3 Tips When Considering Turning a Basement Into an In-law Suite or Apartment
One of the surest ways to add value to your home is to invest in a basement finish. Houses with unfinished basements sell for far less than they might have done with the help of added basement living space.
Basement projects can be involved and expensive; however, the added value and functionality make it a worthwhile consideration. With proper design and construction, your basement can become the equivalent of a whole new suite or apartment, which is particularly convenient when entertaining guests or housing family members.
Before you can convert your basement into an apartment you will need to talk to a contractor and make clear plans.Think about the following three factors when considering the conversion of your basement into an apartment:
1. Legal Obligations
The first question to ask is, “Am I legally allowed to rent my basement out to others?” If the answer is yes, you must then ask, “What are the building requirements?” Building codes and laws might be different when creating a rental unit versus simply adding to your own living space. Another aspect to research, if adding a basement kitchen is part of your plan, is whether or not the governing municipality allows the addition of a full kitchen (with stove, oven, etc.) in a basement. Make these important determinations before starting your project, knowing that if building codes are not strictly followed, you may have issues selling your home down the road.
Check with your municipality to see which type of permit is required.
2. Building Costs
Ensure the success of your project by finding and engaging a reliable and honest contractor. In your search, ask potential candidates about construction issues relating to these areas:
- Location of plumbing lines
- Integration of HVAC system
- Closets and cabinets
- Insulation requirements and options
- Trash disposal and jobsite management
You do not want to be caught off guard by an unexpected expense. Determine beforehand how to best allocate your budget.
3. Your Role in the Project
Since this is your basement, be actively involved in decision making. Communicate regularly with your contractor. Ask questions, research options, remain aware of costs, and enjoy the trip to a brand new basement!