I have an Victorian style home with 2 BR/1 BA on the main floor (950 sf) and an unfinished attic. I would

Asked by Mariele, Denver, CO Tue Jul 28, 2009

like to have a true master suite - with a walk-in closet and bathroom. I'm tyring to evaluate whether I should build up into the attic (which would cause me to lose a bedroom downstairs) or add square footage to the back of the house off one of the existing bedrooms. I'm guessing I would only get about 450-500 sf of useable square footage upstairs (having at least 6' of headroom). Adding onto the back would probably cost half what it does to build up--but I'd get less square footage, and more importantly -- I'm wondering if the resale value would be better buidling up (which would provide the more typical floor plan I think) than off the back.

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George Lewman, Agent, Englewood, CO
Thu Mar 3, 2011
The first thing I would try to do is try to preserve the character of the current footprint. This assumes you have the Victorian in fairly pristine condition at least on the outside. The bonus of doing this is that you are adding another bathroom and presumably a larger Master Suite, which will sell well in the Highlands. Adding square footage under the same roof usually is cheaper, but in an older house it may not be. The negatives are that you have a space that has headroom under 6' which is not great, but if the lower spaces are used for built in cabinets and storage it should work. Giving up a bedroom on the first floor, I assume for stairs to attic/Master Suite is a challenge. This option adds a Master Bath so you now end up with an updated 2 BR-2 BA in the Highlands.

How many homes in your neighborhood have additions on the back or wherever you are going to add the 'bump out'? Will the new Denver zoning and setbacks allow you to add 500+ square feet to the house/lot? Check this out first prior to spending time on the construction. Will it be a contemporary bump out using siding versus a matched brick siding, roof material and roof pitch as the current house has? Can you match the trim detail?

Don't overbuild the market - The 2010 Trends Map shows Highland West had a -4% avg price loss last year at $320K, Highland Central had +3.7% price gain and Highland East had a +12.% increase to $317K avg price. 2BR - 1BA would not sell at the average price in many instances. Call me if you want a map.

Do the research and let us know what you decided and why?

Web Reference:  http://www.georgelewman.com
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Bob Zacharias, Agent, Denver, CO
Tue Jul 28, 2009
Hi Mariele,
OK, you've got a lot going on here! The easiest part of my answer is to say that if you have quality work done and don't do anything funky that makes the house too odd or out of character with the neighborhood, you are preserving resale value. I think resale value is, of course huge, but you also have to ask yourself - how long do you plan to be in the house? The longer you are there to enjoy the renovation that gives YOU what YOU want - there is a dollar amount attached to that that makes it an investment for you. So, what are your tastes and desires?For example, if it makes your home impossible to sell in 10 years but you loved living there is it worth it to you? I think you get the point...
In the end, you should consult a few architects and have a Realtor review your plans. This is a project that will be a success if you build a strong team to see it through to completion. Good luck!
Web Reference:  http://BobZacharias.com
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Jason Dembeck, Agent, Denver, CO
Tue Jul 28, 2009
:My initial guess would be that going up into the attic will bring you the best bang for your dollar but it would depend on the end layout, the number of bedrooms/bathrooms you will be adding, the existing yard/lot size, etc. I have a closing tomorrow on the sale of a similar property (victorian style w/unfinished attic near 33 & lowell) and have analyized that scenario pretty extensively...In the end I would get a few opinions on the expansion and look for a concensus. I would be happy to chat with you further if you are interested. Good luck!

Jason Dembeck
Metro Brokers of Cherry Creek
303 399-2566
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