Buying a home with a basement is a must for many homebuyers. It’s a large area that can be converted into additional living space. You get more room and also increase your homes property value with a good return on your investment.
Most homeowners go into the purchase of their home with the goal of one day building out their basement. Depending on the size, it could become a source of income if rented out.
Finances ultimately become the deciding factor. Can you actually afford the cost of finishing a basement? If you do, will you utilize the space?
After carefully considering what to do with your unfinished basement, you will need to know how to proceed. There are many uses for a basement from added bedrooms to a multi-purpose entertainment room.
Do you have a basement that needs to be converted? Keep reading for 10 things to consider before starting a basement remodel.
Table of Contents
1. Set Realistic Goals
The biggest decision when deciding how to finish a basement is the purpose. Sometimes you need more space for a growing family. In the era of the millennial, an adult child wants to convert it into a living space.
Each purpose has its own nuances. An all-purpose room can be an open space with an attached bathroom. If you’re adding bedrooms then a floor plan is needed and walls will have to be built.
Be realistic in your planning. Consider everything from a workable budget to the usefulness of the space five or ten years into the future.
2. Determine How Much Finishing a Basement Will Cost
Celebrities have excessive resources for finishing a basement. That movie theater or indoor basketball court didn’t come cheap. It’s great to fantasize about these things but is it within your budget.
Make up a list of everything you want for your finished basement. Divide the list into must-haves and things you can live without. Do some research to see on average how much it is going to cost.
A great tool to use is an online remodel calculator.
3. Work with an Architect
Once you have a good idea of what you want to do for your basement remodel, contact an architect. The consultation will most-likely come with a cost but you will be able to get a good idea on how much the project is going to be.
Once you have a ballpark figure it’s time to secure financing.
4. Secure Financing for the Project
If you’ve been in your home for a while and have saved for your basement, you may already have the financing you need. If not, your options are to borrow the money.
There are several ways to do this. You can borrow against the equity in your home. Borrow against a retirement plan, borrow the money from family or friends, take out a personal loan, or pay as you go.
The last option could stretch out the completion of the project for years.
5. Hire a General Contractor
Unless you plan on doing everything yourself, whether it’s the actual work or supervising workers, you will need a general contractor. The GCs job is to use their expertise to pull together the right team and oversee the job from start to finish.
Reputable GCs have connections with subcontractors. These are the skilled craftsmen who will be responsible for specialized work. Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc., are all subcontractors.
Even if you do not know a GC, you probably know someone who does. Ask your family and friends for referrals. Home improvements sites like Angie’s List are also a great source for referrals.
6. Pull the Necessary Permits
Any form of construction work will require permits. Sometimes the GC will pull permits, other times the responsibility falls on the homeowner. Request for permits is handled by your local municipality.
You will need a permit for foundation work and any electrical or plumbing. There will be other requirements that will need to be discussed with the GC and architect.
7. Check for Mold and Water Intrusion
Basements are built below ground level which makes them prime for mold and water intrusion. Any issue will need to be taken care of before you start your basement remodel.
Cracks in your foundation is sometimes a sign of moisture beneath the foundation. Getting to the root cause means taking up a portion or all of foundation. A camera inspection will reveal the condition of pipes, soil, and other variables that may cause issues down the line.
8. Decide on Your Lighting
There are a variety of lighting options available today. Knowing the type or types of lighting you want for your remodeled basement will be instrumental in the planning stage.
When the electrician comes in to do the wiring for the new space they can also prepare for special outlets and fittings.
9. Select Wall Treatments
Wall treatments are another aspect of planning that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Are their elements of the existing walls that you want to keep? Are the walls already fitted with drywall?
Your finished basement ideas may include something totally different. Don’t waste money on treatments you aren’t planning to keep. If you want brick walls or the rustic charm of shiplap, figure it into the basement remodel budget.
10. Pick Your Flooring
Carpet, ceramic tile, and hardwood are the top choices when it comes to flooring. There are other options to choose from. If your basement will have multiple rooms you can incorporate a different look for each room.
Keep in mind that temperatures and other atmospheric conditions will vary between your regular living space and your basement. Choose products that will be conducive to the climate.
Ready to Convert Your Basement?
Now that you have these 10 things to consider before finishing a basement, are you ready to forge ahead? Converting your basement to a livable space has many benefits so you want to do it right the first time.
Looking for other useful tips for the home. Check-out our other articles that are full of great ideas and helpful information