Do you really need an architect?
Are you adding a simple family room onto your home with one door into the rest of the house and one to the outside? In a case such as this, a contractor should be able to move forward without the assistance of an architect. But if you are moving walls, redesigning the way one room flows into another adding a half loft and a spiral staircase or countless other complicated or intricate changes to your existing home, you may want to consider bringing an architect on board to make sure you not only get what you want, but that it is designed in a structurally sound and aesthetically appealing way. The addition of an architect to the project will add a substantial cost, but could make the difference between a mediocre addition and an amazing and beautiful change to your home.
Will the addition add value to your home?
Even if you have no plans to sell anytime soon, always consider the resale value of your property. It's not that you're going to turn a profit on your investment, but you should go into the job with realistic expectations about payback. Because they're among the most expensive home projects, addition jobs often return less than remodels. But if you are significantly adding to the square footage of your home or adding important types of rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms, your investment may pay off considerably.
The size of your addition is the single largest factor in determining the cost of both labor and materials. The larger your addition, the more you will pay for wood, drywall, roofing, concrete, not to mention any interior touches you add in terms of wall, floor and window coverings. However, don't let these costs scare you into building a smaller addition than you really want or need . You can research the use of reclaimed or reused building materials to help defray costs, and your contractor may not charge much more for a larger addition than a smaller one as you might think. Talk over options with your building pro to see if there are cost savings on both labor and materials if you buy in larger amounts.
Agree on price and payment schedules before you start
An addition is often a lengthy project and so a contractor may ask for money in advance of the work being started and after completion of specific milestones along the way. Make sure that the payment schedule and total amount is agreed upon and put in writing before the start of the project.