Baltimore Attic Remodeling

by Matt Goering

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Baltimore attic remodeling is one remodeling project where it's important that you know what you're getting into and that you find an honest contractor before you get started. Why? Because attic remodeling in Baltimore, and across the nation, is tricky business. If you make the right choice concerning home evaluation and design, an attic remodel can be one of the smartest remodeling investments you can make, and that includes kitchens and bathrooms. If you move forward with an attic remodel that is ill-advised, however, you can end up with a costly renovation that raises the value of your home little-to-none and that can actually be a liability when you try to sell your home. The key to successful attic remodels in B-town is knowing the difference between hitting it rich and paying out for fools gold.

The Bright Side of Baltimore Attic Remodeling: How to Make them Pay Off
If you are considering attic remodeling in Baltimore, start thinking bedrooms. While successful attic remodels in Baltimore can include play rooms, home offices, and even extra space for rec rooms or entertainment areas, the key to making them pay off is meeting your local city, county, and state codes for bedroom areas. When potential homebuyers look at a home, they're most often looking at whether the space can be used as an extra bedroom or not. If they can legally use your office, kids playroom, or exercise space as a bedroom, they're much more likely to count your Baltimore attic renovation as a plus as opposed to a wasted space they'll have to be creative with when they move in.

What Makes a Bedroom in a Baltimore Attic Renovation?
You may be thinking we're splitting hairs here, but the difference between a bedroom and a home office from an official standpoint isn't just a matter of preference, it's an architectural and safety issue. Don't think Baltimoreans walked away empty handed from the great Fire of 1904. That fire burnt for 30 hours, took over 1,200 fire fighters to put out, and burned down over 1,500 buildings. Amazingly almost nobody was killed, but Baltimoreans learned not to take any chances. While building codes differ from city to city and county to county, bedrooms in Maryland generally require that you provide an avenue for escape in case of fire or other emergency. That means a window large enough for residents to crawl out of and to provide an access point for emergency personnel to get in. There are exceptions to that rule, if you're looking for other options. Working sprinkler systems and second doorways into rooms that do have escape routes can also provide the needed egress points required by most building codes. By incorporating these design components into any attic remodeling project in Baltimore, you incrementally increase the value the remodel adds to your home.

The Proof is in the Pudding: Baltimore Attic Remodeling and Cost vs. Value Reports
The recommendation to build attic remodels in Baltimore to meet bedroom code requirements isn't based on a whim. According to Remodeling Magazine's 2006 Cost vs. Value Report, attic remodeling in Baltimore and the rest of the South Eastern Atlantic Region is second only to basement remodels when it comes to remodeling projects that pay you back once the project is finished. While kitchen and bathroom remodels logged in at return rates between 86% and 89%, bedroom attic remodels in Baltimore and the rest of the region registered at 90%. That means if you pay out for a $35,000 attic renovation in Baltimore, you can expect it to immediately improve the value of your home by $31,000. Add in home appreciation rates over time, and it's clear that when it comes to attic remodeling in Baltimore, choosing a bedroom oriented plan is the best way to make your money back when you sell your home. Compare that to turning your attic into a simple home office with a return of under 70%, and it's easy to see why going the extra mile and including an escape route is well worth the extra investment up front.

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Obstacles to Successful Baltimore Attic Remodeling
What makes Baltimore attic remodels a risk is the combination of poor initial design and homes that don't fit this unique remodeling project. As for poor design, the biggest mistake you can make is turning an attic that has potential into a space that isn't built to code. Home offices, entertainment rooms, exercise rooms, playrooms, and even ill-conceived extra bedrooms with undersized windows can easily end up costing you big money on down the road, no matter how handy they end up being from a functional standpoint. That only scrapes the surface, however. Baltimore attic remodeling projects often encounter as many obstacles as an opposing offense trying to cut through a Raven's defense. Insufficient headroom, floors that are not built to hold the weight of living spaces, and poor avenues for stairways, all can add significantly to the final costs and make an attic remodel either cost prohibitive or just plain unrealistic. Having your attic evaluated at the very beginning to make sure it's a good candidate for this type of remodel is a vital first step in determining whether it pays to give the go ahead on Baltimore attic renovations, or whether it's time to start looking elsewhere.

Hiring a Baltimore Attic Remodeling Contractor
All that being said, hiring a quality contractor who has experience performing attic remodels in Baltimore is critical if you hope to end up with an attic remodel that is safe, functional, and a wise investment. The basics of hiring any contractor are the same in Crabtown as they are anywhere else in the country. Get bids from as many different contractors as you can bear and check past references to make sure each one is honest and performs good work. And don't forget to trust your instincts when you meet each professional. Remember, they'll be a part of your life for several weeks to a month or more, depending on the size of your project. Making sure they're somebody you can live with, and work with, without going crazy, is more important than most homeowners realize as they begin meeting potential contractors for any Baltimore attic renovation.

Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.
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