Finishing Basements For More Living Space

Homeowners find themselves wanting more space for many reasons.  Some find themselves with an expanding family or new children and need extra bedrooms and possibly a second bathroom.  Other homeowners have never been happy with the space they have and are ready for more out of their home.  When you want more living space, you have four options: move to a new home, build a new home, build an addition on to your existing home, or remodel the basement.

Moving to a New Home

Moving housesPacking up and moving to a new home can be exciting, but it’s often also an expensive, stressful, disorienting, and time-consuming process.  Before selling the home, you will need to go through the long and possibly expensive process of preparing the house to sell.  Everything in your home is going to undergo rigorous inspection and criticism, so it’s important that all leaks in the foundation and plumbing are fixed.  All cracked floor and counter tiles should be replaced with matching ones, and jamming doors and kitchen drawers should be repaired.  Walls may need to be repainted and light bulbs replaced, chrome should be polished and all tubs and toilets recaulked.  The whole house should be scrubbed and cleaned and the floors should be waxed.  It’s also wise to spend extra time on your landscaping and interior decorating to give the home the greatest appeal possible so the continuous stream of prospective visitors looking through your home will be impressed.  While you’re selling your home, you’ll also be going through the home buying process and will be discussing mortgage rates, visiting homes and making phone calls.  How much interest will you be paying on your new mortgage?

Six percent of the home sale price will go to the listing sales commission if you decide to use a realtor, and the moving costs for a middle class family can be as much as $8,000 if you hire movers (at about $25/hour) and are relocating far away.  The process of packing the entire house, moving, and unpacking will take an average time of 60 to 120 hours of work.  In most cases, new furniture and appliances will be needed for the new home as you adjust to the new living space.  Your children may have to go to a new school and may miss their old neighborhood friends, and in the end, you’ve spent an enormous amount of your time and money for your new space.

It’s unlikely that the home you move in will be ideal, and there’s a good chance that it will not meet the needs and preferences more closely than the house you originally lived in.  Any house you move in to will require a variety of compromises in your first choice for neighborhood, yard and floor plan.

Building a New Home

New houseMoving into a newly-built home includes almost all of the disadvantages of moving into an already existing home.  While you won’t be visiting homes that you wish to buy, you will need to investigate a plot of land to make sure that it’s the best to build your home on.  Soil condition, drainage, zoning and building codes in the area will all have to be compared to the building project that you have planned.  Location, noise, highway access, the availability of public utilities and the price of the land will all come into play.

Once you have a plot, you are going to need to pick people to design the home and do the job.  50% of contractors go out of business in their first five years, so this is an important step!  You will need a builder, an excavator, a surveyor and a home designer or architect.  Even if you choose a general contractor to take care of the entire job, you will need to continually check on their progress to make sure that they’re doing their job.  Construction can take months and be a very stressful process.  Very often, the estimated completion date is not held to- if you’ve sold your house under the assumption that you’d be able to move into your new home on time, you may find yourself with nowhere to live or to place what you planned on moving out of the house.  If the house’s construction is completed before you’ve found a buyer, then you will find yourself with two separate mortgages, forcing you to take out a bridge loan to make ends meet until you can sell the extra home.  In the end, it may or may not be worth the aggravation and trouble.

Building an Addition to Your Home

Many of the issues of building a new home go hand-in-hand with the disadvantages of building an addition to your existing home.  There can still be many concerns with zoning and building codes in the area, and you will still need to research and hire builders, excavators, surveyors and home designers to help you design the addition.  Adding on to the foundation, extending the plumbing and wires and preparing the home for the addition will equal a great deal of the cost of the addition.  Siding, roofing and walls will also need to be put in place.

The new addition to your home will take an enormous piece out of your yard space, possibly making your home look crowded into its lot.  The process of building the addition is long and will be disruptive to your daily life while the construction is taking place, especially if you choose to have someone at the home at all times that the work is taking place to keep an eye on things.  The new addition will need to be heated in the winter and cooled in the summer, and your heating and electricity costs will increase appropriately.  The added section of your home will dramatically increase your property taxes, and unless you can build the addition with the same look and style as the original house, you run the risk of your addition looking “attached” and awkward.  Your homeowner’s insurance will go up drastically, and the new area of your home will need the gutters, roof, floors and other sections of the addition maintained for the life of the home.

Finishing the Basement

The only effective way to gain living space by remodeling your home is to turn your unfinished space into a remodeled, comfortable area.  Fortunately, if the largest single space in your entire house- your basement- is unfinished, than your house has incredible potential for expansion.  A basement is a naturally quiet, secluded and private space.  It already has easy access to the pipes and wires of the house, and it’s often readily accessible to heating and cooling ducts, making it the perfect place to install an extra bathroom.  Why would you let that space be dark, ugly, damp, and unusable as living space?  Make the most of your home!

With the proper materials, remodeling your basement will make your entire home more energy-efficient.  If you plan on living in your home for many years, a properly insulated home can lead to hundreds and even thousands of dollars worth of savings on the utility bills in your home.  If you ever decide to sell your home, an energy-efficient one will sell much more easily than one that isn’t.

At 50% of the cost of adding an addition to your home, a basement remodeling convert your cellar into nearly any space you’d like.  If a family member is planning on moving in or you’re expecting a new addition, a remodeled basement can be a bright, safe, comfortable, and cheerful place for a play room, mother-in-law’s room, additional bedroom, or even an extra kitchen!  For your family, you might choose to remodel the basement into a family room, TV room, or home studio.  A professional homeowner might appreciate a home office, wine cellar, library, or personal gym in their newly finished basement.  If you’d prefer to renovate your basement into a more recreational area, a remodeled basement can be perfect as a game room, personal wet bar, hobby room, or private spa.  Whatever your basement remodeling ideas, they can be made if you use the right basement finishing materials.

Finishing a basement is much faster to do than to move to a new home or build a new living space.  Because the work is being done in your basement, the job is contained and out of your way.  A typical Total Basement Finishing basement remodeling will take five to 10 days, and the basement will be ready to use immediately when the installation is completed.  According to Remodeling Online, the national average increase of the value of your home will be by 75% of the cost of the installation (Click here to read the full report!).  In a seller’s market, this increase in value is likely to be much higher, especially if you wait 10-15 years before selling your home.  In the meantime, you can enjoy the newly finished space and increased quality of life for many years.

 Why Basement Finishing is Better than Moving:

  1. You and your children love your neighborhood
  2. With few exceptions, you’re happy and comfortable with your current home
  3. Your home has sentimental value
  4. You feel that your money would better be spent on your home than on closing costs and moving expenses
  5. The property value of the homes in your neighborhood is rising.
  6. Your home is not at peak value for the neighborhood and could increase in appreciation greatly through a well-planned basement remodeling. 

Basements are the most overlooked and neglected areas in your home. 

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