Building Up vs. Building Out? Top 10 Reasons to Build a Home Addition Instead of Moving

light living room in Chicago project

Rather than leave their beloved neighborhoods and trying to set an anchor in a new one with a larger home, many Americans have decided to either build up or build out. In some situations, space is so tight that building up is the only options; but what about those who do have the option to build up or out? Is one better than the other?

The case against moving

There are many obvious negatives to selling a beloved home and moving to a different neighborhood. However, you can choose the same neighborhood and still see some downfalls, most of which are financial. Consider how much you have to pay in closing costs, realtor fees, transfer taxes, lawyers’ fees and more.

If you’ve got a family, moving only makes them feel that unsettled anxiety associated with picking up roots. Will your commute to work improve or get worse when you move? Will the kids have to change schools?

A collective “ugh” can be heard and felt when the thought of packing up all your belongings becomes a reality, and then paying movers to get it all safely packed and into your new home … it’s not a pleasant experience.

Unless it’s completely necessary, most homeowners will begin to think about investing in improving their current homes instead of making that difficult transition to a different one.

For the people who decide to remodel, they know there is too much sentimentality tied into the home to leave, and the budget just looks so much better with a remodel/addition than a move. The renovation, regardless of the amount of time it takes, is far better than moving and in the end they know they know they’ll earn back their upfront costs for doing the remodel. Finally, they are fairly certain they won’t fall into a situation where they’re “over improving.”

Building out

The most typical scenario for a homeowner is to build out on their ground floor. This is for people who have adequate area to increase their footprint. It involves installing a new foundation (or slab, depending on the design) and the construction of walls and a roof that will blend with the current home’s roof. If the outward expansion is minimal, there might not be any need to build a foundation, which could save time and money.

While there is some construction noise and clutter associated with building out, the majority of the home remains livable, and that’s a big plus for families that can’t handle major disruption.

The obvious sacrifice in this situation is you’re going to lose some of your yard. Also, you have to ensure that you have 7.5 feet of variance (code on distance may differ depending on local laws) between your property and your neighbors’ if you’re going to stay in compliance.

Building up

Building up doesn’t always mean adding another level. In some cases, it’s adding large dormers to give you that much-needed space. Another option is remodeling an attic into a living space. Furthermore, for garages with a great amount of space above can be retrofitted to include an office, bedroom or guestroom – the options are not limited to traditional uses.

Building up, even if it’s a third story on top of the existing two, is the best option when floor space is too limited to give you what you need. Whether it’s a second level on top of a one-story structure or adding a third level to a two-story home, design-and-build contractors can make it happen.

The downside to this idea is that some municipalities limit how high a house can be built. And because you’re building up, you need to include the 80 to 120 square feet you’re going to lose with a stairwell installed. Also, building up requires more disruption to the habitable space, which means you’re going to have to find a place to reside while the construction is underway.

Bring in a trusted design-build contractor

If you’re considering building on to your home, you have a ton of questions that deserve careful consideration. At New Concept 180, we’ve established ourselves as go-to leaders in design-and-build projects, including building up and building out.

Our designers will have a discussion about your needs, your ideas and your vision for your new space. They’ll also provide you with many options as they have years and years of experience designing new space, up and out.

Our team consists of every type of professional that’s needed on a residential addition project. The phases of the project are handled seamlessly from designers to builders, ensuring that your project will be completed according to your vision. Check out our press page to see what people are saying about our work.

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