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4 Questions to Answer Before Starting Your Basement Remodel

If you don't know where you are going, then you will never get to where you want to go. The truth is that planning a basement remodel is a lot of fun, but, in order to ensure a successful outcome, planning, preparing, and budgeting are all necessary steps that must be taken prior to your first purchase. In this article, I discuss the 4 Questions to Answer Before Starting Your Basement Remodel.

What is the purpose of remodeling your basement?

Before starting your basement remodel, did you ask yourself why you want to remodel your basement? I know it seems odd to want a basement remodel and think about all the great ideas, but then ask yourself why. What are you trying to achieve with your basement remodel?

  • Do you want more storage space?

  • Do you want an area where your family can spend time together?

  • Do you want a work area?

Before you begin planning your basement remodel, define why you want a basement remodel. For instance, if your plan is for a family-gathering area, then you will want to make sure the area is well-insulated and well-lit. You will want to also make sure that your HVAC system and duct work is sufficient to heat the space during the winter and cool the space during the summer. So, before you begin scheduling appointments with general contractors for estimates, make sure to know what you want to use the space for.

Note: If you are going to add a bedroom or living space in the basement, ensure to consult with your local building department on codes before proceeding with the project.

What condition is your basement currently in?

Take a notepad and a pen downstairs to your basement and thoroughly walk through your basement, notating the dimensions and condition of the basement. Here are a few questions to answer:

  • Has the basement ever flooded or retained water?

  • Does the basement have a sump pump?

  • Does the basement have framing? Is it wood or steel?

  • Does the basement have rough plumbing; i.e., an area where a bathroom can be installed?

  • Are there currently items being stored in the basement?

  • Is there rough electrical installed?

  • What is the height of the basement?

  • What is the square footage of the basement?

  • What type of flooring is installed, if any?

  • Is there drywall on the walls?

  • Are there windows? If so, how many and what size (length and width)?

Use these questions as as guideline to figuring out what condition your basement is currently in. Then, schedule an appointment with a general contractor to determine the best course of action.

How do you want to finish the space?

Do you want drywall and paint? How about trim and hardwood flooring? You can finish a basement any way that you want, but finishes consume the largest percentage of the total budget.

Finishes include:

  • flooring

  • trim

  • paint

  • light fixtures

  • plumbing fixtures

  • hardware

Decide on how you want to finish your basement. Engineered hardwood flooring is approximately $3.00 per square foot vs tile at $1.50 per square foot. The cost of trim varies by the material; i.e., oak, pine, MDF, etc. And, light and plumbing fixtures can go from $50 to $500. So, your budget can start at $5,000 and move up to $30,000+. So, decide on how you want your basement to look.

How much do you want to spend?

The question that determines everything else, "What is your budget?" This is a personal question that will depend on factors outside of a general contractor's knowledge or control. However, here are a couple of facts to consider:

  • Basement remodels see, on average, a return on investment of 69%. If you invest $20,000 in a basement remodel and you plan to sell your home, you will receive $13,800 in return. That means you will have spent $6,200 for your $20,000 remodel.

  • Basement remodels add valuable living space without increasing your home's footprint. An average home addition costs about $150 per square foot. That means if your basement is 700 square feet, then an addition would cost $105,000 compared to a $20,000 basement remodel for the same square footage.

  • Basement remodels make happy homeowners. Homeowners who decide to convert their basement into additional living space, tend to be happier per a survey conducted by The National Association of Realtors. In fact, from a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the happiest, people who remodeled their basement rated their happiness with the remodel at 9.4.


If you are considering a basement remodel, then call DDT Home Transformations at (630) 200-3945 or email us at to schedule a free, in-home appointment.


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