Master Suite Building Basics
Bumping out your house to add a master suite means giving up yard space, excavating, pouring a foundation, framing — the whole shebang that requires the full range of tradesmen, from roofer to plumber to tile-setter.
You’ll need zoning approval and building inspections, expanded heating and cooling systems, and probably an upgraded electrical panel, water heater, and burglar alarm, too.
Think Outside the Bump-Out
If you take advantage of existing space for your master suite addition, you can trim 20% to 60% from your budget. Here’s how.
- Build up instead of out: Add your master suite on top of ground floor space — over a porch, garage, or previous addition. The disadvantage? Ground-level space is easier to age into.
- Steal underutilized space: Incorporate that rarely used guest room — even better, that extra bathroom — into your master suite. You’ll save thousands if you can tap into existing water and sewer lines.
- Finish unfinished space: Convert unfinished basement, attic, or even garage space into a master suite. Because you don’t have to build a foundation, exterior walls, or a roof, you’ll save 50% to 60% compared with a full-scale addition.
Gift That Keeps on Costing
Your master suite expenses don’t end when the last faucet and light switch are installed. Every month you’ll pay higher energy bills to heat, cool, and light your new space.
If you add 400 square feet to a 2,000-square-foot house — 20% more space — your energy bills likely will grow by 20%, too. Your property tax bill may increase by a larger percentage, because you’re adding space and installing a bathroom, which tax assessors value at a higher rate than other rooms.
Be Realistic About Payback
Adding a master suite will make a big difference to your life, but may not equally impact the value of your house. If yours is the only master suite on the block, you’ll recoup less than if master suites are standard in your neighborhood. Not everything is about money, however. If you plan to stay in your house for another three to five years, adding a private oasis could just be … priceless.