An unfinished basement is a blank canvas allowing you to span its uses from functional, extravagant, to in-home money makers. Understanding the type of renovator you are – the goals you have for your home in general – will directly impact the way you should design your new basement and the budget you dedicate to it. Before looking at a single photo for inspiration, pricing flooring or light fixtures, you must prioritize your objectives.
There are several types of mindsets. Have you settled down into your community and home? Will this basement be part of your forever home? Perhaps you’re enjoying your home, plan on making the most of it for the next few years, but you have your eyes and heart set on building a new custom home one day? Maybe your home is strictly an investment – and you plan on flipping it as soon it becomes attractive enough for buyers? Lastly, maybe you see all of this empty space as an opportunity to generate some extra money? Answering these questions and gaining a solid understanding of what it is you’re looking to achieve from your home will directly influence your basement design – and how we’ll encourage you to approach your renovation.
The type of homeowner who falls within this mindset is typically trying to straddle both sides of the fence between something they can use and something they think other people will want to buy. They don’t plan on living in this home forever, and therefore they want useable space at an affordable price.
These designs typically increase the number of bedrooms and bathrooms within the home, and generally follow the same standards of quality, fit, and finish consistent with the rest of the home. However, if find yourself within this camp, we want to remind you that there is no way to predict with certainty what a future buyer may or may not want. With that said, if you’re going through with the time and expense of a basement finish, we recommend that you include a few features that you and your family will enjoy while you live there. This could include a media center – a decide spot for movies and video games – or perhaps an in-home gym. These spaces are usually easy to convert should a future buyer not want them, but provide enjoyment until you decide to move on.
Functional basement finishes are designed around the premise of satisfying most people with a universal layout. You’re increasing livable square footage of your home – and the first question prospective buyers usually ask is, “how many bedrooms and bathrooms?”
This is where return on investment (ROI) becomes incredibly important. This person isn’t going to dedicate time and money to something that isn’t going increase the property’s value or help them sell it quickly. This is where a lot more market research comes in and knowing exactly what is being sold in the neighborhood (square footage, number of bedrooms and bathroom, finished or unfinished basements) and for how much. The goal is to make this property more enticing for buyers than other homes for sale in the nearby area. Generally, these people will utilize an appraiser to help them determine budgets for various improvement projects. Typically, basements finishes offer a 70% ROI – however, with the market being so strong in Colorado, this number can change dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood. It’s important to do your research for your particular situation. The general motto here is finishing basements as quickly and as inexpensively as possible, while meeting a speculative checklist of prospective buyers.
These people see the vast empty space of their basement as an opportunity. They’ve been completely content living on the main levels of their home, and creating extra livable square footage isn’t a driving motivator. However, their entrepreneurial spirit cries out with this space going to waste – either a missed opportunity to directly generate weekly cashflow, or a space to start their own business.
Depending on the location of your home – somewhere downtown, conveniently located near the Olympic Training Center and other amenities of Colorado Springs – or a picturesque, quiet mountain getaway – they see their basement as a rental opportunity. With the incredibly easy-to-use advent of Airbnb and Vrbo, finishing an entirely separate living space for weekly rentals is becoming an immensely popular idea. By building separate entries and parking spaces, most homeowners can keep guests isolated from daily interactions with their family and the main living areas of the home. Basement finishing designs and layouts dedicated to serving this purpose can be affordable and a wise investment if you don’t mind sharing your space.
For the opportunist, this could space could also mean starting your own business – typically an online business. Portions of your basement can easily be converted into functional office space – either centered around shipping for online sales or content creation for podcasts and YouTube videos. Sound treated rooms for audio and video production separates the quality of your content, therefore separating you from your competitors. Storage space for merchandise, packing materials, and even a small craft shop for your Etsy creations can be a great way to utilize this otherwise forgotten area of your home.
Forever homes are usually our favorite type of projects, mainly because the people within this mindset tend to get the most creative. They are striving to finish their spaces uniquely suited to them. These basements are the projects you typically see in magazines or prestigious real estate videos. These homeowners are not worried about landing within ROI projections, consulting with appraisers, or fulfilling a speculative checklist generated by a realtor. These homeowners are building a basement to fulfill their dreams, and there’ something exhilarating being a part of that.
Wet bars modeled after Irish pubs, man caves built around the Old West, full gyms with swim spas designed for ti-athletes, hobbit-like libraries and writer’s rooms built for authors, home breweries for the brewmeister, space station capsules designed for game rooms, and entire master suits with accessibility in mind for aging relatives – you can do anything you want with this space. You can fulfill any need of your family, or any want you may have dreamed of since you were a kid.
If you’re finishing a basement in your forever home, our biggest piece of advice is to design it around what suits you personally. For the most part, reject all notions of what’s “supposed” to be found in a basement. You are under no obligation to meet a bedroom and bathroom count pushed by hypothetical realtors or weekend warrior investors. Keep in mind, should you ever choose to sell your home, no one can ever guess what a future buyer does or does not want. With that said, build what you love. Build what you and your family will cherish and use – more often than not, others will appreciate well-thought-out designs and unique features as well.
Which ever category of basement renovator you fall into, Alpine Contracting is here to help you design, budget, and execute your plan. We’ve been designing and finishing custom basements in Colorado Springs for over a decade and are happy to provide a free estimate. Give us a call and one of our project managers will listen to your needs.