Your basement - to finish or not to finish...That is the Question!

Real Estate Agent with Re/Max Masters

There are many reasons to consider refinishing your basement. Do you want to make it look better because you are thinking of putting your house up for sale? Or do you want to create a more user-friendly living space in the area under your main floor? Especially in older Colorado homes, basements often exist - but they are often unfinished, dark, damp, and dingy. Additionally, many of the finished basements in homes more than 10 or 15 years old can be outdated and basically useless – other than as storage areas.

 It is not uncommon for homeowners to neglect their basements. First, when owners have home improvement budgets, they are likely to spend dollars improving the main or upper levels of their homes rather than their basements. The upper floors are areas seen by guests and are used most frequently by the majority of family members. Second, the whole concept of finishing or refinishing basements is often an overwhelming idea for homeowners because basements can be oddly shaped and often there are issues with dampness and cold temperatures. Finally, basements are frequently viewed by homeowners as unsafe environments for children because of their proximity to furnaces and hot water heaters. They may also lack good air circulation.  

Despite all of the excuses people may have for not finishing or refinishing their basements, revitalizing the space below your home’s main level can be advantageous if it’s done properly. Not only can basements provide additional living/entertaining space for you and your family, but nicely finished basements can also truly increase the value of homes.

 Do Finished Basements Mean Increased Total Square Footage for Homes?

Many homeowners who are contemplating selling their houses ask us whether or not finishing their basements will create additional square footage for their houses, which can justify higher asking prices. There is no cut-and-dry response to this inquiry. For example, a home’s square footage is technically determined by the number of livable square feet “Above Grade.” Above Grade means “Above the Soil Line.” But this does not mean a nicely finished basement will not serve to increase the value of a home. Several websites discuss this topic in great detail. Click here for more information.

In most cases, a basement’s square footage is not included in a home’s official square footage count (unless it’s a walkout basement). However, a nicely finished basement can increase the value of a home by many thousands of dollars. In addition to the monetary worth of a professionally finished basement, the extra space can be an invaluable asset to homeowners who plan to use basement space on a regular basis.

 Following are some of the most popular uses for basements:

Family Room

TV Room

Movie Theatre

Guest Bedroom


Home Office


Play Room

Game Room

A professionally finished basement can be a wonderful addition to a home. But if you are thinking of spending tens of thousands of dollars to finish or refinish your basement, it is important to investigate how much monetary value it will add to the home itself. Make sure to do your homework and determine how many other homes in the neighborhood have professionally finished basements. Are there any structural issues that must be addressed before moving forward? Will a bedroom in the basement violate any safety codes? Be sure to call Doug James at the Wise Listing Team today at (303) 814-3684 if you are considering making changes to your basement. We will be happy to discuss all of the pros and cons of finished/refinished basements with you!

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The Wise Listing Team at Re/Max Masters
Wise Listing System
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Comments (1)

Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

The basements in my market are on the older mid-century homes on the East side.  If there is a basement, it has usually been finished by this time.  If not, there's a reason why; access, low ceilings (won't meet today's standard for livable space), no windows, or not to code windows.  I've seen some very nicely done basements.

Jan 14, 2013 03:56 AM