“The Seamlessness Test,” or
Housing’s Hippocratic Oath

The best additions are invisible.

That is, they blend in so well with the original home that you can’t tell where one starts and the other begins.

At the other extreme, there are homes which look — and feel — like they’re actually two parts, stapled together.

Realtor Advice

My takeaway?

Three, actually.

One.  Changing a home’s floor plan or footprint is not for beginners. 

On a 1-10 scale, if new painting and carpet are a “1,” remodeling a Kitchen is a “6” or “7,” a major addition is a “9” or “10.” 

Which leads to . . .

Two.  If you’re going tackle such a project, work with a quality contractor, and be sure to budget 6% to 8% of the total cost for an architect.

It’s worth it, believe me. 

If you’re not willing or able to do that . . .

Three.  Better to leave things as they are, rather than make the house worse.

Call that the real estate equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath (“first, do no harm”).

P.S.:  Empirically, I’d say that less than 20% of all additions pass the “seamlessness” test.

And yes, I certainly understand that an addition can be highly functional even if it’s not especially aesthetic.

However, if resale is even a remote consideration . . . aesthetics matter.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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