While we have always been mindful of our clients’ budgets and usually do in-house construction cost spreadsheets for projects, it seems that we’ve been involved in doing much more financial analysis for clients as part of the feasibility process these days. The owner of this 1950′s house in Laurelhurst realized that the house was getting “tired”, that previous remodel & addition work had actually harmed the qualities of the house, and that given the leaks in the crawlspace and roof (which was also sagging) “something” should be done. Our job is to help him figure out what that “something” should be.
Our first step was to evaluate the existing house. We reviewed public records and the original drawings, measured the house to prepare “as-built” drawings, and had structural and geotechnical engineers visit the site to give us their opinions. We also reviewed some ideas with the owner to develop a program to fit his aesthetic and lifestyle preferences now and for the future.
Based on this information, we developed two schemes. The first is a minimal remodel, staying within the existing building envelope. In this scheme, necessary structural corrections and waterproofing will be taken care of, and the master suite and kitchen will be reconfigured with new finishes. The second scheme is more ambitious, involving an upper floor addition and the removal of an unfortunate prior addition that cuts the main living spaces off from the back yard.
Based on the construction costs from projects that we have recently completed, we prepared in-house construction cost estimates for the two schemes. It came as no surprise that the addition scheme is substantially more expensive than the remodel option. Working with a real-estate agent, we evaluated the value of comparable houses in the neighborhood for each of the possible finished products. Based on these numbers, the addition scheme appears to provide a much better return on investment. We also think it would also be a much nicer house to live in. However, it will be up to the owner to decide which way he wants to go. Stay tuned for further updates…