Remodel to Avoid Moving

Birdseye view of residential drafting remodelLocation: Portland
Project Specs: A growing family often gets to a place where they need to either move or remodel. If you love your neighbors, the schools and your general location, it’s worth considering a remodel. In this residential drafting project, there was minimal demolition and we only added 350 sq. ft. of new construction. The result: a laundry room and master bedroom with a huge walk-in closet and a full bath. The original layout of the house was extraordinarily easy to work with!


  1. Get an objective opinion about the bones of your house. Not every house is a good candidate for a remodel and a professional can tell you what’s going on with the foundation cracks and the less-than-level floors. As a residential drafter with years of experience, I can assure you that bringing in an engineer to evaluate the actual structure of your home at the outset of the project is worth every penny.
  2.  If your remodel ideas take your house up rather than out, make sure that there are no zoning restrictions on height in your neighborhood.
  3.  Consider what will bring the greatest value to your home. The experts say that there are three areas that buyers are the most interested in: master suites, kitchens, and bathrooms. Be especially attentive to closets and bathrooms..
  4.  Here is an interesting post about popular countertops for kitchens ‘Your Guide to 15 Popular Kitchen Countertop Materials’.
  5.  Anytime you add any new foundation of your home, you change the footprint. Not only does this require a permit, the price of the remodel will climb.
  6.  If your remodel means that you can have a main-floor master, more power to you. This might mean that you can stay in your home well past retirement. These days, some homes even have two master bedrooms.
  7.  Ever heard of “over-remodeling”? This is building more into your house than the neighborhood home values support. Keep this is mind as you will have less return on your investment if your home ends up being worth more than any other on the street.
  8.  If you are going to hire a general contractor, interview at least 2 or 3 before you make a decision. If you are going to DIY, review quotes, do reference checks, and sign a contract with each contractor.
  9.  No matter what kind of remodel you decide to do, be sure and get licensed professionals and permit the work. When it comes time to sell, having it done right will pay off.

A note about costs: When the economy took a dive in 2008, home building and home improvement slowed down and many contractors were willing to cut deals to stay busy. That’s not the case any more as the cost of construction materials and labor have risen. This is not to say that a residential remodel isn’t worthwhile, just that the cost almost always ends up being higher than one might expect. In fact, most bankers encourage borrows to get approval for 10 – 25% more than they think they need – just to cover any surprises.

When considering a remodel, don’t forget to include the costs of the “little” details too: window and door types, floor covering, trim, paint, siding, roofing… The list is endless.  Planning and preparation save money!

Floor plan for residential drafting remodelWall section of residential drafting remodel