Should I add a bedroom and bath?

Asked by Memphising, Washington, VA Fri Jun 7, 2013

I have a 4 level split in a very desirable neighborhood in Vienna, backing up to Meadowlark gardens, 5 minutes to Wolftrap and the toll road, and 10 minutes to Tysons, 10 minutes to Reston. Similar houses in area have gone close to $900K just recently.

I have a full basement. Part of it is nicely finished with a half bath. The other part is concrete and dry wall that I am thinking of finishing to add a bedroom and a full bath and make it into an Au Pair suite or an in law apt with its own exit. It would cost be $50K to do that based on quotes I've gotten. The question is: Is this a worth while endeavor for a house of this size in this location? Is this cost appropriate for the resale value? It is underground so will this even count in added sq footage? It would add 700 SF. My house is already at 2300 sf not counting the basement.

I hope to stay in it for a while and possibly rent the house in the future and rent the apt. separately. I'd appreciate any advice you have

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Chris Ognek, Agent, Fredericksburg, VA
Fri Jun 7, 2013
I think your bids of $50k are throwing off your decision matrix. $50k is sky high to finish part of a basement and turn a half bath into a full bath. I help clients take advantage of home renovation loans to buy and renovate homes and we're doing total makeovers for $35k to $60k - kitchens, baths, windows, HVAC, etc. $30k sounds more appropriate to do what you described. I agree with the other agents, you certainly wouldn't get your money back on a resale at a cost of $50k. If the house is 4 levels, you probably already have a 3-4 bedroom home so adding another bedroom won't give you a huge bump in desirability like going from a 2 br to a 3 br. A "code" bedroom requires adequate exit space in case of fire, usually 5.5 soft no more than 44 inches off the ground. So, if you want a "code" bedroom, you may need to install that exit window. Usually, it costs about $4k or so to do that. Building an entire bathroom from scratch, depending on how much pluming is needed, would probably run you $9k. (its only $4-5k for a standard bathroom when there is rough in plumbing already present.) To finish 700 sqft should only run you about $12-15k. If you think a lower price for the work makes it worthwhile for you to do, just let me know and I will be happy to connect you with the contractor who does all of my investment properties and all of my clients renovations. I send him so much work that he really keeps his prices down and its all top quality work. Family run business and they used to work in new construction building homes all over northern Virginia.

Good Luck,
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John Ginty, Agent, Reston, VA
Fri Jun 7, 2013
I agree with Glen. I would not make the investment unless you were planning on using the space personally for at least a few years. You might find a buyer willing to pay a little more after your investment, but it will not be anywhere near $50K. You need to keep appraisals in mind. Appraisers only appraise what is above grade. If you need any further advice or assistance I will be more than happy to speak with you. You can always reach me at 703-307-3449. Have a great day!

John Ginty
Keller Williams Capital Properties
10300 Eaton Pl, Suite 120
Fairfax, VA 22030
Cell: 703-307-3449
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