Basement remodeling could transform this space into an entertainment area with a kitchenette, a wet bar, comfortable couches and chairs and a big-screen TV; an extra bedroom and bathroom; a crafts area; or a kid’s play room. With the help of an experienced contractor, you can explore an array of possibilities to fit your needs.
The homeowner of this refinished basement says the contractor transformed the space from "dismal" to "beautiful. (Photo courtesy of Barbara Bohlman)
Finishing the basement increases the value of a home, and since a remodeled basement is attractive to many buyers, it may help sell the home more quickly. Depending on the location of the home and local regulations, a finished basement with the proper features can usually be included in the official square footage of a home's sale listing.
Homeowners likely to see the best return on investment are those who make the space attractive and functional, rather than highly personalized. Spending extravagant amounts of money will not expand the pool of potential buyers. Most buyers look for finished walls, ceilings and floors as well as proper wiring to accommodate televisions and computers.
Many buyers have specific plans for the basement, such as media and game rooms, and providing an impersonal, functional space will allow them to personalize the basement to their own tastes and needs.
When undertaking a basement remodel, follow these steps to ensure that you’re prepared for the process and happy with the results:
- Evaluate the space. Determine if it needs to be professionally waterproofed before spending tens of thousands of dollars to renovate it.
- Determine its use. Meet with family members to determine how you spend your time and how a remodeled basement could best fit your needs. Do you need space for your teenage daughter and her friends? Or do you need a guest bedroom for relatives?
- Set a budget. The addition of a bathroom, for example, could significantly add to the total cost. List your needs and wants. It may not be necessary to add the same type of granite countertop to a kitchenette as you did in your main kitchen.
- Interview contractors. Check affiliations, licensing and referrals and/or reviews from neighbors and friends before interviewing contractors for the final selection. Contractors who specialize in basement remodeling may be better equipped to handle your project.
- Understand the scope of the project. Although the basement may be out of sight, if you don't have a walk-out basement, anticipate workers constantly walking through your home with materials to accomplish the project. Also, the project could take four to six weeks.