You are probably asking yourself… did I live in this home while this construction project was going on and the answer is NO! Once the a/c was no longer attached and the plumbing was shut off, it was not a feasible option for me to remain in this home… so I moved to another of my rental properties for the 90 days this project took.
Once the project is ‘dried-in’, weather no longer dictates the speed of the work. In fact, if you have everything chosen and ready for your contractors, you will notice your project will run extremely smooth and much faster.
Once you’ve received a ‘green tag’ on your framing, roof, windows, plumbing and electrical, they add insulation and then drywall. Drywall is taped & floated and texture is added. Next up is the trim and doors and any built in cabinets (like linen closets, etc).
Some clients like to paint at this juncture… some like to wait. I try to at least prime the walls and trim prior to tile, but I wait to paint as the walls and baseboards will get dirty from the floor installation.
Once all of that has been approved, I usually like the electrician and HVAC contractors to come back out to make sure no plugs or air vents have been covered. Green light given – the tile guys begin. I’ve had homeowners ask why all flooring isn’t laid at the same time and the answer is to ‘protect the floor’ – especially if you have hard wood installed. Normally vinyl or hard wood floors are installed last to keep the contractors from damaging them.
So, now that the tile guys have finished their job, the painters join forces. I always choose a calm, soothing paint for the master suite – a beige/grey color - one that will go with pretty much anything.
We used furniture pieces for vanities, so once the walls were painted, the vanities were installed and the plumbers attached the sinks following the granite installation. Electrical finished their job by installing the lights and vent fans and finally, the glass and mirror contractors install doors and mirrors.
In the bedroom, we used vinyl plank tiles, so those were installed after the room had been painted. The electrician installed the recessed can lights and the fan and the room was almost complete. We waited for the certificate of occupancy given by the city upon their final inspection and all that was left after that was a final clean.
We began moving furniture and decorating and realized how much we loved our new master suite!.
As I stand back to admire my handiwork – I realize I couldn’t have planned a more beautiful and relaxing space than what was done… the spacious bathroom, the soaking tub, the large walk-in closet, the huge master bedroom and all of the natural light made this retreat our favorite place to relax.