Homeowners are always looking for more space and sometimes space can be difficult to find, especially if you live in a city or a subdivision where homes are built closely together. If you are in need of my space and cannot build outward, you may be considering taking your space addition upward and into your attic. While you may be tempted to simply slap up some drywall and add a light or two, you should slow down and fully consider your options. An attic renovation that is not carefully planned out or is improperly completed will lead to trouble down the road and could be the reason for a low home valuation. Consider these ideas for how to plan an attic renovation for your Seattle, Washington home.

Consider building codes

There are a number of building codes that need to be considered when you finish an attic. While these codes vary from location to location, there are several requirements to consider.

  • At least 70 square feet minimum of floor space
  • At least 50% of usable floor space should have a ceiling height of 7.5ft or more
  • Adequate window area
  • Flooring that supports live loads
  • Suitable access
  • The heating system in your home needs to be capable of maintaining a steady attic temperature of at least 68 degree Fahrenheit.

Stick to a budget

Every homeowner who has ever undertaken a home renovation knows that unexpected expenses are guaranteed to pop up. That’s why it is always best to begin your renovation with a budget. For a full attic renovation you can expect to pay somewhere between $60,000 and $80,000. However this number can vary greatly depending upon the age of your home, the state of the attic, and the outcome you are looking for.

  • Attic bones: Does the attic need electricity, water, heat, cooling, etc.
  • Insulation: Proper insulation is a requirement in an attic renovation. Adding insulation can cost anywhere between $800-$3,500.
  • Ceilings: Ceiling slopes and ceiling height are specifically required to meet certain stipulations in order to pass inspection. If you need to raise the ceiling or add dormers you can see a bill of anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000.
  • Electrical includes running new wires, adding outlets, and putting in ceiling fixtures. On average, this will cost between $13,00 and $3,000.
  • HVAC: The types of system you will need depends largely on the climate of the area you live. Adding HVAC to the attic costs between $40 and $250, if your home already has heating and cooling.
  • Attic access: Stairs to the attic need to meet safety codes. Adding or updatings a new staircase will cost between $500 and $6,000 on average.

In addition to the cost of updating the structure of the attic, you will need to renovate the attic interior. This will consist of:

  • Flooring: Tile, hardwood, laminate, and carpeting all have different ranges in price.  Tiling is the cheapest while hardwood is the most expensive flooring.
  • Drywall: Adding drywall will cost between $375 and $1,500.
  • Ceiling: Installing a ceiling will cost somewhere around $1,500 depending on the size of your attic.
  • Window: An attic is required to have at least one window that is structurally sound. The cost of adding in a brand new window can be between $3,000 and $18,000.

Beyond the required construction items, your attic renovation cost may increase based on additional items you add. Be mindful of going overboard with these as they may have a major strain on your budget.

Enlist a professional

Your attic renovation will require help from a contractor, sub contractors, etc. Take the time to research your contractor and always ask family, friends, and neighbors for suggestions. Many times you can find a contractor who is experienced and reliable through word of mouth much easier than through a solo internet search.

While the requirements and codes may seem overwhelming, renovating an attic can be a big bonus especially if you need to sell your Seattle, Washington home fast.  Renovating an attic or converting it to a living area also nets an average of 56% return on investment. More usable square footage is always a plus when selling. A renovated attic may not be appealing to every buyer,  but it will make for a higher appraisal value and in the right market can be a valuable asset to your property. .