Is It Worth It to Finish a Basement?

Welcome to the first of our “Is It Worth It To…” series! Homeowners are always trying to add the most value to their home, but projects can get pretty pricey. RealtyHive is here to tell you if the project you’re considering is worth the cost. Today we’re starting at the bottom: the basement.

How much does it cost to finish a basement?

Finishing a basement costs $7,500 on average, if you’re just doing the basics of hanging drywall, painting, and putting in crown molding. Adding in a basement or extra amenities could raise your costs to $25,000 to $30,000 or higher

Another thing to keep in mind is the after-project costs. A completely finished basement adds taxable square footage, so expect to pay more in taxes. If you’re suddenly heating this space and turning on the lights more downstairs, your energy bills are also going to increase.

With these prices, is it really worth it to finish your basement? The answer is yes. Take a look at why this is and how it works.

Finishing a basement adds resale value.

At some point, you’ll likely sell your home. If your basement resembles anything like the one above, it might creep a few potential homebuyers out. While the upfront prices of a finished basement are expensive, they can majorly improve your home’s overall value. As HomeAdvisor reports, homeowners can see a return on investment upwards of 65% from finishing a basement.

A finished basement gives you extra space.

If you’ve dreamt of starting an Etsy shop or a YouTube channel or anything in between, a finished basement can give you the space your dreams need. Especially with so many people working remotely, putting a home office in the basement provides some necessary peace and quiet.

Even if you don’t use the basement that much, remember that future homeowners will love seeing the potential of this space. Sometimes, homeowners can even rent out their basements for some extra revenue.

A better basement increases desirability.

As the saying goes, “honey attracts more flies than vinegar.” While no one wants to deal with a bunch of flies, you definitely want as many people interested in your house as possible. Even if you don’t raise the price too much at the time of selling, a finished basement can lead to more interested parties. The more people interested in your home, the more offers you get to choose from.

So, what is a finished basement going to look like?

The amount that your basement is “finished” is up to you, but here are some general ideas.

Basic $Intermediate $$Advanced $$$
– Flooring
– Drywall
– Paint
– New light fixtures
All the basic features, plus:
– A bar/countertop
– Half bathroom
– Built-in storage cabinets
The sky’s the limit! Some ideas include: 
– Bar
– Home theater
– Sauna
– Home gym
– Rec room
– “Man/woman cave”

One thing to remember: while installing a ton of unique features might be appealing, you don’t want to inadvertently limit your buying demographic. Sometimes a design that’s too specific to your tastes can backfire.

Do you have to finish your entire basement?

You don’t have to finish your whole basement, and you probably shouldn’t. It’s good to keep a section where some house essentials (like a sump pump, furnace, or water heater) are easy to access. Preferably, this area of your basement is separate from the finished part — a couch next to a water heater isn’t aesthetically pleasing. 

When does it not make sense to finish a basement?

If you’re dying for a new space but know you’ll be moving within 1-2 years, you should probably hold off. It’s a lot of work and a lot of upfront costs to be leaving so soon after it’s finished. 

The better option at this point is to start looking for a house with a basement that’s already finished. RealtyHive has a number of properties for sale that might be just up your alley — take a look!

Emily Wottreng
2 replies
  1. Afton Jackson
    Afton Jackson says:

    I really like how you explained that a basement is a perfect space to create things like rec rooms or “Man Caves” when you finish them right. Having a room where my son and I can do father-and-son activities like play video games could be a great way to entertain us without disturbing everyone else in the family. I’ll make sure I finish my basement first by getting a waterproofing expert to work on it first before starting our project.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] bring all the boys to the yard, but will landscaping bring all the homebuyers? Welcome back to our Is It Worth It series, in which we dive into upgrades and renovations to find out, well, if they’re worth […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *