Should You Add-on or Move?

There is a principle in real estate appraisal calledconformitythat says that all homes in a given area should be of similar size and value. If you add on to your home and, in effect, over-build the neighborhood, the value of the smaller homes will bring your value down regardless of how much you have invested in the property.

If you plan to stay in your home for a long time, then you should be able toenjoy the additionand thereby recapture the cost regardless of whether it brings any additional value to the property when it sells.

Another difficulty that homeowners face when making an addition to their home is creating what appraisers callfunctional obsolescence. For example, if an additional family room or bedroom being built causes an unconventional floorplan, the new room could be functionally hampered and thereby affect value.

Contractors will advise people that an addition has to be ofsignificant sizeto spread the cost of possible additional heating, air-conditioning, and foundation work. Many times a small room addition may cost as much as a larger one.

Certain room conversions can actuallylessen the value of a property. For instance, converting a two car garage to a family room will usually penalize the value of a home and could hurt its marketability. People expect a home to have a garage and, even though the additional living space is nice, it still needs the garage.

Once a home gets to a certain size in square footage, prospective buyers expectdifferent types of amenitiesin the kitchens, bathrooms and all throughout the home. Unless updating occurs at the same time the addition does, these things will be outdated.

Many times homeowners are better off tosell their existing home and buy another home. If the homeowner should decide to make an addition, careful attention should be given to all the considerations mentioned above. Good third-party advice can be invaluable.

Jane S. Idzi Jane Idzi specializes in the Park Cities and areas south of LBJ/635 including Lake Forest, Devonshire, Preston Hollow, and the historical districts of M-Streets and Munger Place. She has earned the coveted e-Pro Certification in addition to CCRC and Historic Home Specialist and is a member of the Texas Association of Realtors, the MetroTex Association of Realtors, Dallas Chamber of Commerce and Dallas Network Connection. She was voted a DMagazine’s Dallas Top Realtor for 2005.Her website,, boasts over 12,900 individual visitors a month and over 467,000 hits a month. She can be reached at 214-522-7997.