Home Additions In Minnesota, where to start? The First Steps.
Updated: May 20
Let's get down to business. No Spam here, just honest answers on how to begin the process to add onto your home in the Greater Minneapolis, MN area.
Before jumping into the idea of a home Addition there are a few things to consider first. There are a few factors that I like to talk about with clients when they are at this beginning phase. We can talk vision, contractor, process, and money later! Let's jump right in.
Can you even build on to the home or on your property?
First things first... You or your Contractor are going to have to talk to the City where you live and discuss their steps. Every city is different with what they will want to see, some are more thorough than others. You may have to talk to the city planner or possibly just the building inspector. They will want to see some things before they approve any permits to build such as, a site survey, or the property set backs, existing floor plans, a wetlands survey, site plans with the new addition added, grading and drainage plan, landscape plan, or building rendering, topography, etc. So prepare yourself for a process that could take a little time, communication, applications, and patience. The city may not be in as much of a rush as you are, so it always helps to be courteous and kind with city officials if you want things to progress smoothly. Just make sure that you communicate and give them what they need to progress to their next step... on time, as some things are time sensitive and it's usually first come first serve.
Will you need a Variance? If you want to build beyond your setbacks or allowable space that you can build on your property, then you will need a variance. For example you may have a setback to the edge of your property line of 10 ft, but you want to build out to 5 ft of the property line... You will need to apply for this with your city planner and get your neighbors input as well. This may require a visit to the city planning commission meeting that you can present your plan. Make sure that you get the info that they will need to approve your variance before this meeting or you will be put off until the next meeting (which is usually every month). This can cost you around $200 to $500.
If you are Building an ADU (additional dwelling unit or mother-in-law suite) then you may need to get an interim use permit that is approved by the city planner and then will go to the city council for approval. You may need to talk to the public works director about the grading and drainage too. This process could probably take some time (60-120 days) until they have their city council meeting. At this meeting you will usually be able to present what you would like to do and speak. Also, your neighbors that are within 100 - 400 feet of your home can be allowed to chime in as well. This permit can cost between $475 and $800.
If you do not have a Site Survey then you most likely are going to need one. A certified survey company will order the deed to your home and find the pinned boundaries to your yard. Then they measure the home and any pervious (water can drain through) or impervious (solid surface) objects on the property. They will then Show driveways, sidewalks, outbuildings, and fence lines. Show partial location of adjacent structures. Locate and stake the lot corners. Show the setbacks of the building locations on the adjacent properties. Finally they will Draw Certificate of Survey on 11x17 paper and make pdf file for your legal use. It can cost between $600 and $1,250, but Topography will cost extra ( about $500).
Electrical, depending on the scope of work the city may need to disconnect or move your power lines before the electrician can do their work. This process can be started by talking to the provider and setting this up with a project planner. There usually will be costs involved with this as well. As far as the electrician, they can set up a temp power pole that the city will hook up to while construction is being done.
So, this is not an exhaustive list but will get you pointed in the right direction. Let's get equipped with the tools needed before you put time, emotional energy, and money into drawings, design, and selecting materials.
Stay excited though! This is just the beginning, and if you are able to build on your property or add onto your home then we can move on to next steps.
If you need help and want to work with a Remodeling and Design Build company getting this process started, please consider reaching out to R&B Homes. We have been serving most cities in the Greater Minneapolis and St. Paul areas since 2003. Thank you ~ James