Profile picture for djdova

Will a finished basement add value.

I know this could be a wide open question.  But I have to ask because I do not have a walkout basement or bulkhead.  Just access from the entry way in my house.  And I have read that in some places you can not consider it finished sq footage unless you have a walkout basement.  So i'm concerned that if it doesn't count it will not add value. 

I currently have a 3 bed, 1bath ranch with 5 acres that was valued at $140k in 2008.  I recently had it on the market and both real estate co that I courted did their analysis and suggested I list it for $140k.  I will be adding a bedroom, living room, and full bath in the basement.  I also could add value by remodeling my kitchen and bath...or all three.  I'm looking to add $40k in value to my home.
  • January 11 2011 - Sangerville
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Answers (14)

I have read where someone said to have the sq footage added to the house it must have a walk-out basement. I can't imagine anything more ridiculous, but some areas that have lots of basements might have such a rule. I can't help but think an appraiser would not add value to a house with a finished basement, but the value of the basement sq footage will be at a lower value that the sq footage upstairs. 
  • January 11 2011
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 It might add to the appeal of your house but not the value, you might not get the $$ out of it for the $$ you put into it.  It there is not a 2nd egress, then most likely not.
  • January 11 2011
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My guess is that you would add about $15K to the appraised value for finishing the basement ( below grade ) even with a full bath. A walk out basement is still considered a basement and below grade unless there are windows on all 4 sides of the house. Get an estimate on adding a BR and full bath above grade.   
  • January 11 2011
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While finishing your basement may not add much actual $$ value to your home, you need to also consider your home's marketability. In this tough buyer's market, homes have to be the best of the rest to sell. Take a look at your competitors (or would-be competitors). Do those homes have finished basements? Also, are finished basements a "must have" for buyers in your local market? If the answers to these questions are yes, I would recommend that you go ahead, bite the bullet, and finish the basement. Your home would then become more desireable and more in-line to what buyers today are looking for, buyers whom really have a lot to choose from!

Should you choose to finish the basement, be careful not to over-improve it. At the same time, do not do it in a shoddy manner either. Make certain that all required permits are pulled - if you don't, it will bite you in the end!

Contact your local, trusted realtor and ask for his or her professional opinion. He/she will be able to give you a larger view of what improvements are selling homes, as well as what improvements are truly as waste of money. He/She will also be able to give you a realistic picture of what your competition looks like and give you a current market value for your home - with and without finishing your basement.
 
Best success! Kathleen
  • January 11 2011
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Finishing the basement will add value, but I will add two points of caution:
1.  Adding a bedroom in the basement - for the bedroom to be legal it will need to have a full window.
2.  Most appraisers will tell you that anything below grade is not counted as living space, but they will add for the finished area that is heated.

Carolyn

  • January 14 2011
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Do the other neighboring homes have finished basements?  You will want to keep this in mind when making your decision.
  • January 15 2011
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Profile picture for Netizen
As a buyer, my first task in deciding if your home's basement was a positive benefit (considering the extensive remodel you describe) is the elevation of the property. What is the flood history if any? What is the ground saturation (is the ground soaked, dry, somewhere inbetween)? Of course if the property is in a wet rainy climate, I would hesitate.

I would want experts to examine the basement for moisture, absence of fungi growth, and examine the foundation, verifying all permits to make certain it is up to code.

Finally, suppose I had other ideas for the basement space, i.e. a wine cellar? Is the space "flexible" for lack of a better word, or would it require expensive modifications to accommodate my remodel plans. Which leads to a point that perhaps for you is "water under the bridge" so to speak, but for others could save costly remodeling. That point is, why spend too much on amenities when home buyers are fickle, perhaps wanting a wine cellar vs. bedroom, perhaps not needing a bathroom in the basement (which depending on elevation and land topography could pose sewage issues or not).

Homeowners have to think like home marketers in amenities, unless they will absolutely benefit from, say, a bedroom and bathroom in the basement (i.e. for family members or to rent out). Otherwise why second guess what potential buyers will want in that space? However, considering you have the bedroom and bathroom down there (perhaps you are using it for a rental or family members) then outline the benefits such as having a room to rent during this recession, space for a home office, flexibility to use part of the room for an office and the other part for a wine cellar... think outside the box in selling that home for whatever the market will bear. That's the magic of capitalism.
  • January 15 2011
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How big is the house in the first place?  How much living space and how much below grade basement space?  That will help people answer your question a little better.  Adding another bathroom to the upstairs space(if it didn't make something else suffer) would probably add just as much value as finishing the basement off.  Either way, I think you'd be very hard pressed to increase the value of your home by $40k nearly regardless of which project you chose. 

As others have said above, your neighbors tend to have the most impact on your value right now.  If you are in with a bunch of homes valued $100k-$160k, it will be nearly impossible to break through that $160k ceiling.  On the other hand, if you are on the low end of values in your neighborhood and your neighbors are more like $120k-$220k, you might have a shot at it with some clever projects as long as you keep your costs in check.

Not sure what your zoning and covenants are like out there but it sounds like you have a large lot.  One thing you could research is bringing in a manufactured home(preferably 1995 or newer) as an additional dwelling.  Having the an extra mother in law space or rental could push your value up a bit.  You could probably purchase a pretty nice one for under $15k. 

It would be worth asking an appraiser what your best use of cash would be.  They are really the best ones qualified to answer this question.
  • January 15 2011
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As long as you don't over inprove for your area
  • January 15 2011
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Profile picture for penwa1969
The best place for you to get solid answers is your city permit office. Finished square footage has a value compared to unfinished, just as a garage is not considered living area. If your basement is considered unfinished by the tax assessor, then you are paying taxes based on that. The City will tell you exactly what you need to do to make it finished living area (windows for bedrooms, sump pump, heating and cooling). There is a difference of opinion as to above ground value compared to below ground, but utility is utility. When you finish your basement properly with permits, it is considered living area, which will increase the square footage, the value, and the taxes.  Talk to your City's residential building permit department, and tell them that you would like to finish your basement. Permits are inexpensive, and an educated buyer knows not to buy a home that has improvements without permits. You can hide a lot horrible, unsafe things behind drywall, and a permit ensures that everything is done to code. Once the City tells you what needs to be done, you can price it and see if you'll get your money back.

You might want to look into a 2nd bath on the main level. That utility has a lot of value considering that you only have 1 bath currently. You will attract a lot more buyers with 2 baths.
  • January 15 2011
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One more thing I wanted to let you know. The only professional opinion that you can take to the bank when it comes to the actual value of finishing your basement, is a real estate appraiser. When a lender wants to know the market value of a home, they get an appraisal - from an appraiser.
  • January 15 2011
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Of course it will add value. Whether the increase will exceed what you put into it is another question...
  • January 18 2011
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  • August 09 2013
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  • September 15 2014
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