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The Joys of Basement Development and Increasing Your Calgary Real Estate Value

Posted by Rachel R. Vanderveen on Monday, March 19th, 2012 at 11:18am.

Clint and I are finally developing our basement and I have so many specifications that I want, that Clint is getting lost with all of my demands kind requests. When he asks why the basement has to be just “so,” I tell him it’s because I’m a real estate agent, and I see bad basements all the time. A bad basement can ruin the flow of a great home; instead of an asset, a bad basement can quickly become a liability. When I thought of all the things I’ve seen in viewing thousands of homes over the years, and how I’ve shaped my ideas of what a good basement looks like, I thought these are things I should share with my friends!

Light It Up

The very best-looking basement is quickly spoiled with bad lighting. The goal with any basement is to make it seamlessly flow with the rest of the house, and make the visitor feel as if they are on one of the upper floors of the home. The best way to do this is with tons of lighting. The plan I just drew for Clint has more than 16 pots, pucks and fixtures in the great room alone. I separated them into two zones so that the wet bar area has its own switches and the theatre area has its own switches. Then from there, each zone has two stages of lighting, meaning you can turn on half of the lights or all of the lights with two separate switches. Now I realize that this is all very ambitious and my husband is handy and able to pull wire, so it’s not always possible for everyone to have this much light and lighting options, but just do your best to make sure every corner of your basement is well-lit.

Electrical Rough-Ins

If you’re the one finishing the basement, make sure you allow for as many possibilities of electricity as possible. Don’t skimp on plugs. You can never have too many of them. Make sure you remember to wire in your multi-media so you won’t have cords running around the floor to hit your TV. We also have cameras in our home which we can access through our iPhones; we made sure to rough those in as well. Beside my wet bar is an exercise area where I have roughed a TV jack and power to sit on the wall right in front of my treadmill, but I recognize that the area could also be used as a small dining area, so I asked Clint to rough some wire for a future chandelier should we or future inhabitants choose to put a table there.

The Bathroom Dilemma

If you’re putting a bedroom and a bathroom in your basement, ensuite it. Everytime. Ensuited bathrooms have more perceived value than stand-alone bathrooms. If you’re not putting a bedroom in your basement, it can be wise to add a bathroom. Take stock of the rest of your home. If you only have one other bathroom, you absolutely should add another one. Then, when you’re deciding how many pieces to add, again, take stock. If you only have one other shower, you should add another one. If you have two other showers, adding a third in the basement---when there is not another bedroom---is probably a good idea.

Colour Flow

Your basement colours don’t have to be identical to the rest of your house, but they should certainly be in the same family of colours. It’s jarring to have one colour-scheme above grade, and a totally different one below grade. If you’re thinking of making a Calgary Flames themed basement, (I’ve seen more than I want to remember) think again. Keep your basement neutral and calm, unless you plan to totally redo it when you go to sell. Billiards in the basement is fine, but don’t paint the whole place forest green and forget that it is to be a warm family area as well. If there isn’t enough room to comfortably play pool, than you shouldn’t put a table down there at all.

Hopefully that gives you some good ideas. I’ve been walking through finished basements for years, and I’ve seen everything from the really great, to the not so great. Your space should suit you, but remember, at some point, everybody needs to list!

Rachel Vanderveen

The Vanderveen Team
Maxwell South Star Realty
Phone: 403.253.5678 Fax: 403.592.6736

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