When Can Finishing A Basement HURT Your Home Value?

Posted on May 27, 2014 | in Thoughts | by

Finishing your basement will increase the value of your home, right? Not if you don’t do it right.



With the housing market on the road to recovery, a lot of homeowners are looking to see how they can leap-frog the competition and get their houses back to full market value as quickly as possible. Finishing any available basement space is a smart way to do just that.

Just think about it – creating a basement apartment, or just extra livable space in a basement, can easily add hundreds of square feet to a home’s footprint; and offer great options for second bedrooms, home offices or media rooms.

But if a renovation isn’t done right, it can actually hurt the value of your home.

How? Because if your basement renovation doesn’t meet building code, buyers will generally deduct the price of fixing your mistake from your asking price.

So what does it take to make sure that doesn’t happen?

First and foremost, you need to examine current building code to make sure your basement renovation plans meet the standards. Chief amongst those is that your basement has a ‘means of egress’.

A means of egress is an escape route – an easily-accessible exit in the event of a fire or other emergency. It’s standard building code that all basement dwelling space needs to have a basement window or other exit installed to offer a means of escape if the stairs end up blocked or destroyed.

A standard egress window option is to install a ‘window well’ on the outside of your home – this is a molded pit which sinks down far enough to allow an external-facing window to be installed in the basement wall. In addition to letting natural light and air in (never a bad thing) an egress basement window can be opened wide enough for somebody to climb out of it – and then out of the basement window well by means of a ladder or molded steps.

There’s no way to sugar-coat it – installing a basement window well and egress window is a process. In addition to digging a hole, filling with pea-fill and cutting a hole in the wall of your basement, a lot of time and consideration has got to go into drainage, positioning and other factors that make sure your basement egress window performs as it should; and meets code.



But in terms of home renovations, the benefit is that installing an egress basement window is one of the few investments almost guaranteed to pay off. The initial time and investment will be repaid many times over by the quality of living space, and the improvement to a home’s value.

And, should the worst happen, installing a basement egress window can offer a benefit that no price tag can be attached to. It could save somebody’s life.

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About Me

Hi, I'm Jeff. I will be using this space to share my thoughts and opinions that I have accumulated over many years in the building industry. My hope is to also teach and inspire.

This will also be a location for important industry news and product information. Featured items and sales can also be found here. Subscribe, or check back often to keep up to date on what is happening in the world of Egress Windows.

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Jeff Ommundsen
(229) 234-7377
President of Shop Egress Windows, Inc.