Basement Renovation: Worth the Investment?

Whether it’s used as a man cave, a play area, an exercise room, or even just for storage, a basement is often a must-have on a house hunter’s wish list. If you want to attract more buyers, it’s worth it to consider a basement renovation.

Why should you renovate the basement?

Basements run the gamut from dark, dank rooms fit only for doing laundry and storing holiday decorations to fully tricked-out spaces with a home theater, bar, and more to make it a full-fledged floor ready for entertaining family and friends.

Many home buyers will appreciate having something in the middle of those two extremes for a finished basement. A well-lit space with finished floors may not make for the most interesting decor, but it does provide a clean, blank canvas for homeowners to use as they please. While luxurious basement amenities might be expected in the luxury market, most homeowners will appreciate that the very basics are already taken care of on the lowest level of their home. And if comps in the area have finished basements, you’ll at least need to transform your property’s space from something out of a horror film into something more suitable.

What does a basement renovation cost?

According to Home Advisor (NASDAQ: ANGI), the average cost to remodel a basement ranges from $10,000 to $30,000. For an unfinished basement, it will cost between $6,500 and $18,500.

Keep in mind also that it costs more to renovate a basement that has already been finished — particularly if there are rooms to separate the space. A bare, unfinished basement that does not require any demolition work will cost less to finish. Like so many home improvement projects, it all depends on the size of the space and the quality of finishes used.

What is the value of a basement renovation?

A finished basement can increase your property’s value by 70%. While a basement does not add to the overall square footage of the house, that fact is usually beside the point for homeowners. Finished basements often function as an informal living room/family room, office, home classroom space, and guest rooms. If a bathroom is in the basement, many homeowners will renovate the space to be an in-law suite.

Even if a buyer has no intention of using the basement as an extension of the main living space, it’s a plus to have a clean space to do laundry. If you’re on a budget, then it’s helpful to install electricity, plumbing, basic flooring, drywall, and waterproofing. This will give the new owners a nice foundation to then outfit the space for their own needs.

The exception to this is if the basement is already outfitted for a bathroom. In this case, a partial or even a full bath remodel — again, with the idea that it could be living space for a family member or potential tenant — would add great value to the home. If there’s no bathroom and you want to install one, it will take between $10,000 and $15,000, according to

Basements that have their own separate entrance add even greater value to the home. While you won’t be able to officially call it a basement apartment — permits are required for that — having a separate entrance to a home is always a great option.

The bottom line

Renovating the bottom floor is really good for your bottom line. You’ll want to look at comps to see how much of an upgrade you’ll need to woo home buyers, but at the very least, a basic finished basement will give your property an edge.

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