I have a cape cod with 1000 sq feet of living area 2 BR and 1 BA with a large unfinished attic. I would like to add a BR and BA. Where do I start?

Asked by Scott, Coatesville, PA Sat Oct 1, 2011

I have 2 BR and 1 Bath Cape Cod on 1/2 acre of land, property is located in a mature development. I have neighbors to the side and woods in the rear. The home is constructed 3/4 granite stone and 1/4 German wood siding. My home was priced on the high end of other homes in the area. In order to increase my home value I was told by a real estate agent to build in the attic. The house is 100 years old.

The attic has four dormers with a window. There are two additional windows at each end of the attic for a total of (6) 28" x 46" single glass windows. The floor beams are 16" on center 2" x 6" and covered with 3/8" plywood. There is a narrow 28" stairwell leading to the attic.

I paid $95 K 15 years ago and made about 15K in upgrades. I was told that a 2 BR single bath in my neighborhood would range between 125K and 145K. I do not know what a 3 BR 2 bath would range.

Should I begin with building plans, general contractor, real estate agent or accountant?

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Bivensdenise, Home Buyer,
Sun May 20, 2012
When you sttart looking for an excellent contractor, please try ROY DILLON CONSTRUCTION. He is wonnderful. He just finished my brand new kitchen and adjoining outside deck. I've had nothing but compliments.
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Jannis Vann, , 30188
Sat Oct 15, 2011
Scott, Fred's comments are the best answer. Working with a designer/architect and a contractor to determine what the structure will need for meeting current building codes is your first/best move. 2 x 6 joist are usually not usable as a floor system, but if your spans are under 12' it might be possible to meet codes depending on the lumber grade. (Again, something the designer or builder can confirm.) Worst case scenario you'll have to add 2 x 8 joists for the floored areas. My concern is the stair width. Is it possible to make it wider? 28" will not comply.

Certainly, the usable space you have and the light that is already in place will make wonderful rooms. Hopefully, the construction requirements will not make the remodel too costly to pursue. Plan on adding a bath. If you only want 1 additional bedroom, make the other side open to a rec room and allow the staircase to be open at the top with a half wall or handrail. This might help you get by with a narrower set of stairs. Good luck!
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Nick & Trudy…, Agent, Devon, PA
Sun Oct 2, 2011
Scott, as has been suggested talk with the zoning board, then you will need an architect to draw up plans, but include a realtor at this stage, as you don't want to go through all this work only to find the cost of the addition puts you deeper behind what you pay and what you can get for the home. Usually, improvements cost more than the return you get.
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Fred Yancy, Agent, Woodstock, GA
Sat Oct 1, 2011
If the expansion is a good business move, then start with an architect. You would not want to put a living space in the attic only to find that the 2x6 ceiling joists are not sufficient to support a floor. An architect would ensure that the windows are adequate for the required light, ventilation and egress.
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Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat Oct 1, 2011
Are you considering the remodel for your own pleasure, or because you'd like sell; keep in mind that not all renovations will recoup the money spent, therefore if looking to sell, do acquire a variety of opinions beforehand. Otherwise began by contacting your local buiding's department regarding any necessary permits, then go from there...
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Roger Lehmann, Other Pro, Chester, VA
Sat Oct 1, 2011
Scott, Do you have enough area on your lot to fit the addition? Do you have a current property survey that shows all of the existing conditions? I would start with your municipal zoning officer and code enforcement officer. They can help your with all the permits that will be required and see if you can even do the project. There are setbacks to worry and not to mention total building coverage. I assume that you are connected to public sewer. If not there could be other issues. I own a surveying and civil engineering frim. Let me know if I can be of any help. Roger roger.lehmann@all-county-assoc.com / 610-469-3830
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