You can't count it as added square footage in most states but, according to the Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report 2010, in Ohio, you can recoup about 60% of the cost of the remodel in increased sale price.There are also added benefits, such as increased energy efficiency. Insulated basement walls can save up to $250/year in heating and cooling costs. Then there is also the fact that prospective buyers will prefer a clean, dry, finished basement rather than a wet, humid and moldy one.
It doesn't add to square footage, however, if you are planning to sell the home immediately after finishing the basement, Home Remodeling Magazine's Cost Vs. Value Report 2010, says that in Ohio, you can recoup about 60% of the cost in increased sale price. There are also other benefits: increased energy efficiency by insulating the basement walls, and better indoor air quality by creating a dry, mold free environment, among them.
Ok, first of all, you need to find out if the improvements you have in mind qualify for the incentive programs. The incentive is for projects that increase energy efficiency: insulation, replacement windows, energy efficient HVAC systems, etc. The Energy Star Website (energystar.gov) lists all the projects and products that qualify for these incentives and explains how to go about qualifying for them.
According to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report for 2009/2010 you can recoup about 60% of the cost of a basement finishing project if you are to immediately sell the place. However, keep in mind that there are other things to be gained with a finished basement. There is, of course, the extra room. Usually a whole floor's worth of space you can turn into living space. There is also the energy efficiency achieved by properly insulating the basement walls, which according to the US Department of Energy can save you up to $250 annually in heating and cooling costs.