Your family has outgrown your current home, therefore your only option is to pack up and look for a new piece of real estate that better suits your needs, right? Wrong. If you've got a piece of property you just love, why move when you can simply add to your home and stay where you are? If you're in a prime location like Old Algiers main street, or you have a real connection with your home and it's layout, consider building a home addition rather than moving. This article will give you the basics.

The first thing you need to do is to make your house plans. You need to figure out what sort of addition you want and whether the lot and your home's structure can handle it. Think about what your family needs above and beyond what you currently have. Do you need an extra bedroom? Another bathroom? More garage space? An office? A solarium? These are all problems that can be solved by an addition. Work with an architect to find out what's possible.

Most additions extend out horizontally from the house, using up extra lot space and shrinking the yard. If the other homes are too close by for you to build out or if you don't want to sacrifice your yard, you can also build up. By raising the roof and adding an extra full or half story, or even a turret or single room, you can get your extra space without using up any more square footage on your lot. Just be careful to have your structure tested to make sure it can withstand the extra load.

Your second step should be to consult with a general contractor, or preferably several at the early stages of the process. Get quotes not just for the money it will cost but also for how long they expect the process to take and how much of a disruption the workers will be on your normal home lift. A balance of these three factors will tell you which contractor is right for you. Our friends at Housemaster Home Inspections (details here) remind us that the cheapest quote is not always the best quote. Do your research.

And finally, prepare your family for the disruption that having workers on site during the renovations will represent. If the project is big enough, you may even want to move out of your place and into a hotel or friend's house while the work is going on.

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