Adding on vs Buying big vs Modern-Shed

Here at Modern-Shed, our design professionals often meet customers who are fed up with their living situation.
When a family needs more space, sometimes the first thing they’ll consider is adding onto their home or buying a new, bigger house with an additional bedroom.
Once they embark down those paths, however, they soon realize how costly those options are.
“Whether they’ve gone to an architect or they’ve actually hired a contractor and bid a job, or they’ve researched online, they realize it’s more complex than they thought,” said Modern-Shed design pro Jeff Bergerson. “That’s when they start to open their minds to other options.”
Building a detached studio such as a Modern-Shed for a home office or guest room living space is far less expensive than adding onto your home or buying a bigger house.
For the proof, all you need is to look at the numbers.
10x18 guestroom_2The average cost to build an additional room runs anywhere from $80 to $200 per square feet, according to Home Advisor, but higher (close to $400) in competitive markets like Seattle.
For an 80-square-foot room, that comes out to upwards of $32,000 for a home addition, with factors such as size, architectural services, support beams, electrical wiring and more influencing the cost.
More realistically, however, homeowners planning a home addition are more likely to spend more than $200,000 on their remodel in areas like Seattle, San Francisco and southern California.
“The customers I talk to who have already gone through getting quotes, these people are already tired, they’re already discouraged, and they’ve spent thousands of dollars just to get drawings and bids only to find out, ‘Hey, it’s going to cost $80,000 when here I thought it was going to be $20,000,” Jeff notes. “ And it’s going to take over a year. That’s when they say that’s not close to what they expected, so they look for new ideas.”
Additionally, building an addition might require updating the rest of your house to current standards, which can be like “opening a can of worms,” Jeff says.
“If you build a detached studio, no one’s looking at the rest of your house,” he says.
For folks not interested in turning their home into a construction zone, they might be tempted to just up and move. However, the costs to upgrade to a new home are even more alarming.
In Los Angeles, the median price of a three-bedroom home that was actively listed in February 2019 was $730,000, but the median price of a four-bedroom home was $979,000, for a difference of $249,000, according to figures obtained on the real estate listing site Redfin.
In Portland, the price difference between a three-bedroom and four-bedroom home came out to $180,000, and in Seattle, the difference was even more striking: home buyers would have to shell out an average of $748,000 more for a four-bedroom home compared to a three-bedroom home.
“The cost to upgrade the size of a house is astronomical,” Jeff says. “It’s far more than they expect, especially if they’re talking about increasing bedrooms.”
Factor in the cost and stress of moving, potentially pulling your children out of their school district, leaving a neighborhood you love, and messing with your mortgage interest rate, and many of our customers come to terms with the fact that they don’t want to move.
Modern-Sheds start at a base price of around $13,000, depending on the size of the shed, and not including, taxes, delivery and installation.
“So many people want to stay where they are and they just need to find another solution and that’s how they’re discovering us,” Jeff says. “You could have a new shed four weeks from the time of your order.”

Let’s Get Grounded: A Look at Pin Pier

At Modern-Shed, we’re often asked: What needs to be done if a site needs to be leveled before placing a Modern-Shed on it?

 

This is a great question and one that comes up often in hilly areas like Seattle or the San Francisco Bay Area, where many of our customers reside – for these customers, building a retaining wall can get expensive and could require pricey geotech engineering and design work.

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The work-from-home solution

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PORTLAND — When you’re two executives working in high-powered fields, finding space to work is critical.

It becomes even more so when you have two young children at home.

Sara and Greg both work from their home in Portland, though now Sara travels 80 percent of the time for her job.

Before finding Modern-Shed, they both juggled working from home with working outside the home in various offices.

“We needed an extra work space in our home because even though we had offices and were working within other offices, we’d occasionally be working in our home,” Sara says. “It became more of a heavy need to work at home since we have two small children. But working in your house is not realistic when the kids get home at 3 p.m.” Continue reading

The ideal commute

PORTLAND — Within the first year that Steve started his consulting business, he knew he needed to find a space to work outside of his house.

Steve and his wife, Michelle, and two daughters live in a three-bedroom Portland home built in 1912.

Steve works in accessory and product design, with his hands on everything from watches and eyewear to other wearable technologies for brands like Nike and Timex, while Michelle designs and creates handbags and clothing. 

“I was working in our finished basement, which is a nice basement, but there was a lack of light and still, it’s in the basement and it’s in the house,” Steve recalls. “I started looking at renting spaces or doing a prefab build. My goal was to get a modular system I could build myself.”IMG_4034 Continue reading

Portland changes rules on dwelling units

The City of Portland, Ore., made some big changes this year that went into effect Aug. 1.

To combat the city’s affordable housing crisis, city council members rescinded the city’s longstanding waiver of its system development charges for folks building accessory dwelling units and renting them out as short-term rentals.

For builders who want to build an ADU as a long-term rental, their fees will be waived permanently. Other builders will have to revisit the scope of their project.

What does this mean in plain English?

If you’re building an attached or detached dwelling adjacent to your home (think: tiny house, mother-in-law unit, backyard cottage), you won’t be able to rent it out on Airbnb, VRBO or any number of other short-term vacation rental sites (or not through a site) without paying the city’s very high system development charge — between $12-19K!

If you want to take advantage of the waiver and save $12,000, your dwelling must be rented out as a long-term rental for 10 years.

If the city finds out you’ve been using your dwelling to make extra cash renting it out short-term to tourists, they’ll charge you 150 percent of the original SDC waived.

This all only applies to new dwellings permitted after July 31.

DSC_0784While we have many Portland customers who previously took advantage of the SDC waiver (and who are not affected by this change since they’re not new builds), ultimately, we feel as though this could be a good thing for Portland’s tight housing market.

“Since Portland has more people than housing, rental rates have gone way up with the shortage,” Modern-Shed general manager Tim Vack noted. “If all residents could put a rental unit in their backyard that would alleviate the market. It’d be a win-win.”

The Modern-Shed Tiny Home

PORTLAND — Stepping into Marc and Jeanine’s Modern-Shed Airbnb, you will immediately feel like you’ve found a little nook of heaven.

The cozy shed, which the couple have named the Mallory Tiny Home, after the street they live on, is secluded and private, with stylish decor and a loft bedroom that practically beckons you to turn in and recharge from a busy day of sightseeing.

“People find it really beautiful,” says Jeanine, a spiritual healer who sometimes brings clients to the shed to meditate. “Everyone says there’s just enough space. They’re always impressed with how much space there is or how warm or cool it is. It’s just enough.”

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Marc and Jeanine with their Modern-Shed Airbnb in Portland, the Mallory Tiny Home

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Modern-Shed keeps you warm

Now that winter is just around the corner, it’s a good time to talk about how Modern-Shed keeps our customers warm … and, uh, well, cool as well for those living in the hot climates.

We offer all Modern-Sheds with a variety of insulation options best suited to the customer’s needs, desires and permitting requirements.

Above your head: All our standard smaller sheds are priced with a standard R30 rigid foam insulation package in the pre-fabricated roof system. This can be upgraded to R40 and (coming soon) R50 to accommodate extreme cold and heat, as well as to new energy codes that come up. To accommodate electrical needs within the panelized pre-fabricated roof system, one option is an electrical framing package that includes one wiring “chase” in one of the roof panels.

For larger structures that require higher level building permits to accommodate on-site electrical work and on-site building inspections by the local building departments, we offer a credit for an insulation delete option so the customer can use a spray-foam insulation once the inspection and electrical work is complete. We can accommodate any rafter size for the necessary insulation value required by each jurisdiction.

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