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Question DetailsAsked on 8/9/2013

What is a reasonable cost range for a 600 sq ft second story addition of 2 bedrooms and 1 bath (El Cerrito, CA) on an 1950's stucco house?

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Assuming you do not need upgraded foundations or first floor walls for some reason so existing first floor framing can take a second story as-is, probably about $80-130/SF of floor space. This assumes reuse of tiles and unfinished attic if existing tile roof. The $80-100 range would be bare drywall and cheap carpet flooring or sheet vinyl and stucco exterior. $130 would be more a typical "new home" look, and might get you some usable attic space if a peaked roof. $150-200/SF would be upper-scale construction.

Bear in mind adding a $50-100,000 improvement on a 600 SF home might make it n oddity in the neighborhood, so come sale time you might recover little of the new construction cost. However, since you home is one of the older ones in the area, perhaps you would just be moving up toward the norm in your area, which does have a pretty high average house sale price. I would talk to your favorite Realtor about this before jumping forward, because you might find you would be better off selling and moving, putting the $50-100K down on a new house that is the size you want rather than putting it into a 70 year old house, particularly if electrical and plumbing has not been repalced in the existing house.

Along that line, because you might be adding 50% or more of the existing square footage, you might find that code requires total electrical replacement if you have original 1950 wiring, so that would add maybe $3-7,000 to your cost, and if plumbing is original (probably galvanized iron and ductile sewer with clay tile runout) it would make sense to replace that too, bringing your utility replacement total up to maybe $10-15,000 on the existing house.

You can see the issue mushrooms quickly, and I would hate (not having seen your house or what part of town you live in, of course) to see you put a lot of money that might be considered by Realtors to be a tear-down, which that size and age house commonly would be.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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