Home Selling in Madrona>Question Details

Ctk, Other/Just Looking in Seattle, WA

Should I finish my basement before I put it up for sale?

Asked by Ctk, Seattle, WA Tue Jan 29, 2008

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The short answer is that it depends.

It would depend on your homes' other amenities. If your home is older with 2 or 3 bedrooms and 1 bath and there is a lot of competition then the extra bath and room could be beneficial. The basement should also be accessible from the inside of the home, not only from the outside. How finished and updated the rest of your house is should also be considered, maybe the money you would have spent finishing the basement would be better spent on doing some upgrades to your home. Time and money also need to be considered. There may not be enough time to do much before this spring, so maybe putting money into making some cosmetic improvements would a better idea.

I would suggest that you go to open houses in surrounding Madrona area to see in person, homes that are similar to yours to see their condition, and basements to get a better idea of the return on your improvement dollars. Money spent on upgrading kitchens and baths is usually a better return on improvement dollars than do basements.

Valuing is all about comparisons and experience! The more time and effort you put into studying and evaluating the pros and cons, and other options, the lower your risk of making a poor decision.

Best wishes on your project, and email me if I can be of more help to you.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2008
No. Houses are selling better if they are lower priced, and finished basement square footage doesn't add enough to the value to warrant the work and expense. Leave the future buyers a little something they can do to improve the value during their ownership. They will likely need a little boost more than you, by the time they sell.

Make sure it is clean and dry and has good lighting. Let the buyer envision the possibilities and feel good about the space, and what they may be able to do with it that will suit their own needs.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 1, 2008
I completely agree with Deborah and gave her a thumbs up on her response! Going to open houses and model homes and looking around at what houses are selling for and with what amenities is vital when making the difficult decision to remodel.

I will also add that you should have a couple Realtors over to give you their opinion of value as is and possible value after a remodel. It is really important to understand the numbers and what kind of return on your investment you would get if you do take the time and energy to remodel. It is also important to get other professional perspectives of where your hard earned money should be spent for a remodel.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2008
It depends on your location. Have a real estae agent do a CMA of your neighborhood and compare the resutls with homes that have finished basements and those that don't. Work with a agent that has handled remodels to sell. Be very careful not to over spend, remember you are fixing it up to sell to make money. You must have the right height to feel like a living space. Rememer to save areas for storage. If done right this can bring you more money
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 17, 2008
Let the new buyer finish the basement with his/her vision of what a great basement should look like. You are much better served in this "Buyer's" market by keeping your list price as competetive as possible.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008

The bottom line is that the value of the improvement depends on the home. Here is the good news. Contractors will give you an estimate of the cost of the improvement and a Realtor should be able to tell you the value of your home before and after construction. With those opinions, (and I wouldn't get just one opinion from either a Realtor or a contractor), you should be able to make an educated decision.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 5, 2008
I support Ardells answer.
First, buyers do not expect basements to be finished, nice touch but not necessary.
Second, when the sq. footage of the basement gets added to the sq. footage of the house buyers get disappointed since it actually is not a living area but a basement.
Third I have seen homes that nothing was left unfinished and basements with surround sounds and buyers just kept saying and where should we store our stuff?

If you really want to improve something than focus on low cost kitchen or bath remodel, and fix up small things around the house that will get noticed like paint, nicked woodwork, worn carpets etc. Focus on presenting your home as clean, neat and ready to move in. Curb appeal is also high on the list.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 1, 2008
YES!, this is my answer! If you were a buyer, would you prefer the basement be finished?
I bet, the answer will be YES!
So, YES, finish your basement. Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
You don't necessarily need to finish your basement before you put it ip for sale, just be sure that it's sparkling clean, clutter-free & dry! Too often sellers expect to see a much larger offer if they have a finished basement, so they spend a lot to finish it off, & then they don't see a return on their investment.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
Not long ago I listed a few houses not too far from you. Two of them are very similar, except the basement. Here's what happened:
1. Seller remodeled basement, put in second master, small kitchen and second bath. Wall to wall carpet throughout. New windows, new drywall. House was on the market for about 9 months.
2. Seller did nothing to the house. Ever. Not only did the basement need to be finished, the whole house needs to be remodeled. Sold in under 2 weeks.

Make the house as pretty as possible without doing any major work.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 24, 2008
Ctk, Finish the basement! If you were selling a year or two ago, I would say either way is fine. In the current market buyers want a finished product at a great price! The better your home looks the better the offer will be. You home has to stand out and extra sq footage in combination with presentable home is a great selling point! If you home is vacant, make sure to stage it. If you live in the house, keep it as if you have guests over all the time! Also, don’t forget to price it competitively if you need to sell!
Good luck and let me know if I can be of any help.
Web Reference: http://www.verabrodsky.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 24, 2008
CTK here is a simple one for you. Why dont you leave your basement as is (UNFINISHED). You don't know the buyers taste, he or she or them may have a completely different vision of what they want it to be. A sleeping quarter, a media room, who knows right? One advice, because your basement is unfinished, make sure to reflect that in the price, and lower it accordingly.
Done Deal, Best of Luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 20, 2008
That's a great question but one that is hard to answer without knowing some other facts. Take a look at what else is for sale and recently sold in your area. You may find that other homes are selling with unfinished basements. The cost and time to finish out your basement may not net you that much more in the end....You have to weigh the cost vs. the return on your investment.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 19, 2008
NO, basements are great extra living space, any buyer would prefer finished to unfinished but the cost to properly finish a basement is much more than you will gain in sales price. I would however paint or cheaply rug (if small) the floor use shelving instead of having items all over the floor and maybe even seal the walls and do a coat of fresh paint. It can give the illusion of being finished without speading the money.

Camille Miller
Prudential NJ Properties
Flemington, Nj
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 17, 2008
As has already been said...it really does depend on your home. Sometimes, basements can basically just become wasted space...oftentimes extremely expensive wasted space. Depending on the current state of your home though a basement could also really add value.

Oftentimes, a basement may give you the opportunity to market an extra bathroom or even a mother-in-law space depending on how the basement is set up. As Courtnet said...have a couple of realtors come look at your plans and discuss how much value a finished basement would add to your home.
Web Reference: http://www.agentsamuel.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 30, 2008
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