The Pros and Cons of a Finished Basement in Your St. Louis Home

Written by Josh McDermott

pros and cons of a finished basementHaving a finished basement in your St. Louis home can bring many benefits and when considering this type of remodel, most of our basement clients have similar goals:

  • Gain additional entertaining and living space,
  • Add a family room, ¾ bath and/or a formal dining room,
  • Add an egress window (has to be no higher than 42 inches off the ground so you can open up the window and get out in the event of a fire)
  • Increase the resale value of the house

Of course, as with any renovation, there are pros and cons to consider before you start. So, let’s look at all the issues that might have an effect on your decision.

Finishing Your Basement: The Pros

One of the main plusses to having a finished basement, of course, is that you’ll gain extra, livable space – and this has its own advantages:

Gain some privacy: keep the kids contained in one area.

Keep noise and activity contained in one area: Separate the media/games/television from the rest of the home.

Make entertaining easier: having a dedicated area for entertaining will make your parties more fun and easier to clean up after.

Improve resale value: you can increase the resale value of your home (up to 75 percent in some cases).

Functional spaces: you will gain space for an additional bathroom, kitchen, or spare bedroom.

Income potential: adding a basement suite could help you bring in extra income from the property.

Easier than an addition: finishing your basement will add square footage to the house without changing the footprint of the building. It’s a way to expand your home without having to deal with rezoning.

Improve the convenience of your property by adding a walkout to the backyard or garage.

pros and cons of a finished basement

Finishing Your Basement: The Cons

Even with all the upsides to finishing your basement, there can be some drawbacks. For instance:

Does the new use justify the price? If you’re not staying longer than five-to-seven years, you’re probably not going to get as much value out of it. If you intend to stay, think about how much you are really going to use the space and if it’s really going to justify the cost.

You may lose storage space, so if you have a lot of items to store, you will have to find an alternate solution. Look at all the stuff you have in your basement now and think about where it’s all going to go.

Added expense. You might be on the hook for higher utility bills and property taxes. If you obtain a new appraisal, the tax man is going to want his cut!

Will it raise your property value too much? If other neighborhood homes don’t have similar improvements, you might be pricing yourself out of the market for the area.

Moisture and mold issues. If your basement tends to be damp, you have to consider water coming into the basement. A water backup system will be needed if it’s raining for a couple of days or more. A sump pump system will only work so well because a water backup system is powered by water; these are issues you will need to consider in advance.

An Example Of A Recent St. Louis Finished Basement Project

pros and cons of a finished basement

In one recent basement finishing project, our client was an empty nester couple whose kids were grown and gone. They wanted a playroom for the grandkids, a workout room for themselves, and an area for entertaining the whole family.

Since they were very specific as to what they needed, we didn’t add a bedroom because they really didn’t need one.

pros and cons of a finished basement

Unique Challenges

Some of the challenges we faced had to do with the size of the home itself. It was 2,000 square feet, and we actually recommended that the owners to scale back their project and not finish the entire basement, a decision that would not only save them money but would have some practical implications when it came time to sell. We recommended that they leave the decision to complete the finished basement up to the next homeowners in case, for example, they wanted more storage.

The municipality the home was located in is extremely progressive and their building standards were very high. Due to the size of the space, we were tasked with doing some additional fire blocking and insulation and improving airflow between the two floors in order to minimize the potential spread of fire.

All in all, the end result was exactly what the client wanted.

Are you thinking about finishing the basement in your St. Louis home? Reach out to set up a consultation today. We’d love to show you how we can help.

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