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Old 01-22-2018, 08:33 PM
 
Location: Georgia
2,506 posts, read 6,004,582 times
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Hi,
I am looking at a couple of houses (North Fulton) - and the debate in our family is whether to buy a unfinished basement and finish it ourselves OR get the one with the finished swanky basement.

Exhibit (A) - Unfinished basement - Stubbed for bath, around 1000 sq ft.

Exhibit (B) - Finished basement - 1 bedroom, 1 full bath, media room, bar, storage closets. 1100 sq ft.

I know its hard to be specific, but assuming all things above ground are the same.... what would be a ballpark $$ difference between (A) and (B) ? We moved here from out of state and want to get a very general idea about local cost here. Was anyone in the same boat, or ship... dinghy ??? help !!
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
1,956 posts, read 1,995,179 times
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Get the finished basement. An unfinished basement can have issues that do not appear. Problems with humidity, flooding, poor (or non-existent) insulation.

Finishing a basement takes a lot of time if it just you doing the work. None of that stuff is particularly easy if you aren't an experienced contractor. Even if you pay a professional, there is the cost and nuisance of having it done, plus the chance that they screw something up.

With an already finished basement, you can see what you're getting ahead of time.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:13 AM
 
1,947 posts, read 1,637,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarzanman View Post
Get the finished basement. An unfinished basement can have issues that do not appear. Problems with humidity, flooding, poor (or non-existent) insulation.

Finishing a basement takes a lot of time if it just you doing the work. None of that stuff is particularly easy if you aren't an experienced contractor. Even if you pay a professional, there is the cost and nuisance of having it done, plus the chance that they screw something up.

With an already finished basement, you can see what you're getting ahead of time.
Generally speaking—
*If* you like how the basement was done, can confirm it is *dry*, and done well, and if you are getting a finished basement anyway, I would tend to agree with Tarzanman. In a previous home we had a builder finish our basement for a reasonable price, but probably still did not get our money out of it when we sold (we sold at the very beginning of the recovery). Not sure if that totally translates in a hot market (remember, labor is more expensive now, too), but, unless insanely priced, you will probably spend more finishing the basement yourself—plus you have the hassle, safety, and liability issues of having strangers working around your home.

Without really seeing the house and knowing the prices and quality, it is pretty impossible to know if you are paying too much. If you have a good realtor and inspector, they should be able to tell you. But, choosing between a reasonably priced house with a nicely finished basement, and a reasonably priced house in which you will be finishing the basement anyway—I would go with the former.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Formerly Pleasanton Ca, now in Marietta Ga
4,109 posts, read 3,400,520 times
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I just closed on my house in Marietta and in the top 3 of priorities was a finished basement in law unit. After shopping around it seems like houses that were already done didn't command much more than one that was unfinished, so I think if you Finnish it yourself you won't get your money back out of it if you sold it right away.
Finnish basements were very common so it was almost a standard at my price point.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Downtown Marietta
1,062 posts, read 688,779 times
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Do you need the finished space in the basement, or is it more of a "nice to have down the road sometime?" If the further, all other things being equal, I would buy the house with the finished basement, as you can roll the additional cost into the mortgage, rather than having to come up with cash or getting a home equity loan (probably at a higher interest rate) down the line. If you don't need the space, though, I think buying the house with the unfinished basement and living with the house for a while might be a good idea. It might turn out that you find you like the house just fine without the finished basement.

We had a similar dilemma when building our house. The builder had just finished initial framing when we first encountered it, so we had all kinds of options. It's a four-story house (small footprint for each floor, so the house is tall), including the basement, and the builder's plan was to finish the fourth floor (attic) and leave the basement unfinished. Interested in saving a bit of money, we asked the builder how much we could save by not finishing the attic. At the end of the day, the savings was not huge, as they were going to put in a regular staircase, stub it for a bath and run electrical anyways, and ultimately we decided we needed and wanted the space in the attic finished, but had no need to finish the basement. That has worked out well for us, as the attic space is incredibly cozy and makes a great guest suite. Eventually we may do something with the basement, but for now it's simply great storage.
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Old 01-23-2018, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
2 posts, read 996 times
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If you have a large family finished basement is the way to go...
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Old 01-23-2018, 08:19 AM
 
2,069 posts, read 1,997,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarzanman View Post
Get the finished basement. An unfinished basement can have issues that do not appear. Problems with humidity, flooding, poor (or non-existent) insulation.

Finishing a basement takes a lot of time if it just you doing the work. None of that stuff is particularly easy if you aren't an experienced contractor. Even if you pay a professional, there is the cost and nuisance of having it done, plus the chance that they screw something up.

With an already finished basement, you can see what you're getting ahead of time.
To play devils advocate: A finished basement can have all those issues as well. There is no shortage of people who bought houses of finished basements to later find out they had moisture or insulation issues. Just because it's done, doesn't mean it's done well.
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Duluth, GA
1,132 posts, read 878,978 times
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Following this thread, as I'm in the same boat. The house we bought this past year has an unfinished basement. We're currently dreaming on, someday, having it finished. Our brilliant idea is that a finished basement can add to "livable space" that'll pad the value of our home should we decide to sell. Little realities, though, are creeping in that may negate any ROI.
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:40 AM
 
1,947 posts, read 1,637,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJDeadParrot View Post
Following this thread, as I'm in the same boat. The house we bought this past year has an unfinished basement. We're currently dreaming on, someday, having it finished. Our brilliant idea is that a finished basement can add to "livable space" that'll pad the value of our home should we decide to sell. Little realities, though, are creeping in that may negate any ROI.
Financially, they probably are not a net positive, unless they keep you from moving from your current home. I would guess that the return on investment is between 25%-75% on finished basements that are not done at the same time as the rest of the construction, and that is assuming they are done right.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Georgia
2,506 posts, read 6,004,582 times
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Thanks for your responses, they are very helpful.

We are also leaning towards the finished basement, and we feel it should atleast be around $25-30k worth of work to convert a unfinished basement into a finished one. I can do minor stuff but not like electric / plumbing etc.
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