Pros and Cons of Building an Addition

Your needs are changing and your family is growing, so the house you live in no longer suits you. The most common solution is to move into a bigger house, but that’s not necessarily your best option. Building an addition onto your current home can be easier and more cost-efficient in many cases, but doesn’t come without risks.

Why you should build an addition

Stay where you are.

Moving houses is an anxiety-inducing hassle: You box up everything you own, squeeze huge furniture through tiny doorways, abandon the appliances you paid to upgrade and find boxes of broken possessions when you unpack at your new abode.

Building an addition allows you stay where you are. As ProMatcher writers put it, “Nobody likes moving! Your kids won’t have to change schools and you won’t have to find a new job. Also, you won’t have to leave behind the memories that you’ve created in your home.”

Better cost.

Remodeling a house is often more affordable than buying a new house, especially if interest rates on home equity loans are low,  Andrea Davis of Realty Times points out. Consider the selling, closing, moving, local/property tax and other costs associated with vacating your old home and investing in a new one.

Fits your needs.

If you’re considering building an addition, you already know what that addition will be used for, so you can design it around your specific needs. Moving to a new home involves scouring for a house that continues to fulfill your current needs in addition to meeting your unfulfilled needs. That’s a lot to live up to and usually involves a certain amount of compromise — not so with an addition.

“Rather than depending on what’s available on the market, you can have the addition tailored specifically to your needs and tastes that will match your lifestyle perfectly,” writes realtors Jack Krenek and Patty Haynsworth. Jack and Patty also point out that you control the costs associated with the work, allowing you to complete the addition in the timeframe you can afford.

Why you shouldn’t build an addition

Less yard space.

You have a set amount of property, so more house means less lawn. Lee Wallender of The Spruce cautions that once you build a ground-level addition to your house, you can never recover that green space. You could build up instead of out, but that requires a lot more work to reinforce the foundation and remodel parts of your existing home.

Restrictive regulations.

Even if you own your house, your property is not yours do to with whatever you want. Your city still has zoning rules that can limit your expansion options. Moving into an existing house means that it already abides by zoning regulations.


Moving can be an inconvenience, but it’s not as much of a headache as living with an in-progress home remodeling. Jack and Patty point out “you and your family could be living through a ton of noise, dust, and disruptions for weeks or even months if you choose to remain in the home while the construction is going on. Depending on exactly what the project entails, you might be stuck having to do without certain important components of the home.”

More possible complications.

Not every home addition is a success or legitimate improvement. It can open a can of worms that leads to more and more problems, especially if your house turns out to be a money pit. Unexpected issues or costs can crop up mid-renovation, and — as Davis advises — a poorly designed addition can detract from the appearance of your home and negatively impact its appeal.

Choosing whether to build an addition or not requires you to weigh the cost, convenience, benefit and possibilities. In some cases, it can be a better option than moving.

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