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Finishing the Basement - Cheapest Home Addition With the Biggest

You need some extra living space without breaking the bank. So, your first thought is to finish the basement.

It could be the cheapest and even the quickest remodel or home addition you could do. It typically has the lowest impact on the environment, your quality of life during the expansion, and your pocketbook. But, what do you need to know before you can make this a reality?

Here are some of the most common questions that I get when people ask me about finishing their basement. I hope the questions and answers will be useful to you. Go into your building and remodeling projects prepared!

Most Common Questions About Finishing a Basement

Question: Are permits required to finish a basement?

There are safety issues when you remodel or finish a basement. What about emergency egress? Are there windows or doors to the outside? Will you need to do additional excavating to create this access? The permitting process is design to address these and other issues. Check your requirements!

Question: Is a basement remodel job a DIY project or should we hire a General Contractor?

My answer is ... neither! Actually, I cannot answer it specifically for you as I don't know your project or you and your time and abilities. Finishing a basement can certainly be a DIY (do it yourself) project for the right people. Regardless, I'm a big proponent of hiring a home building coach to guide you. That coach could be an architect, interior designer, a builder or even a subcontractor.

Question: I have a wet basement, does this prohibit me from finishing my basement?

It certainly could make things a lot more tricky. Sometimes damp, leaky basements mean high water tables and this does not bode well for a finished basement. Other times it's a flaw or crack that can be fixed. Sometimes it's costly, however. Use real caution and get professional help if you detect a big problem.

Question: Do we need to hire an architect to design our basement remodel?

I prefer professional design for most major home expansions. If you want a quality job and the remodel is more than just adding a little game room, then yes, I would want to hire a professional to do the design work. This could be an architect, residential designer, a contractor/builder, or even a structural engineer with a drafter.

Question: Is there an average cost per square foot for a basement remodel?

No. Well, that was easy! Seriously, every area is different. Every situation is different. Your project will have its own challenges and you'll have your own desires and needs. The best answer I can give is to get professionals to help you define your prospective project and then get bids! As a general guideline, you might expect to pay only one third to one half the cost of an above ground addition to the home.

Final Thoughts on Basement Remodels

There are many factors involved in any remodeling or building project and it really pays to get professional help. Never rely on the opinion of just one professional or friend. And that includes me!

Develop a list of your own questions and seek out the advise of the various professionals I've mentioned ... especially a home building coach.

Good luck in your adventures. And, keep learning!