6 Things You Must Consider Before Buying a Sunroom
Why a Four-Season Sunroom?
Over the last few years we have seen a tremendous boom in the housing market. Home values were going up, and interest rates were decreasing. Although the market seems to have cooled a bit, house values are still expected to rise, and when the Fed lowers rates again we will probably see the housing market heat back up quite dramatically.
Many homeowners who had the presence of mind to plan ahead have already been investing in their homes in hopes of increasing value. This will help afford them more favorable terms during their next refinance, as well as aid in preserving their equity. This is a very smart move, but what is one of the best ways to invest in your home where you can be assured that there will be a significant increase in the overall value? Sunrooms. That is why it is the largest growing segment of the home improvement industry.
Unlike screened-in porches or three season rooms, which are comfortably habitable for only ten weeks per year in New England, sunrooms are habitable year-round. Thanks to breakthroughs in modern window design, you can be assured that your sunroom will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter provided you have the right quality windows. We'll explore this and other things in more detail in a bit, but before we get into that take one last thing with you: your sunroom will increase the overall value of your home by at least 75% of price you pay for it, and this value will continue to rise each year!
6 Things You Should Consider Before Buying a Sunroom
Who is manufacturing your sunroom?
Having a reputable and reliable manufacturer is key in this business. Your home is the greatest and most important investment you will ever make, and if you are going to be adding a sunroom to it you want to be assured that you are getting the best quality and service for a reasonable price.
When considering manufacturers you are essentially conducting a job interview. They want to work for you, and you want to make sure that you are hiring the most qualified candidate. Consider several things like how long have they been in business? It's a fact that 90% of all businesses fail within their first five years. Only the strong survive, and that survival hinges upon a number of different things all boiling down to customer satisfaction. How long is their warranty, and what do they cover? A long warranty means that they back their product and know that it isn't going to fail.
Your sunroom is 85% glass. Does the manufacturer you have chosen make their windows? Do they hold patents for their products? You don't want to be going with a cookie-cutter company here... custom is key.
Who is building your sunroom?
Who is being contracted to erect your sunroom? You have taken the right steps in selecting a manufacturer, but you want to be sure that their product is being assembled by the best you can get as well. The best product in the world is only as good as its installation.
Is the contractor a licensed builder? This seems like an odd question, but you can never be too careful in this business. Make sure that you know if the people building your sunroom have been licensed by the state, and are qualified to do this type of work. They are, after all, working on your home!
Is the contractor insured? You don't want to be stuck with the bill if something goes wrong during the construction of your sunroom and materials are damaged to the extent that they are unusable. You would also be liable for any injuries suffered by your contractor's workers. Make sure that the contractor is insured.
Does the contractor use sub-contractor labor, or do they have their own staff? This question boils down to one important item: is your contractor reliable? Quality can decrease between one sub-contractor and another. Your contractor should have a consistent sunroom team that is factory trained. You don't want to be sitting in your living room, staring at a hole in your wall that was supposed to be a completed sunroom a week ago. It is important that your contractor follows the schedule that was agreed upon at the time of contract, so be sure that they have reliable employees.
Is your sunroom an expenditure or investment?
This was touched upon a bit in the introduction, and definitely warrants a section all of its own. The best thing about adding a sunroom to your home is the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you aren't throwing your money away; you are putting money back into your home. Let's say that you invest $26,000 in the sunroom of your dreams and although you love it, a bit of buyers remorse is setting in. Don't worry! That $26,000 has turned into at least $19,500 (if not more) of usable equity in your home! Assuming that you only get a 75% gain, you can sit back knowing that you effectively only spent $6,500 on a $26,000 sunroom!
Don't get confused here though. A three season room or screened-in porch does not get you this kind of return on your investment. It needs to be livable space that can be occupied year-round. Consider how much your home is appreciated. Your new four season sunroom will appreciate at the same rate. Imagine if you had added a sunroom ten years ago!
Your sunroom is 85% glass... is it the best glass on the market?
Single-pane, double-pane, triple-pain... sliding, double-hung, skylight... selecting the most efficient type and style of window for your needs is definitely important, but the quality of the glass that makes up those windows is your greatest concern. In the current economic climate, you need the most energy efficient window system available! Don't get lured in to paying for obsolete technology.
Quality is the only way to go with your windows. You don't want to be sitting in your sunroom on a 100 degree summer day, sweating profusely because the temperature is intensified due to poorly manufactured windows. The same thing goes for retaining heat in the winter time.
Is your sunroom energy efficient?
This plays off of the previous topic, but requires discussion because it's not just the glass in your sunroom that must help to prevent heat and cold transfer. There is a structure built around this glass that also must keep you comfortable in your new sunroom. The industry term, thermal breaking refers to material within the walls of your sunroom that prevents the transfer or heat and cold. It is typically made out of the same material as bowling balls. Having these thermal breaks in place will ensure, with the help of your windows, that when it is 12 degrees outside, you minimize how much of it you're feeling inside your sunroom.
Make sure when you are talking with a potential manufacturer you ask them if their product is thermally broken. If it is not, you want to go elsewhere. They will likely try to convince you that their product is similar or better even without the thermal breaks, and they'll use a number of confusing terms that relate to R-values and what not. Don't listen to them. If their product is not thermally broken you have some serious comfort concerns to consider.
How many different people are you going to have to go through to get this thing done?
This can be a hassle. You have to work with the manufacturer, contractor, electrician, and a number of other professionals in order to finish the whole project. This usually ends up leaving you sitting there scratching your head while reviewing the total cost of your sunroom addition. You start off with a price that the builder quotes you, and before you know it the price has jumped significantly. How can you avoid this costly issue? One-stop shopping!
Ideally, you want to select a company that will work with you from start to finish. Ask them if they are quoting you a price for everything. You want to be sure you know if they are going to handle not only the construction and layout, but also the excavation (if you are putting in a new foundation for your sunroom), wiring, and other services needed to finish the job right. If you do not use a builder who does the whole project, you will need to coordinate the other work to be done to complete your sunroom and make it ready to live in.
Know what you are paying for the whole project... not just a fraction of it.
Next Step: Application
Now that you are informed as to exactly what you should be doing in preparation for building the sunroom of your dreams, you are ready to go out and apply what this report has taught you. Whether you are planning on putting on a sunroom in the near or distant future, you are now armed with the knowledge of what to look for and how to judge quality. You now know what to look for in a manufacturer and builder, and understand what you can expect to gain in equity from your investment. You are aware that not all glass is made the same way, and understand the benefits of energy efficiency in your sunroom. Lastly, you know that the best way to get your sunroom done with the fewest hassles is to go with someone who does it all... a one-stop shop.
If you have any additional questions please call (877) 822-4411 Ext. 1010. Just leave your question in our voice mailbox and we will get back to you right away.
With Canbury Homes doing your sunrooms, we address all these concerns:
Call us for more details or a free estimate at your home!