If a project will add value for your family while living in the house and return on the money spent is not an issue, then by all means finish the basement and enjoy it! Most homes with finished basements will show more favorably than homes with unfinished basements.
If the main concern is increasing the sales price of the home, then a little research should be done before undertaking the project. You really need to look at what other homes in your area sold for, what didn't sell for , and what is currently for sale. Go out and look at open houses or active listings to get an idea of what is out there.
One additional thing to consider is how will the project be paid for? If this project plus what you currently owe on the home will put you underwater, that will create additional challenges when you try to sell the home.
Without completing a market analysis of the selling activity that has occurred in your neighborhood, it is hard to give a definitive answer. However, in general, in the current market conditions, you would need to make this decision based more on what the finished basement means to you and your famly rather than what it would mean to the value of your home.
Without question a finished basement is a feature that all buyers enjoy. When compared to similar homes in the same price range, the finished basement may provide the "tipping point" in the buyer's decision-making process. However, in this market it would take a particular buyer who is willing to pay a higher price for a home with a finished basement when compared to similar houses with no finished basement...not all buyers today are willing to do so.
Please let me know if I can help you in any way.
Maybe yes; maybe no. How's that for an answer? :-)
We could provide you with some generic answers and stats, but a local professional should really couple that with a tour and analysis of your home, the immediate market, your plans and goals, etc. Only then can you properly be counseled what to do. For instance, the answer might be yes, but don't spend more than, "$x."
If you would like further assistance, feel free to contact me. Thanks!
Derek Bauer, Associate Broker / Realtor
Real Estate One