Add or Move?

Before you get too far "down the road" the first question you should probably consider when you are considering a home addition is whether you can get what you want by moving instead of adding onto your existing house. Financially, you have to consider what you could sell your current house for and add that amount to how much you plan to put into your addition +5-10% fudge factor. You should then look for houses in that price range which may satisfy your needs.

For us, a big consideration was street, neighborhood, and school district. We love our street and our neighborhood and didn't want to leave it if possible. We can walk 3 blocks or less to several restaurants, drug stores, coffee shops, shops, etc. There is even a community center about 1/4 mile away. There is also a bus stop close by. The school district is fantastic and our commutes to Washington, D.C. are about as good as it gets from the suburbs. So, we limited our house search to our neighborhood and several surrounding neighborhoods with similar offerings. This is a popular neighborhood though for all of the reasons I listed above so houses that had what we wanted either required more work (and money!) to get what we want (and could get with an addition to our house) or were out of our price range. So, we continued with our planning process and continued to look throughout the design phase. You should do this too. In fact, I still did a web search today on Homes Database to see if there is anything that we would be interested in - we still haven't signed the contract with our builder.

We also love the basics of our house. It sits nicely on the lot which is also reasonably sized at about 7000 square feet (fairly large for Arlington actually!). We'll also still have a small backyard when we are done with the project.

So, we are still moving forward...