Home additions in Newton, MA

Different Types of Home Additions in Newton and How to Choose One

A home addition is a significant home improvement project that expands the finished living area of an existing home. Most homeowners eventually desire to expand their homes. Even many who believe their home is adequate occasionally want a bigger kitchen, an extra bedroom, or a bigger bathroom. That is where home additions come into play.

Home additions come in a variety of basic types to accommodate homeowners' desires for living space, cost, and aesthetics. They can range in cost from affordable attic or basement additions to expensive full-size conventional additions requiring excavation, footings, and additional siding and roofing. Garage conversions can truly be thought of as expansions because so much living space is quickly created. Additionally, a secondary housing unit that is separate from the main house and used as a separate residence is a more popular option. These are also categorized as home expansions and are known as DADUs (detached additional dwelling units).

Thinking of having home additions in Newton? Here are some of the six most common types of additions that can expand your living space, along with the considerations you should make when choosing the one that’s ideal for you and your home.

Attic/Basement Conversion

Good for: increasing living space without expanding the footprint of the house.

One of the most affordable home addition types is to convert an existing unfinished space in a basement or attic into a usable living space. While it’s technically not an “addition” because it doesn't increase the actual footprint of your home, it’s one of the few home addition projects that increase real estate worth enough to cover its whole investment.

However, it is only feasible to convert an attic or a basement into a living space that complies with building codes if it meets specific structural requirements. In order to support the structural loads of active living spaces, ceiling height must be adequate, and floor and ceiling structures must adhere to engineering specifications.

A basement must be completely dry, and attics must be able to meet the local construction code's standards for insulation and ventilation. Only homes with attics that are framed without roof trusses are suitable for attic conversions. Egress exits are required in any converted facilities that incorporate sleeping areas, which can require the installation of unique windows.

The average cost of finishing an entire attic space is usually around $40,000. Finishing a basement typically costs approximately half as much. However, expenses might vary greatly according to the size of the area and whether structural changes, such as additional egress windows, are required.

A Conventional House Addition

Good for: Major, multi-room home extensions

A conventional house addition is a multi-room construction that is added to a house's side and is always accessible from the original house. A well-planned home addition can transform an existing property into something completely new. The great room, dining room, family room, bathroom, guest bedroom, or master bedroom can all be included in a home expansion.

All of the challenges and restrictions associated with new home construction apply to significant expansions. The same construction rules and permit procedures apply to them, and they typically call for considerable excavation, foundation work, and the hiring of subcontractors to put in wiring, plumbing, and HVAC service. These extensions are frequently referred to as AADUs (attached accessory dwelling units) when they are created with all the characteristics required for independent living.

This kind of home addition project is regarded as a big one, and the average cost is around $72,000. However, if the addition is particularly spacious or uses high-end materials, it is readily conceivable to spend $150,000 or more.


Good for: Including safe recreational areas.

A sunroom is a side-of-the-house extension that often serves as an additional living space. Usually, doors are used to separate sunrooms from the main parts of the house.

Sunrooms, which are smaller than a full-size addition, are typically constructed on-site from pre-fabricated components like aluminum and thermal-resistant glass. Sometimes, sunrooms are stick-built using the same lumber, concrete, and other building supplies used to construct the home itself, creating a sturdy living space that visually blends in with the main structure.

Sunrooms never have kitchens or bathrooms, and they never serve as permanent sleeping quarters. Certain characteristics are allowed in sunrooms that are not possible when building a traditional addition because sunrooms are not, according to code, intended to be year-round permanent living structures. Sunrooms, for instance, can be constructed with bigger glass and other fenestration that is not feasible with a typical addition. Take note that air conditioning and heating are not required in sunrooms.

Additionally, having a sunroom professionally installed may be an expensive endeavor; nationally, prices hover around $30,000. If you are an experienced DIYer, there are DIY-friendly kit sunrooms that can be had for as low as $5,000.

Garage Conversion

Good for: In-law suites; adding a substantial space for a reasonable cost.

