Curb Appeal in 98103>Question Details

Dkg, Home Buyer in 98103

Can I add a 2nd story to a 600 sq.ft. cottage?

Asked by Dkg, 98103 Sat May 19, 2007

I'm considering purchasing a cottage in Greenlake. The house is ~600 sq.ft. The lot is 1700 sq.ft.

I'd like to have the option to build (up) and add another 600 sq.ft. with a 2nd story. Other than being small, there are no other special features to this lot.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Help the community by answering this question:


Since the lot is too small for the builders to want it, expanding the square footage is probably the best thing you can do to improve value. Many homes in that area raise the house up and put the additional square footage on the ground level. There's one over by 63rd that is doing that now, though the lot is not small. This would give you the option to put a garage under and configure it like the newer town homes.

You might not get a lot more for it after the improvements, so hopefully you are doing this to make the house better for yourself and not as a flip project. Flip projects don't work out well unless the main floor footprint is at least 1,000 square feet. No parking becomes a big negative as well, so if you can raise and put a garage in, you might be better off on resale.

Cost it both ways and then decide. I noted the company that raises them up in a Rain City Guide post I did, including the photo after they raised it. The post is called "Jack This House" and was posted on February 17, 2007. It shows the house raised before they started building under it. If it has a cute roof line like this one, often better to preserve the bungalow charm, rather than squaring out the top to get a full 600 sf on the second floor.

I expect the company raising it would get the permits and you can have a contractor to most of the work and do the finish details yourself after all permitted improvements are complete. Some sweat equity will help it be a worthwhile project cost-wise. If it's within walking distance to Green Lake, all the better.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 9, 2007
You may also want to carefully check nieghborhood comparable sales to make sure you are not over-investing for the neighborhood. If you are, you may want to consider selling the small home, and purchasing a larger one. Run the numbers!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 20, 2007
Roberta Murp…, Real Estate Pro in Carlsbad, CA
You must get permits. We have a neighbor who did not and the house has been "red tagged"...I'm not sure what they're going to do.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 19, 2007
Here's the correct link to Jack This House, the other one gets you there, but has one of Robbie's posts over it. Very interesting photo and has the contractors name and phone number on the sign.

I also put that link in the web reference portion of this answer.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 9, 2007
Yes - if you abide by the county code restrictions. Before you hire a contractor - call the code office in the county where you preside or go in person with the survey of your property and the plat.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat May 19, 2007
You'll most likely need to have the load-bearing walls reinforced, and of course, the ceiling/roof will need major changes. I'd talk to your city and/or county officials, who are in charge of the land use zoning, as well as an engineer, to make sure it's a wise investment.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 9, 2007
Even when the code permits it, be sure it is a wise investment. Many neighborhoods will not support such a large investment on a small home. So the adage applies, "just because you can, doesn't mean you should!"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2007
Whatever you do, be sure to get everything done with permits. That way your home "stats" will reflect the addition when it's time to sell and you'll be able to list the extra bedroom/bathroom/whatever else in the official listing, rather than have to say "Unwarranted 2nd floor".
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 19, 2007
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