Basement Finishing: Will I Recoup My Costs?

One question that seems to always come up before the final decision is made to begin a basement finishing project is:

How much of my basement finishing costs will I recoup if I sell my home someday?

This is a difficult question to answer and depends on a number of factors, including where you live, economic factors, whether you under- or overpaid for your basement, and the quality of your basement finish. We’ll discuss some general $$ figures in a moment, but first let’s explore one of the biggest factors that will contribute to the value of your project.

The quality of the construction and finishes in your basement finishing project plays a significant role in the value you can expect to recoup. Take a look at “For Sale” advertisements in your area. One thing you’ll start to notice is words like: “Professionally Finished Basement,” or “Professionally Remodeled Kitchen,” or “Professionally Updated.”

It doesn’t take a genius to see the prevailing message in those statements… The work done here is: “Professional.”

Professional Basement Finishing Doesn’t Have to be Expensive.  Click Here to Find Out More!

Buyers want a professional finish. Simple as that. If and when it comes time to sell your home, the basement finishing efforts you undertook will be undermined by sloppy work.

In many building circles, sloppy construction has become known as “the handyman special.” This is not to put down any number of qualified handymen, but it does point out a problem in this business.

Many handymen start out doing handyman work and eventually decide that they can tackle any number of more difficult jobs. This includes remodels, new homes, and maybe even your basement finishing project!

The biggest difference between the basement finishing pro and the handyman is the way in which they go about construction. A handyman figures he can do just about everything on your project. From framing to drywall, to plumbing and paint, he’ll tackle most any part of the basement — convinced he can do just as good a job as the professional electrician, or the professional drywaller.

Problem is, no one who tapes drywall or sets tile a couple times a year can be as good as the professional who does it five or six times a week, 52 weeks out of the year.

In my humble experience, you will obtain significantly more value (both in your satisfaction and in potential resale) from a basement finishing professional who specializes in construction management. As a construction manager he won’t be the jack-of-all-trades, rather he will orchestrate the job as work is performed by specialized tradesmen who are experts in their respective fields.

Professional Basement Finishing Yields More Value When You Sell

In terms of resale value, you maximize your potential for recouping construction costs if your finish is a top-notch professional job. The 2009-2010 Cost vs. Value report identifies the average resale for all types of remodeling projects. In 2009, they reported that a 640 square foot basement with a wet bar and bathroom would demand $46,825 in resale value, or approximately $71 per square foot.

You may wish to extrapolate this information to fit your own particular situation. If you have a 900 square foot basement with bathroom and wet bar, it might be reasonable to assume that resale could be as much as $63,900. From there, determine what your basement finishing costs will be if you hire a professional to do the work and use these two numbers to determine whether or not you can recoup your costs.

At the end of the day many factors will play into your cost vs. sale investigation, but a professional finish is one factor that you should control from the start.

Building more…



2 comments


    Basement Concepts

    May 19, 2010

    I couldn’t agree more…There are so many factors that go into determining the amount of money you will get out of your basement finish. The way I see it, if you are planning on living in the home for more than two years: FINISH THE BASEMENT!! Not only will you get that much more enjoyment out of the house, you will be able to get most of the money you spent on the space back when you sell your home. Especially if the market is trending up!! Fortunately it looks like in the next two years the market will continue to trend up in many parts of the country :) . I say finish it…you MIGHT as well!!

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