Tuesday, April 5, 2016 / by Vanessa Saunders
According to the 2015 Realtor.com Cost Versus Value report, basement remodels only give you a 70% return on investment. However, the right basement remodel in the right location can be the reason why a buyer chooses your house over another. Not to mention, it makes living in your house that much more enjoyable. Here are my top five basement remodels to boost your home value.
#1: Get Rid of the Basement Smell/Quality
First things first: Before you can even begin turning your basement into "something," you have to get rid of the basement smell and quality.
- Beginning with eliminating any cracks in the foundation, leaks or water damage, and musty dankness of a basement, you should hire professionals to inspect your basement for these problems and fix those first.
- Next, you will want to make the space more livable. Basements tend to be draftier than the rest of the house. You may want to add a new heating duct in your basement to heat the downstairs. If your basement ceiling is low, you can increase the height by digging. Keep in mind that this can get pretty expensive. You will need to hire a professional, since digging farther down means you might increase the likelihood of water damage or flooding in the future. An 8-foot ceiling is ideal.
- Finally, you will probably need to brighten up your basement. Using faux windows and LED lighting strategically can help make your basement brighter and more livable.
#2: Get Your Permits
Some improvements that you make to your basement require a permit. If you are adding a downstairs kitchen or bathroom or digging to increase the height of your basement ceiling, you will likely need to get a permit. Check with your local city clerk's office for information about home improvement permits.
#3: Go Practical
Your basement remodel will depend on your personal resources. For the average homeowner, spending anywhere between 5% and 10% of your home's value on a remodel is typical. For that money, you could convert your basement into an office, a playroom, a den or even an additional bedroom.
The goal for these types of remodels is to get the maximum return. If that is a goal of yours, ask your agent what type of conversion people in your area are willing to pay extra for.
#4: Go Big
If you can afford it, you can go big and create a basement-level wonderland. One of the biggest returns on big basement remodels, particularly in places like California, is for a home theater. Other ideas for big basement remodels that dramatically increase your home's value include:
- A basement apartment with a full kitchen.
- A billiards room.
- An exercise room.
- A sports bar.
- An indoor pool and spa.
Big remodels won't necessarily make your home easier to sell. For example, if your improvements make your home way more valuable than the other homes in your neighborhood, you may not be able to resell it for what it is worth.
#5: Make the Basement Part of the House
Whether you go big or small, you want to make the basement part of the house. You can change the narrow entrance to your basement by putting in double doors leading to your lower level and installing new stairs that match the upstairs carpet or flooring. Broaden your staircase to make it feel more like part of the home.