Sometimes you just can’t find a way to incorporate a home office into the existing floor plan of your home. Either you don’t have the space for an office, there are specific needs that require excessive upfitting and remodeling, or you need additional privacy that your present layout doesn’t offer. In these instances, an addition might serve you best.

Building a Home Office Addition

In times such as these, working from home is no longer a lifestyle reserved for a small portion of the professional world. It’s become the norm for tens of millions of American workers. And it’s likely that we’ll never return to a business world where 70 to 80 percent of people work outside of the home. Working from home is an exploding movement that’s going to stick around for years to come.

If you don’t currently have a home office (and there’s no way to renovate your existing layout to account for one), a home office addition is the next-best option. Here are a few factors to think about as you move in this direction:

1. Meet With Architects and Builders

It’s one thing to have an idea in your head. But the challenge lies in taking that idea and making it a reality. There are so many more factors to consider aside from how it looks. And it’s for this reason that you need to meet with architects and builders early on in the process.

By consulting with a team of architects and builders, you can determine what’s practical, what’s not, how much it’s going to cost you, what the timeline will look like, etc.

2. Consider the Effects on the Rest of the House

When you remodel the interior of your house, everything is confined to that space. You’re not actually changing the footprint of your house or doing anything to modify the exterior. But with a home addition, you’re changing all of that (and more).

The roof is one of those elements you have to be especially cognizant of. The roof must be properly designed and installed in such a way that it provides a seamless transition with the existing roof and doesn’t create any water runoff issues. 

There’s also an aesthetic element. You don’t want the home office addition to look like an addition. Ideally, someone who has never seen your house would look at it from the curb and assume that it’s always been there. (Accomplishing this requires a very good architect.) 

3. Optimize for Your Needs

Most people have to turn a spare bedroom into an office. The fact that you’re building a brand-new space for your home office means you can optimize it from the ground up. Think about everything from lighting and sound proofing to the placement of windows and built-in storage.

4. Set the Right Budget

It’s impossible to nail down an exact dollar amount for a home addition, but your architect and builder should be able to give you a rough estimate. Take this estimate and be sure to build a cushion into it. 

A 10 to 15 percent cushion will allow you to uncover any unforeseen issues or hidden expenses that emerge along the way. It also ensures your project never gets delayed because of a lack of cash. 

5. Pull the Right Permits

As part of the vetting process for a builder and/or contractors, be sure to ask them about their process. One key step is to have the right permits pulled. A failure to pull permits could lead to costly fines, delays, and other complicated issues. 

6. Be Patient

There’s a saying in construction that you should always expect a project to cost twice as much and take twice as long as originally planned. And while this is a little bit of overkill, the sentiment remains true. If a contractor says he’ll have your addition completed in eight weeks, you should probably assume it’ll take more like 10 to 12 weeks. If he finishes sooner, great! If not, at least your expectations were tempered. 

Plan Ahead

A home addition isn’t like painting a few walls and rearranging furniture. It’s a permanent modification to your most valuable financial asset. So make sure you take your time and plan ahead. It’s better to take a little longer and get it right than to rush through the process and end up with an addition you aren’t happy with. Good luck!