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What Value does a Finished Basement bring to your Home?

Finishing your basement can add extra living space to your home. You can create a guest bedroom, a home theater or a craft nook. Add a home gym, a games room, an office or wine storage. Think about the possibility of a man cave, designer laundry room, sauna, or another bathroom. How about an in-law suite or a rental unit? A dedicated library or organized storage space may appeal to you. There are so many possibilities! Best of all, developing your basement is 2 to 3 times more cost efficient that building an above ground addition. After all, the basement already has a floor, walls, wiring, plumbing and a roof. 

Does a finished basement increase the value of your home? 

This is a complicated question. The short answer is yes but don’t expect to get back every dollar you spend. Though finishing your basement will increase the resale price of your home, it won’t add the same amount as an above grade addition. Below ground space is worth between 50% and 70% of the value of above ground space. The more the basement feels like the upstairs of your home the better value it will command.

What can I do to ensure that my finished basement will bring a good return on my investment?

  • Ensure ample lighting: Enlarge existing windows and/or add more. Rather than a single lighting fixture in the center of the ceiling, consider a combination of light fixtures. Paint exposed brick or concrete block white to significantly lighten the room. Use mirrors, shiny objects, polished floors, and light coloured walls to maximize reflection.
  • Take care of moisture issues: Seal any cracks in the walls and floor with a high-viscosity polyurethane polymer. Apply waterproof paint to the repaired walls to provide additional moisture protection. Use caulking and weather stripping around the windows. Ensure that the soil slopes away from the house and install downspouts to divert water. Clean your gutters and window wells to keep water from pooling along the foundation. Make sure you have a working sump pump. Consider a dehumidifier. 
  • Obtain the correct permits: Prospective buyers need to know that the local building inspector will not make them remove walls because of a lack of proper permits!
  • Keep it open: Try for an open and airy feel. Buyers are more likely to find the basement attractive if it seems flexible in its use and they can imagine how they would utilize the space.  
  • Improve the staircase: Consider altering the stairs so that they don’t feel narrow and confined. Paint the treads and risers white to brighten the stairwell and install a carpet runner to enhance appeal.
  • Don’t seal off mechanical systems and important appliances: Keep shutoff valves accessible in case of an emergency. Leave sufficient space around and access to the hot water tank and furnace so they can be serviced and/or replaced. Maintain easy access to floor drains and circuit breakers. 
  • Create multipurpose rooms: A general purpose living room and extra bedrooms are widely appealing. The more specialized your rooms (wine storage, home gym, sauna) the less chance buyers will be willing to pay for the improvements.
  • Use quality materials: Finish your basement with materials similar to those used upstairs. Finished walls, quality carpet, and a properly finished bathroom will boost the worth of your basement. 
  • Research your neighborhood: If finished basements are common in your neighborhood, buyers are more likely to consider this space as just another part of the home. If you are the only one with a developed basement, few home buyers will pay more for it.

The kind of finished space you create in the lower level of your home can have an enormous impact on the value a buyer will be willing to pay. Though finishing your basement may or may not result in you recouping your entire investment, consider renovating for your own enjoyment! You will derive pleasure from using your space and recover much of the money spent when you decide to sell.No matter how you decide to complete your underground space, call the Calgary basement experts, Econo Basements at (403) 768-0256 or email at These professionals know how to optimize resale value while providing you with a space your family will enjoy.