Basement Conversion: Is It Really Necessary?


Whether it’s because we have accumulated more material things or extended our families, it’s nice to have a bit more space in our homes. Converting or extending a cellar or a basement is the most practical thing to do for most homeowners. It doesn’t require government permits, and it doesn’t alter the exterior of your home. Also, it is more cost-effective than building a loft or an attic.

There are two ways to convert a basement. The first one is to carve out a new basement, which requires you to install a steel spiral staircase or turn an existing basement or cellar into a new living space. The second one is a more cost-effective option. It involves a little renovation, remodeling, and interior design.

How Much Does It Cost to Renovate a Basement?

But how much does it cost to build an underground living space? Constructing a brand-new basement will cost around $2,500 to $3,000 per square meter for a shell space. That includes only the actual structure of the basement. That cost does not include interior design and fixtures. You might want to rethink your option if you don’t have an existing basement or cellar in your home.

The most viable option is to renovate and remodel an existing cellar or basement. Depending on the state of the basement, that will cost only around $940 to $1,500 per square meter. That cost includes the need for mover services, underpinning, and increasing the ceiling height.

Bear in mind that the cost mentioned above does not include professional fees. Those are usually 10% to 15% of the total cost of the project. It doesn’t feel too good now to renovate your basement, huh? But it really depends on how you’re going to use it. If you are going to convert it into an extra bedroom and have it rented out, you can recover the expenses in a few months.

What Are Your Plans?

House plans with calculator for costing estimate

But if you’re turning it into a home gym, the high cost of renovation might not be worth it. You should do some of the work yourself or forego plans to lower the flooring and raise the ceiling. That’s one of the most expensive factors that affect the renovation cost.

Remember that if you are going to have the space rented out, you’ll need to have a separate entrance door for the basement. That means applying for the necessary permits to renovate your basement. You’ll have to pay a one-time fee to the local government. Of course, if you live in an area with a homeowners’ association, you have to inform the other members, too.

Does It Add Value to the Property?

If you have plans of selling the house in the future, ask a real estate agent now about how much you can add to the price of your house with a renovated basement. In areas where space is very limited, an additional room underground will be of high value. Of course, a loft extension will probably cost the same, so you should choose smartly which fits your property more.

Space is a rare commodity these days. Even in suburban areas with large chunks of land, space is a depleting resource that people have taken for granted. If you’re out looking for a new house, consider the amount of space you’re going to get before making an offer.

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