Finished Basements: The Final Frontier
Tiffany had just made a partner at her law firm, and Robert was jokingly saying he was ready to deliver as “Wonder Dad”. Everything seemed to be falling into place. Although everyone else was concerned their home might not have the space required for a growing family, they were ready to tackle the challenge.
The doctor looked up from the ultrasound machine with a big grin on her face and said, “We have twins!”
Tiffany and Robert exchanged a look. They would need to size up; their two bed, one bath condo in downtown Kansas City wasn’t going to cut it for a rapidly growing family.
They reached out to Luis, their Realtor with Team Real Estate. He set up the auto search for homes that had more bedrooms, perhaps a convertible den/office, maybe a large, finished basement. Luis suggested “Sit back and watch the options roll in; we’ve got this covered.” Tiffany and Robert relaxed together while the sun rose in their kitchen window, confident a new home was right around the corner.
For A Budget Oasis, Just Add Creativity
Tiffany showed Robert the videos she’d been watching of YouTubers who renovated their unfinished basements into their own personal oasis.
Luis showed them plenty of options available in homes for sale, sparking a wave of creativity. Some opted for home theaters, adding plush chairs and projectors to make a personal movie theater experience. Some turned their basements into suave mini guest apartments to rent out for extra cash or for family and friends to use when visiting.
One YouTuber she watched used halogen lamps and a humidifier to turn their basement into a greenhouse! She devoured them all ravenously, deciding that this could be a viable solution to their house-hunting troubles.
“The key to living well isn’t necessarily the space you’re given, but what you do with it creatively. If you have an attic or a basement, then you have a home library, a game room, or anything else you can imagine,” said interior designer Karen Mills.
A multi-use space like a basement can add much more living area at a fraction of the cost.
More Bang For Your Remodeling Bucks
“A square foot of below-grade living space costs about half that of a square foot of above-grade living space. So basically, you could pay twenty grand for a 132 square foot bedroom or ten grand for 132 square feet of basement space,” explained Martin Taggart, Chief Executive and co-founder of Team Real Estate, brokered by eXp Realty.
After promising Robert’s father, a retired contractor, all of the free home-cooked meals he could eat to help with the project, Tiffany brought the new action plan to Luis, their Team Real Estate agent.
In two weeks, they found a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house in the Mission Farms suburbs with a yard and a spacious basement for a fraction of the cost of other options they considered.
What To Expect When You’re Finishing an Unfinished Space
When they first moved in, Robert was a bit skeptical. The basement was insulated but unfinished. Their new basement was illuminated by flickering yellow bulb lamps; the whole place felt like a concrete cave. Moreover, he was having difficulty imagining the dream master suite that Tiffany had been promising. Still, she had never steered him wrong.
They spent a few months sharing a room with their son while Robert’s father took the other bedroom, most of their bedroom decoration still in storage.
With Luis’ advice to stick within a plan that didn’t put their investment ahead of neighborhood values, the basement slowly transformed from a large crawlspace into a master bedroom fit for royalty. When they finally brought the twins home (two baby girls), they had their own room. Tiffany and Robert had two walk-in closets, LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) flooring, enough room for a king-size bed, and the television Robert insisted on buying to celebrate the occasion.
Creating additional finished space is a great way to capture additional equity that’s tough to find when you’re purchasing a home in a low inventory market.
Finally, everything had fallen into place. The best years of their lives were ahead of them.
Life in Style is the weekly publication from Team Real Estate, brokered by eXp Realty, which helps homeowners live a more inspired life. To be considered for comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Need a subject matter expert? Click here. Buyer or seller with questions? Go to Real Answers.
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