Let’s Talk Basements

Posted by TSI Appraisal
Basements – some people love them for the extra storage or
renovation space and some view them as an inconvenience — maybe because it’s
additional maintenance, maybe because Home Alone influenced them too much as a
young child. Either way, basements mean something difference to everyone.
Just like in Home Alone,
when Macaulay Culkin would run up the basement stairs when the furnace started
to click and groan, they can be a scary place when you’re a kid. To a teenager,
it’s the hang out area for them and their friends — a place where mom and dad
won’t complain about the mess or noise. And to a parent, a basement is more
often than not a catch-all for tools, furniture or anything else that you have
to stow away when the family comes over for their Thanksgiving meal.
But speaking more to the
adult or parent, a basement can offer more than storage; it could mean a better
home value. Why? Well, the basement is the foundation of a home, so what better
place to begin determining the value of a home?
Different basements offer
different value features. Walkout basements have an exit, which can be
desirable to many buyers, especially if it walks out to an impressive backyard
or lake. Daylight basements are nice as well. They often have large windows
that allow for natural lighting, which is a plus for some buyers. There are
also partial basements. This is where some of or the entire basement is a
garage. It’s a great use for additional storage space. Then there is the
unfinished basement, notorious in its use for both storage and exercise.
Depending on the market
and zoning regulations, one might not be able to legally live underground, so
basement bedrooms might not offer much in the way of value. However, bathrooms
do add value. (Baltimore throne, anyone?) When looking at the value added by a basement,
the structural integrity of the walls and floor are important.
Here are a few more things
to look for while determining the value of a basement:
Walls – Has there been patchwork done? Are there
cracks or mold? This could be a sign of a moisture problem. Depending on the
region, this could mean trouble when the snow melts or if there’s what seems
like a record rainstorm brewing above your home.
Ceiling – Is it a drop ceiling or is it open? Is there
any sign of moisture?
Floor – Is the floor finished? Is there carpet,
concrete, wood, dirt? It all makes a difference.
Windows – Adding egress windows can add additional functionality to the
home, and may influence potential buyers.
Kitchens and bathrooms – Before deciding to add a kitchen or bathroom
to your basement, check with the local building department to pull the
necessary permits.
Just keep in mind that
money spent refinishing a basement will not likely produce a dollar for dollar
value to your home. That being said, just because a basement’s square footage
isn’t reported as livable space in an appraisal report doesn’t mean that the
basement can’t impact the value of a home. As mentioned, it’s the foundation of
the house. Therefore, a healthy usable basement could mean healthy usable cash
for a seller!
For more information visit www.TSIAppraisal.com

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