The basement is perhaps one of the most challenging spaces to deal with in the house. It’s usually left till the very end during renovations and when you finally do get to the end after spending all your energy and money on the rest of the house, you wearily let it slide with a whispered, “Let’s just keep storing stuff down there.”
The opposite extreme can also happen: let’s say you’ve been good and saved up a nice chunk of money that you plan on using to finish the basement. By now, you’ve probably already made full use of all the rooms in the house and the sudden idea of having extra space in the basement is just pure gravy. Your head is spinning with wild ideas about what you can use that space for and when the dust from the finishing whirlwind has settled, you somehow find yourself with an indoor floor hockey rink, or an indoor pool, or a giant shrine for your collectibles. While these ideas may sound amazing to you, it may not fit the tastes of everyone and may even hurt your chances of attracting a future buyer one day. (Of course, if you’re already in your dream house or don’t plan on selling any time soon, by all means go for whatever you want!)
If you are going to put your house on the market soon though, these practical basement ideas will help you get top value for your house:
Extra living space is a solid choice because it gives you the option to offer comfortable quarters to your friends and relatives if they ever need to stay the night. You’d no longer have to awkwardly try to cobble together something resembling a bed out of your couch and thankfully still clean blankets. Your guests would also appreciate the privacy of the basement suite without having to worry about getting in the way of everyone the next morning. You can even build a separate entrance from outside and turn the suite into a rental unit. The potential of extra rental income would pique many buyers’ interest.
Den or home theatre
The TV screen is still the most popular entertainment hub in most households; the bigger the screen is, the better because people want to re-create the cinema experience in their own homes. Most big-screen TVs are placed in the living room because there isn’t another room that’s central and large enough to hold the TV. The living room is also where you entertain your guests though, which means there’s a limit to how big the TV can be so as not to make it the main focus of the room. However, if you have the opportunity to turn your basement into a den or full-blown home theatre, well you can get a TV that takes up an entire wall if you want. That way, you can maintain the true spirit of the living room where everyone chats on comfy couches over some wine and move downstairs for a full cinematic experience whenever you want.
If you have a side business or are planning to start one, a home office may be the best option for you. You won’t have to hunch over your laptop at the dinner table or on the living room couch anymore. You’d also have a dedicated space to store all your physical files and documents. What’s more, a lot of people are supplementing their regular income with a side business these days and future buyers who see a fully renovated home office in your house will find it irresistible.
A home gym would be a great long-term investment if you regularly work out at a gym with a membership. You’d not only save on membership fees over the long run, but also the time and gas spent on the commute to and from an outside gym. Setting up a home gym also means that you get to customise it exactly to your fitness routine.
This is a no-brainer if you have kids. They’ll have their own place to run around in and you get to be the world’s most awesome parent in their eyes. Think about this, too: a playroom doesn’t have to only be for little kids; it can also be paradise for the big kids that we all are. So you can stock the playroom with a pool table, foosball table, ping pong table, dart board, video games – anything you want to have fun after a hard day’s work.
Stuck on picking one basement idea out of all the equally great ones? Why not get them all? If you have a large enough basement, you can split it up into different zones for different activities. For instance, you can work out in your home gym corner while keeping an eye on the kids playing in their corner and then you can all watch a movie together later on at the other end of the room. The advantage of this idea is that you don’t have to sacrifice one idea for another and from the buyers’ perspectives, they get to see how the basement space can be maximised to its full potential.
Just keep in mind that although we’ve focussed a lot on basement ideas that will appeal to future buyers, the final choice has to be something you’ll be happy with that fits your needs. It’s impossible to predict what the tastes of future buyers will be; however, it should bring you peace of mind knowing that a finished basement – regardless of the style – is often already a big home value boost.