All too often, basements end up being a forgotten part of a home or a catch-all for clutter you don’t want visitors to see. Underused and unattended to, basements don’t always contribute to the household’s form or function, but they can! While the basement might be the last space in the house on your radar for a remodel, it’s one of the most prime pieces of real estate in your home. By choosing to do a basement remodel, you can transform it into a essential part of your home that enhances your lifestyle and serves a greater purpose.
Not sure where to start or how to make it better? Finishing a basement doesn’t have to be scary. We’ll walk you through five of the most compelling reasons to remodel or finish your basement, and show you examples of basement layouts that truly work.
1. Finishing Your Basement will Increase Your Home’s Value
Simply having a basement at all will pad your home’s resale price a bit. Though, there’s flexibility in having a usable basement for living space, office space, a playroom, or extra guest bedrooms.
Even an unfinished basement will contribute between $20k and $30k to your home’s value, according to the Cost vs Value Report. However, you can add much more value by finishing a basement with a quality renovation including: insulation, framing, drywall, concrete finishing, basic electrical and plumbing. Basement finishing doesn’t have to be fancy, just done right.
In certain regions, homeowners can recoup as much as 80-86% of their remodeling investment when they renovate. The national average is about a 70% return, as of 2017, but rates of remodeling return in our region can be even higher because of the bustling marketing!
Your finished basement can serve as a powerful selling point and generator of interest among buyers since it can be a rare feature, especially here in Seattle. In the Seattle basement remodel we completed below, we created a wine-lover’s den that is sure to be a major draw for buyers when it goes back on the market. A few extra basement walls and some cozy finishes go a long way.
2. Basement Remodeling Improves Your Home’s Health
Basement remodeling isn’t just about the looks, it’s also about the longevity and livability of your home. A neglected, unfinished basement is a magnet for damp and cold conditions. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors & FEMA, as many as 98% of homes have basement leaks. Excess moisture is present in 60% of basements, and among those, 38% develop toxic molds and fungi.
This means that your basement is quite likely compromising the environment in your home, exposing your family to discomfort and potential health risks. Indoor air doesn’t stay in one room. It circulates throughout a home, being pushed into bedrooms, bathrooms and the kitchen—where you and your family spend the most time.
Properly finishing a basement with modern waterproofing and insulation methods will address these problems and ensure that your home has healthy indoor air quality. If you are at all concerned, or embarking on a remodel, be sure to hire someone who can properly inspect the basement for leaks, foundation cracks, pests and other problems. They should also check for asbestos if you live in an older home.
3. Add Extra Living & Utility Space
Above all, the purpose of a basement renovation is to build a space that will be useful. This can take a more utilitarian form, such as a laundry room, pet grooming station, or storage space. Or, it can add to your home’s living areas by creating more room for leisure, entertaining and other daily activities.
In the Portage Bay basement shown here, we converted an unfinished basement into a playroom for the homeowner’s children. This gave them their own space within the home, where they could play freely and store their toys. Other custom spaces you could gain by finishing a basement include: billiard’s rooms, home offices, movie rooms, libraries and more.
4. Create a Basement Guest Space
Perhaps you would like to have more friends and family come to visit, but you just don’t have the room to accommodate them. Basement remodeling could give you a chance to add guest bedrooms or even a guest suite. Keep in mind, extending plumbing down to the basement isn’t always a cost-effective and easy thing to do, so consider the layout of the floor above before you decide to add a bathroom below. A design-build team or architect can help you create a layout that makes sense visually and economically.
Regardless, you’ll be able to provide your visitors with a comfortable space that meets their sleeping needs and offers them more privacy than they might have on the main floors of your home. If you’re going to add bedrooms to a finished basement, carefully consider adding extra insulation in the walls and ceiling for warmth and comfort.
5. A Converted Basement can become a Money-Making Rental Unit
If your home is large enough to fit all of the amenities needed, you could convert the basement into an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). ADUs are additional residences built on the same property as an existing single-family home—in basements they are often referred to as mother-in-law suites. They are a complete rental unit, including areas for sleeping, eating, and bathing. A basement conversion could create a substantial income source for your household, should you rent it out to tenants. In time, you could recoup your investment entirely.
ADUs are also becoming popular solutions for homeowners who want to accommodate their aging family members by providing them with their own living quarters on the property. This gives the peace of mind of having them at home, but provides the independence and privacy elderly relatives often desire.
When finishing your basement, always consider if you’d like to turn in into an ADU down the line. Even if it’s not your immediate goal you can add thing to your current project that will set you up for an easy basement conversion later, like extra laundry and appliance hookups.
Our modern farmhouse basement is one of our most popular basement remodels to date and has inspired many more basement ADU remodels in the past few years.
All of the finished basements featured in this article were home improvement projects completed by our crew here at Model Remodel. We are trusted experts for Seattle basement remodels and basement finishing. Even if ceiling height is an issue, we have solutions! We’re ready to lend you our 15+ years of professional advice and services to make your home more customized. If you’re ready to talk about the possibilities for your basement renovation, reach out to us today. We’ll be happy to discuss your options and provide you with a quote.