Tips to Improve Your Home’s Value with a Finished Basement While Cutting Costs

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Tips to Improve Your Home’s Value with a Finished Basement While Cutting Costs

Basements are usually a place for kids to play on cold or rainy days, parents to set up a work shop, do laundry, or in a fancier version to construct a man cave. Basements were ignored for years and considered too dark and musty, and unlikely to provide a smart return on investment,

Today, homeowners have recognized that their lower levels could become potential living space, if improved, and for less than adding onto their first floor. You already own the space, paid taxes, had a roof, walls, ceiling, foundation, and sewer hookups in place. The most recent “Cost vs Value” report from Remodeling magazine put the average basement remodel at $61,303 with a 70 percent payback, which made it among the smartest remodels, along with an attic bedroom, minor kitchen remodel, deck, and new entry door.

Following are some tips to improve the resale value of your home while cutting costs with a finished basement:

Know that the appraised value of underground space is half what lies above…about $250 per square foot versus $500 in many cases. It is advised that you should not spend more than 10 percent of your home’s value on refinishing your basement, or better still, stay between five and 10 percent.

If not concerned with payback, go ahead and make your basement a vacation paradise with a bar, billiards table, gym, spa, sauna, bathroom, virtual golf, a bedroom, and access to an outdoor kitchen and swimming pool of you have a walkout basement.

If concerned about payback, opt for uses that appeal to a wide cross-section. Think casual family room, home office, or extra bedroom with bath. This type of finished basement will also appeal to small children, especially if a parent is there to keep them company.

Know local ordinances regarding required number and size of egresses, and if you are allowed to outfit a kitchen in your basement.

Be sure to leave enough headroom of you add lighting, ducts, or a new ceiling. You don’t want the height to be less than 7 feet 6 inches but preferably eight feet high. In new construction, go higher to nine feet to 10 feet. To dig down to get a higher ceiling may be too expensive and undermine footings or cause water problems.

Don’t seal off existing mechanical systems, circuit breakers, and future plumbing lines; professionals need access for maintenance and repairs. Soundproofing mechanical systems is a smart affordable fix.

Don’t chop up space: better to keep it more open space, a trend homeowners desire in main level living space. But be sure walls removed aren’t load bearing, which may necessitate consulting with a structural engineer.

Consider nonwool carpet tiles that are easy to replace and warmer than vinyl, which tends to trap moisture and humidity. On walls and ceilings, use drywall or sheetrock for the same reason.

Be generous with artificial light, especially if windows are minimal. Few homeowners will spend time in a dark space, except for a theater.

Consider improving the staircase so it resembles a more traditional open one rather than remain narrow and confined. Paint treads and risers white and use a runner from a carpet remnant down the middle to enhance appeal.

Know that even if you don’t need a finished basement, a partly finished room can add value affordably for clothing or wine storage or a place to play ping pong.

When a basement presents problems and before you add on, check out your attic, if you have one. It can provide expansion room depending on the roofline.