Though it’s true that adding a finished basement to your home will increase its value, unfortunately, you are not likely to make any money back from doing so. In fact, you will likely lose money. According to a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the ROI for finishing a basement is around 63%.
Though it is true that reported satisfaction and perceived livability went up in the eyes of homeowners in homes with recently finished basements (see the report above), the decision to finish a basement will end up costing more than it is worth if you go to sell your home at some point in the future.
To Finish or Not to Finish
The deciding factor should be your budget. If you can afford a professional finishing then – by all means – go for it. However, if your budget is a concern then read on to learn some ways to “finish” that basement.
Unfinished Does Not Equal Uninhabitable
Leaving a basement unfinished does not prevent you from enjoying your basement. Many homeowners will use their unfinished basements for utilities – think washer and dryer – and for storage. There are also cheap ways to make the basement more comfortable than you might have originally imagined.
1. Remove Pests
Pests in any area of the house will cause you to fail an inspection. A spider in the corner of your basement or a stray cricket isn’t going to cause you to fail an inspection, but if you have an army of bugs down there or hear chattering and scratching behind walls, you should have a professional get rid of the pests.
This job will actually be easier if your basement isn’t finished. There will be much less in the way of the pest removal professionals, and there will be fewer areas to check for damage.
Kristiana Kripena, a guest writer for Dry Basement Solutions, has outlined this list of top tips to prevent basement pests.
2. Fix Faulty Plumbing and Wiring
If your plumbing and wiring is faulty or not up to code, it will be incredibly obvious in a basement, especially one that is unfinished. Contract a professional plumber and an electrician and modernize your basement’s wiring and plumbing. Older homes will have antiquated pipes and circuitry that will probably need to be replaced.
This is of the utmost importance if you are getting your home appraised or looking to sell – a violation of your area’s safety codes will cost you more to correct and limit your home’s potential value.
3. Waterproof Your Basement
Water damage is the most common problem in basements. If your basement has flooding or moisture problems, you’ll need to get that fixed to make it livable, let alone enjoyable.
There are signs you can check for, including checking for water stains, looking at wood studs, and getting behind walls where you can. If you find obvious signs of water damage, basement waterproofing experts can help you fix the problem.
It’s a good idea to waterproof your whole basement while you’re at it. This alone can be the deciding factor between a comfortable basement and a humid, mildewy basement. Steve Schulz at Dry Basement Solutions outlines all the options you can take to waterproof your basement – from plastic sheeting and moisture barriers to DIY sprays and coatings.
Unfinished Does Not Equal Uncomfortable
Now that your basement is safe, dry and secure, you can perform a few cheap changes to your basement that will cost much less than paying for a professional finishing.
1. Lay Down Interlocking Rubber or Foam Floor Insulation Pieces
This puzzle-piece flooring option is a cheap and tested method of insulating your basement floor. This will help maintain heating in the cooler months as well as provide a non-slip surface for carpeting should you want to throw down an area rug.
2. Take Advantage of Modern Lighting
You don’t need complicated wiring and expensive lighting to achieve an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere in your basement. A few well-placed pieces can provide ample light and ambiance. Modern LED lights are cost-efficient, energy-efficient, and can be made to produce any color or hue.
3. Go Thrifting For Furniture
You may be surprised to learn that many luxury items can be purchased for a fraction of the cost at discount furniture stores or at used furniture stores. You can fully furnish a basement with thrifted furniture and probably not spend more than $1000 dollars – this includes seating, TV, cabinets, and rugs.
Get “Finishing” Your Basement Now!
You may as well get started – if your basement is completely unfinished then get cracking on the essentials – wiring, plumbing, and moisture control. When that step is finished lay down some insulating tiles and get designing for cheap!
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey