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finished basement

4 Reasons to Finish Your Basement

[Updated: Sep 08, 2020] Sep 16, 2019 by Maurie Backman
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Many homes come with basements that aren’t finished. Some of those spaces can be somewhat dark and dingy until lighting, heating, flooring, waterproofing, and insulation are added in, but once that happens, they can be completely transformed.

If you have an unfinished basement in your home, you may be wondering whether it pays to spend the money to make it more usable. Here’s why investing in a finished basement can really pay off in the long run.

1. You'll gain living space

Maybe your young kids are no longer all that young anymore, and they need a place of their own to hang out. Or maybe you’re tired of being crammed into your living room when there’s an entire floor’s worth of potential lurking below. When you finish your basement, you gain living space in your home, which can improve your quality of life. You can turn that area into a gym, or even a home theater. And if you need space for an extra bedroom, that works too. Keep in mind that finishing a basement is generally far more economical than putting on an addition, so if it’s extra square footage you’re after, it pays to go this route.

2. You can more easily have aging family members live with you

Some people prefer to have their loved ones grow old in the company of family. If that’s your plan for your older family members, then finishing your basement will make it much easier to take in aging loved ones. That way, they’ll have their own space, and there will be a healthy separation between your kids and their older relatives.

3. You'll have the option to take in a tenant

Once you finish your basement, you’ll have a whole separate area of your home that could easily serve as a standalone apartment. At that point, you’ll have the option to find a tenant and bring in a steady stream of rental income. Of course, for this to be an option, you’ll need to make sure your basement is eligible to become a rental unit as per your town or city’s local rules. You’ll also need to put in a bathroom when you finish your basement, and, at the very least, invest in a kitchenette area. But if you’re willing to put in a little extra cash, you might secure rental income for many years to come -- enough income to more than make up for those extra expenses.

4. You'll increase your home's resale value

Even if you’re not thinking of selling your home in the near term, at some point, you may want to unload that property. Finishing your basement will help you command top dollar once you do decide to sell. This especially holds true if you live in a neighborhood where finished basements are a rarity.

Planning for your basement remodel

Clearly there are plenty of good reasons to finish a basement, so if you’re inclined to take that plunge, get lots of quotes from reputable contractors and map out a budget to figure out what you can afford. Keep in mind that you’ll generally need different permits and inspections to finish a basement, which will add to your costs. Of course, if you’re eager to save money, there’s always the option to finish that space yourself -- but that only works if you’re truly handy and have the knowledge to do plumbing and electrical work in a manner that’s up to code. In fact, in many cases, you’re better off outsourcing the finishing of your basement, because while it’s certainly a worthwhile investment, it’s a time-consuming endeavor to say the least.

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