Basement in luxury home with white fireplace

Most people pay more attention on the upper levels of the house when they own or when they purchase a new property, however, let’s turn the tables and talk about the basement. In an urban environment like Toronto, with a hot real estate market, the cost of every square foot is rapidly increasing. By finishing your basement, you are providing more “livable space” which can add to the overall value of your home.

Because of the vast amount of information around us, it gets very easy to find inspiration, and even get lost scrolling through Pinterest boards, friends/relatives basement decor or in the pages of a design magazine when you start thinking about renovating your basement. Let’s take a step back and evaluate why you should finish your basement:

  • An excellent source of secondary income – Finish the basement and rent it out. This will bring a consistent inflow of finances which can be used for mortgage or cost of renovation expenses. You can add a separate entrance to increase privacy.
  • An extra bedroom; this is favorable as it would help build home value due to extra livable space. The extra bedroom can be used to host guests or provide a place for kids to crash when they visit after a long school period or semester from university.
  • More recreational space. This can help ease the flow of traffic in other primary living space, and provide a great additional space for gym, movie space, or even kids play time.
  • More wine storage, transform your basement into your very own wine cellar.

What does your basement look like right now?
Take a step back and evaluate your basement as it currently is, this is a great trick used by all project managers as this will entail what is required of you to successful reach your goal at the end of this project. Ask yourself how much head space do you currently have and how much you would need if the basement was to be completed. Most of the old houses were not made with the intention of adding extra livable space, therefore, it might conflict with Ontario’s Building Code which can impact your project timeline if not your project. At this point, it is crucial to consult an expert contractor to determine how to move forward.

Is your basement water tight? This is another important consideration when deciding whether or not to finish your basement. There are many ways you can check for water damage yourself, i.e. check for staining on concrete or the foundation, or read this great article by the Toronto Star, titled: How to find the source of your leaks? Most solutions available focus on the interior of the home, but this is a short term solution as ultimately water will still be getting in, that’s why most specialist advise that it is best to fix the problem on the exterior of the home.

What is your budget? This would probably be the most important research that will have to be conducted. We added this towards the end as the answers for previous questions will greatly impact the accuracy of this question. Once all the details have been finalized, consult a builder or renovator. Part of their job description is to help you determine what a good budget is and/or help you get a realistic expectation within your price range.