Jenny Lemieux, Home Buyer in Chicago, IL

Is it worth renovating my basement before selling?

Asked by Jenny Lemieux, Chicago, IL Sat Jul 28, 2012

We have an old home with a small footprint, and can't decide whether to move or to renovate our basement.

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Mack Alsaidi, Agent, Chicago, IL
Mon Jan 20, 2014
Hi Jenny, I would but it all depends. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime.
1 vote
John Meyers, Agent, Park Ridge, IL
Wed Mar 9, 2016
Hello Jenny,

If you like your neighborhood and the basement is dry, I would update.

However, if you don't want to deal with 6 months of noise, contractors, and dust, you should give it a fresh coat of paint and buy something that is move-in condition.

John Meyers
(Meyers Realty,, c: 847-533-7115)
0 votes
My NC Homes…, Agent, Chapel Hill, NC
Fri Nov 29, 2013
There are so many factors that need to be considered in order to truly answer your question. Things like location, your overall satisfaction with your home, cost etc. Generally speaking renovating a basement in order to sell would not be something I'd recommend unless the rest of the house has already been updated. In terms of return on your investment you'll be luck to get 40-50% back when you sell, as opposed to re-doing a kitchen, baths or even simply repainting the entire interior and updating some lighting fixtures where you would likely see between an 80-120% return. If you're doing this to sell the house I'd suggest speaking with a few local Realtors and getting their input, after you've shown them your home. If you're doing this to create additional living space for yourselves and plan on living there for several more years, then I'd say it's worth doing.
0 votes
Michael Rose…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri Nov 29, 2013
Depends on the current value of your home and the other features it offers in the marketplace. Get an experienced listing broker to value the home and inform you how much more value would come from a finished basement. The broker should be able to help you with a cost:analysis to determine if you should invest the dollars to get a better return.
0 votes
John Meyers, Agent, Park Ridge, IL
Thu Nov 28, 2013
Hello Jenny,

If the basement is dry, you like the area, and you can afford fixing it up, it makes sense to fix up and stay.

Basement renovations can get expensive though if you are adding a bathroom. If you have your eye on a different area and don't have the time to deal with contractors, moving may be your best bet.

Just let me know if you would like some help.

John Meyers, Meyers Realty
c: 847-533-7115
0 votes
Santiago Ken…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri Aug 2, 2013
Depend of your competition and type of house ...50% of cases is not worth it
0 votes
Michael Vrie…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Tue Sep 4, 2012
This really depends. The ROI might not be there, though doing it may help improve the chances of a future sale...and you get to enjoy it for a year or so in the meantime.

As others have said, evaluate the priced of the most similar homes with and without basements and you should be able to make an informed decision.

If you need assistance and need a realtor, feel free to reach out and I will be happy to assist.

Michael Vrielink

Michael Vrielink
Chicago Real Estate Artists LLC
Managing Broker & Realtor
401 N Michigan Ave. Suite 1200 Chicago IL 60611
Tel: 312-970-9476 | Fax: 312-945-7476
0 votes
Seth Captain, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sun Aug 12, 2012
If your husband is going to hit his head on the radiator pipes every time he goes down there and scream at you for this stupid $%#* idea to convert the basement, then don't bother.

If it's deep enough, or you are willing to pay for the deep (underpinning) digout, why not. Get a roll of blue tape. Go down there and tape out where you would put your stuff, and see how it feels. Just make sure you have enough tape to make that ping pong table. It's required by Chicago building code.
0 votes
Robert McGui…, Agent, Denver, CO
Sat Aug 11, 2012

Good question. A lot depends on the value of basements in your area. And of course the level of finish, cost to you, the size of your basement, etc. Your Listing Broker can give you more detailed information on basement valuation in your particular area. Sometimes it is a selling point that makes your home sell faster without a great return on your investment. A market analysis will help you determine if the money, time and hassle is worth it to you. Best of success.

Robert McGuire ASR
Your Castle Real Estate
1776 S. Jackson St. #412
Denver CO 80210
Direct – 303-669-1246
0 votes
Bill J Delig…, Agent, Naperville, IL
Mon Jul 30, 2012
Find a Realtor to provide you with comparables in your area w/ and w/out finished basements.
0 votes
Suzanne Hami…, Agent, Orland Park, IL
Sun Jul 29, 2012
It really depends. Right now, with distressed homes, price is king, so keeping your price low is the key to selling. However, there is a benefit to having a move-in ready home with benefit to selling.

Whether you can get your money out of it is the question. I would have a few Realtors come out and give their opinion of your home and see what they think. Then decide.
0 votes
Matt Laricy, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sat Jul 28, 2012
It depends on how long you plan on living there. If you plan on finishing the basement, then listing it, you probably wont get that great of ROI.
0 votes
Erik Sachs, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sat Jul 28, 2012
How tall are your ceilings?
0 votes
Joe Schiller, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sat Jul 28, 2012
basements are not for living they are for dogs and children and dirty clothes
0 votes
Philip Sencer, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sat Jul 28, 2012
It can depend on many factors. What can you afford if you move and is it better than what you have? What would you get for your house with and without a finished basement. etc.
0 votes
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