With the addition of flooring, a solid wall in place of the garage door, and the addition of a ceiling, a one- or two-vehicle attached garage can be converted into a living area. Garage conversions typically result in living spaces or bedrooms. Sometimes garage conversions turn into complete ADUs (accessory dwelling units), complete with bathrooms and kitchens. These projects, referred to as AADUs (attached auxiliary dwelling units), are frequently carried out concurrently with the construction of a new detached garage somewhere else on the property.

Converting a garage into a living space is a very attractive choice because the fundamental framework of the walls, foundation, subfloor, and the roof is already in place. Furthermore, some of the essential elements for a home, such as power and a few windows, are already there, or at least partially so. There is a step saved because drywall is sometimes already put on the studs in garages.

However, garage conversions may have significant drawbacks. One reason is that it could be challenging to aesthetically and functionally integrate the conversion with the rest of the house. Major systems like HVAC and plumbing are frequently not present, so they must be installed.

One of the more economical ways to add a sizable quantity of extra living space is through this. Garage conversion costs roughly $15,000 on average, but only if you're adding a family room or other basic living area. It can easily cost $30,000 or more to convert a sizable garage into an apartment-like addition with a bathroom and kitchenette. Even so, this is still much less expensive than a significant structural improvement.

A Tiny House or DADU (Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit)

Good for: Rentable or in-law suites; separating new living space from the house.

A DADU (detached accessory dwelling unit), also known as a backyard cottage, tiny house, guesthouse, carriage house, granny pod, or granny flat, adds space to the house and land even if it is not physically connected to the house. DADUs increase the amount of room available for families to live together and can also be rented out to help pay the mortgage.

A DADU cannot rely on the amenities of the main house because these are independent units with their own plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems as well as kitchens, baths, and sleeping/living areas. As a result, this style of addition is one of the most expensive, costing at least $100,000. However, a tiny house/DADU might become a profitable rental property in areas where zoning permits such buildings.

Choosing Home Additions in Newton

No matter the magnitude, adding more living space to your house is a significant endeavor that needs careful planning and a close examination of your finances. Such a project can cost as little as $20,000 to complete the unfinished attic, basement, or garage, to as much as $100,000 or more for major multi-room extensions or DADUs (detached ancillary dwelling units).

Even though expanding the living area requires a significant financial outlay, it may be the most sensible course of action if the family's finances permit it and the need for more room is urgent. Instead of uprooting your family to relocate to a new, more expensive home, it is nearly always cheaper and more practical to build on to an existing home. However, carefully consider the project to make sure you are obtaining what you require.

Always consider the long-term scenario when determining the appropriate type of home addition. Although the cost may seem prohibitive, keep in mind that your needs may change significantly over the next few years. Here are some points to remember:

Will your family size change?

A small bump-out may seem reasonable given the needs of today, but what if your family expands? What if you have to move in with your elderly parents? If, however, you anticipate an empty nest situation in the near future, a modest project that adds a luxury bath or home theater may be the better course of action than a massive multi-room addition.

Will your financial situation change?

Young families on a tight budget might want to keep the cost of their home improvement as low as possible, but you might regret it later on when your career takes off. However, if you want to retire in a few years, it might not be a good idea to take out a second mortgage now to pay for that expensive renovation.

Will a home addition add useful real estate value?

When done with care, some home upgrades can help you regain a sizeable percentage of your investment in extra equity when you decide to sell your house. Major home improvements are normally not a good choice if you intend to sell your house soon because the improved value is typically seen years later rather than immediately. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, such as when the addition is necessary to keep your home consistent with the neighborhood's other real estate properties. A few home improvements that quickly pay for themselves are those that add bedrooms or full bathrooms.

What is the "cost of money"?

If you intend to get a loan, as many people do, consider the banking industry as you choose the type of project to launch. Do you have easy access to low-interest loans like home equity lines of credit? Are the current interest rates historically low, making it desirable to refinance your home to include extra money for your addition? If so, it would be wise to start that big job right now. However, you might decide it would be wiser to choose a less expensive, smaller addition has given the historically high loan rates that are in effect right now.

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