About one-third of the projects built by Ryan Schleper, owner of All City Builders, Buffalo, Minn., are basements. Schleper says clients want their basements finished for two reasons: They need space, and it's usually about a third of the cost of an addition, because mechanicals, foundation, and outside walls are already in place and no re-landscaping is required.
Finished basements are a regional improvement. In areas of the South -- Texas and Florida in particular -- basements themselves are a rarity. (That's why we don't list cost or value numbers for Dallas and Miami.) HomeTech puts the national average cost of remodeling a basement at $43,112 and real estate agents and appraisers interviewed for the study predict an average return of $33,911, or 79%.
Finish the lower level of a house to create a 20-by-30-foot entertaining area with wet bar, a 5-by-8-foot full bath, and a 12-by-12-foot auxiliary room. Walls and ceilings are painted drywall throughout; exterior walls are insulated; painted trim throughout. Include five six-panel primed hardboard doors. Main room shall include 15 recessed ceiling light fixtures and three surface-mounted light fixtures and snap-together laminate flooring system. Bathroom includes standard white toilet, vanity with cultured marble top, resilient vinyl flooring, two-piece fiberglass shower unit, a light/fan combination, vanity light fixture, and recessed medicine cabinet. Bar area includes 10 linear feet of raised-panel oak cabinets with laminate countertops, stainless steel bar sink, single-lever bar faucet, undercounter refrigerator, and vinyl floor tile.
|Market||Job Cost||Resale Value||Cost Recouped|
|Los Angeles metro||47,834||62,084||130|
|Orange Cty, Calif.||47,532||40,333||85|
|New York metro||46,483||42,426||91|
|Fairfield-New Haven, Conn.||42,975||56,446||131|
|Salt Lake City||37,298||26,300||71|
|San Francisco metro||51,428||68,659||134|