House feeling a bit cramped?

The Rob Ellerman Team at ReeceNichols
The Rob Ellerman Team at ReeceNichols
Published on May 3, 2021

When the house is full of friends and family visiting over the summer, any home can feel a little smaller than usual.

But, if your home is small to begin with, that cramped feeling persists even when company leaves. If you aren’t planning on buying a larger home in the near future, there is a way to get more room in the one you have.

The basement. Think about all that “unused” space and consider finishing it to get maximum value.

If you are planning on selling, although you won’t recoup 100% of the money spent, the ROI is better than many other remodeling projects.

Cost vs. Value

The folks that compile Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report assign a 70% ROI to a basement finishing project.

This is based on several specifics, including:

  • Transforming the basement into a “… 20-by-30-foot entertaining area with wet bar and a 5-by-8-foot full bathroom …”
  • An enclosure for the mechanical area
  • Insulated exterior walls
  • “… five six-panel factory-painted hardboard doors with passage locksets”

Plus, a few other common-sense items (wiring to code is one).

The truth is, you can transform that space into an additional bedroom with bathroom which will add value to the home as well.

If you are going to be selling in the near future, plan on a roughly 70% return of your money invested in the basement project. Consider that as lumber prices continue to increase, however, the ROI will decrease. 

See the entire breakdown at

 Planning Is Everything

When you move the kids from one bedroom to another, you can usually make the switch with very little planning. You can even rearrange the furniture or add new windows to the living spaces with little hassle.

But, when it comes to finishing a basement, you need to think it through thoroughly before you begin.

Consider what you can do on your own before hiring pros

Many of the jobs included in finishing a basement are best left to experts. Electrical wiring comes to mind. Oh, and plumbing as well.

But others may be within your talent set. Some of these include:

  • Flooring
  • Installing insulation
  • Painting
  • Hanging drywall

If you decide to take on any of these projects as DIY, ensure you have the proper permits before starting.

Home Systems – Although your basement may be a storage dumping ground, there are usually some seriously important functions that the area already performs.

Many of the pipes and drainage systems, along with the electrical components of your home, line the walls and ceilings of your basement. You will need to ensure you maintain access while still having a finished appeal when revamping this area.

You may want to bring the finished living area in to accommodate access without jeopardizing the look of this space.

Living Spaces – Most basements don’t have a lot of light. That’s great for cinema rooms, but it does make it difficult for living areas.

Most architects suggest centering living areas around the small pockets of existing light and working from those points outward.

Windows – When you finish your basement, you may find that your insurance company requires an additional exit. Typically, this can be solved with large egress windows that can serve as an emergency exit, as well as an additional source of light to your new, usable space.

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