Is an Addition Always the Best Option?
LESLIE: Sharon in Indiana needs some help with a possible addition. What can we do for you?SHARON: Hi. I’d like to see if it’s really worth it to put an addition on my house so that I can get to the basement from inside the house instead of going through the garage and down the stairs.TOM: And that requires an addition? You don’t have room to carve out for the basement stairs inside the house as it is now?SHARON: No. No, our house is really small and the only place where we could put it, there’s wiring that goes along that side of the house. So my husband said we’d have to move all the wiring.TOM: So, you have to actually physically build a foundation and all in order to get this basement entrance inside the house, inside the four walls of your house?SHARON: Yes.TOM: That’s the only reason you’re going to do the addition?SHARON: Yes.TOM: Hmm. I don’t know. I mean, typically, if you’re going to add finished living space, it makes sense; but I don’t know about putting on an addition just for a staircase. I mean if you’re going to add a bathroom, that’s going to help; adding kitchens; you know, adding more bedrooms. All of these things help add value to a house. Just a stairway to a basement, I don’t know. I would talk to some local realtors and see what other houses are shaped like and whether they think that they could get more for your house; just sort of an informal appraisal.Hey, have you thought about a spiral stair?SHARON: Yes, we have. But the only place for the spiral stair, again, would be like either right inside the living room door …TOM: Right.SHARON: … and there’s wiring all along that whole side of the house.TOM: Well, but moving wiring is easier than moving …LESLIE: Is way easier.TOM: Yeah, than building an addition, you know?SHARON: (overlapping voices) Oh, it is?TOM: There’s no foundation involved, for one thing, Sharon.SHARON: (chuckling) OK.TOM: Alright? It’s not that hard. It sounds to me like your husband doesn’t want to do it. (Leslie chuckles)SHARON: I think that’s probably the problem. (Tom laughs) We may just have to move.TOM: “Oh, I don’t know, Sharon. It’s just so hard. We’re going to have to move all that wiring. Probably need an addition to do that.” (Tom and Sharon laugh) I don’t think it’s quite that hard. But if you’re going to do an addition, that’s a pretty serious step and there’s a lot of expense involved and, just to get a staircase, it is probably not going to be worth it. If you can pick up some more finished living space, especially another bathroom, that helps to change the economic equation. OK, Sharon?SHARON: OK. Thank you.TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.