A primary suite addition is a place to call your own — no kiddie toys, no teens hogging the bathroom a heavenly space where you can bathe, dress, or simply relax in peace. But paradise doesn’t come cheap.
A primary suite addition to a house has a national median cost of $172,500 and pays back 56% of its cost, according to the "Remodeling Impact Report" from the National Association of REALTORS®.
Primary Suite Building Basics
Bumping out your house to add a primary 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 primary suite addition, you can trim 20% to 60% from your budget. Here’s how.
Build up instead of out: Add your primary 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 primary 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 primary 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 primary 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 primary suite will make a big difference to your life, but may not equally impact the value of your house. If yours is the only primary suite on the block, you’ll recoup less than if primary 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.