Sensible Remodeling

Adding Living Space

Adding living space is one of the most expensive improvements you can make, but it can also be one of the best. You’ll benefit from the additional space, and in most cases, you can count on getting your money back. For many home buyers, the number of rooms in a house is a key consideration, ranking close to or even ahead of the kind of neighborhood and the general condition of the house. You can have a pleasant house in an ideal neighborhood, but if it is short of living space—if it has only two small bedrooms and a tiny living room and lacks a family room—it is not going to appeal to the vast majority of families. You’ll have to wait until you find the one buyer who will want just that particular size of the house.


The number of rooms in a house interests almost every buyer, not just heads of families with dozens of kids. Rooms represent living space, and the more rooms you get for your money, the better, up to a point. If you check the real estate ads in your local newspaper, you’ll see that most of them mention the amount of living space in the house, not by the number of square feet but by the number of rooms. You’ll find ads reading, “ten rooms,” “four comfortable bedrooms,” “living room plus family room” It’s not the total number of square feet of living space that’s important, for few people can visualize 1,800 or 2,000 square feet; it’s how many rooms there are.

One Of The Ways Value Is Determined

Comparing the number of rooms in a house is the basic way to determine value. If one house has eight rooms and another has six rooms and they are both in the same price range, it’s obvious to most people that the eight-room house is the better buy, other things being equal. You are less likely to run the risk of over improvement when you add space because only in the strict sense of the word are you making an improvement. What you are actually doing is increasing the size of the house rather than improving one particular area of it.

More Space Is and Objective Reality

There is little room for a negative reaction to added space if the addition is handled well. You can see it, and you can measure it, and what you end up with is more living space. Added space is not like a super-glorified kitchen or a bath that might appeal to you but might not strike the fancy of someone else, or at least not enough for a prospective buyer to pay extra money for it. Space can only be viewed more or less objectively and positively. Just about everybody appreciates it and wants it. But you’ve got to use some good common sense about the kind and amount of space you add. If you have a four-bedroom house and add another bedroom, the chances are you won’t get your money back, simply because there is not a great demand for a five-bedroom house. And if you add a family room large enough to throw a party for sixty people, you may have trouble finding a buyer with exactly the same needs.

Demographics Are a Factor

You should also keep in mind that families are becoming smaller. Fewer and fewer couples are having a lot of children. It costs too much money to raise them and send them to college. For years we have considered the average family to consist of two adults and two children, but the way things are going it may be safer to assume that the family of the future will consist of only three members. That means that four bedrooms may be the maximum.