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Old 07-30-2014, 07:56 PM
 
8 posts, read 19,804 times
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Hi everyone, a quick question -

As I look at homes in the Denver suburbs (like Centennial, Aurora, etc.), I see that a lot of these homes are listed with a massive amount of square footage - like, 5,000+ sq. ft. - but a third of it is "unfinished basement." So I like the idea of a finished basement, not so much an unfinished one... but how much would that project cost me? Any of you who have done this at your homes, care to share what improvements you did and how much the project cost you? I'm trying to figure out if it's realistic for us within 2-3 years of moving into a home.

Thanks!
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:11 PM
 
Location: The North
4,962 posts, read 8,675,201 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_the_Nomad View Post
Hi everyone, a quick question -

As I look at homes in the Denver suburbs (like Centennial, Aurora, etc.), I see that a lot of these homes are listed with a massive amount of square footage - like, 5,000+ sq. ft. - but a third of it is "unfinished basement." So I like the idea of a finished basement, not so much an unfinished one... but how much would that project cost me? Any of you who have done this at your homes, care to share what improvements you did and how much the project cost you? I'm trying to figure out if it's realistic for us within 2-3 years of moving into a home.

Thanks!
A basic finish usually runs about $30-40 per sq ft although layout matters. Flooring can make the cost go up a lot too. Also will run into some logistical issues at times so just be patient and prepared to sometimes drop more money into doing things like diverting electric and plumbing which can add to the budget.
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
6,150 posts, read 9,436,212 times
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We had our basement finished about 5 months after our house was built. We finished roughly 650 square feet on the cheap for around $20k. We got a bedroom, a full bathroom, and a rec room with drywall built-ins. We saved money by running the surround sound and cable wiring and painting the walls, doors, and trim ourselves. We got lucky that the contractor was really flexible with us. Unfortunately the company who did our basement is no longer in business.
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:26 PM
 
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Anything home construction related is inflated greatly at the moment due to the amount of work available to a limited # of contractors. However you do it, its going to be expensive. Better off buying something already finished unless you are very handy. Just my $0.02.
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:32 PM
 
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Much depends upon what you are starting with for condition/layout of utilities to the levels above, and the design of the floor/slab of the basement.

If you have a floating slab, especially over bentonite soil, you will need to have the basement interior walls suspended from the overhead structure and the flooring/baseboards not attached to the walls. This is to allow the floor to move up and down. The flooring finish or coverings (carpet, tile, etc) will need to be compatible with the moisture migration into the basement; ie, you might not want to have a glued down tile floor if moisture will attack the adhesive, nor a carpet floor if it and the padding will get moisture that encourages mold/mildew growth. Testing for moisture and mitigating it's effects can be expensive, but necessary to do a proper finishing job sub-grade.

You need to pay attention if the basement was placed with future finishing in mind. For example, if you plan a bathroom, is the plumbing already roughed in? Is there a code compliant emergency egress for a bedroom use? If not, you may be looking at an expensive project to install one with a safe egress area to outside the house.

I've spent as little as $30 psf to finish a basement with two bedrooms, bathroom, and a rec room; I did all the work myself so that was just the materials cost. Another house took over $70 psf for materials to finish two bedrooms, a bathroom, rec room, laundry room, and a sealed zero clearance wood burning fireplace in the rec room with an outside combustion air intake (so it used no air from inside the house to have the fire burning, yet heated the room).
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:38 PM
 
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Wow, thanks everyone, this is really good information! So it sounds like for a 1500-1600 ft. unfinished basement (which is what I'm seeing on some of these houses), that's a minimum of a $50k project, maybe up to $100k depending on the details? Ouch! That's not happening. And I am not at all handy, so I'd have to write a check for everything.

Is this the sort of project that can be financed, or is it all cash out of pocket? I'm really bummed... our favorite house so far has a massive unfinished basement, and my 7 year-old is already scheming up what she wants to do with it. I don't want to disappoint her, but given that we don't have a massive sum of cash, it's looking bleak...
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:05 AM
 
220 posts, read 659,501 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_the_Nomad View Post
Is this the sort of project that can be financed, or is it all cash out of pocket? I'm really bummed... our favorite house so far has a massive unfinished basement, and my 7 year-old is already scheming up what she wants to do with it. I don't want to disappoint her, but given that we don't have a massive sum of cash, it's looking bleak...
Unfinished basements are great for kids to play in. Especially in the winter months. Roller skating, bowling, indoor play pen, archery, bicycling, etc. Use your imagination. Besides you can always finish it later.
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:32 AM
 
Location: Texas
3,693 posts, read 2,835,177 times
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We have a large unfinished basement as well, about 1,500 sq. We've thought about finishing it, and last year, my husband sold a classic car that would have given us the cash to do so. Instead, I opened my big mouth and suggested we use it as a down payment on a place in the mountains....

One of the main reasons we have held off is that many neighbors of ours have suggested that our kids (who are almost 7 and 4) are too young and probably won't end up using it until they are older. Many people said that young kids *say* they want, and will use, a basement, but often times, don't.

Don't know if there is any truth to that. I grew up in Texas and we didn't have basements.
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:50 AM
 
Location: USA
7,778 posts, read 9,605,701 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_the_Nomad View Post
Wow, thanks everyone, this is really good information! So it sounds like for a 1500-1600 ft. unfinished basement (which is what I'm seeing on some of these houses), that's a minimum of a $50k project, maybe up to $100k depending on the details? Ouch! That's not happening. And I am not at all handy, so I'd have to write a check for everything.

Is this the sort of project that can be financed, or is it all cash out of pocket? I'm really bummed... our favorite house so far has a massive unfinished basement, and my 7 year-old is already scheming up what she wants to do with it. I don't want to disappoint her, but given that we don't have a massive sum of cash, it's looking bleak...
How about getting an estimate from a local contractor? It may be much more reasonable than forum information.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:36 AM
 
8 posts, read 19,804 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubi3 View Post
How about getting an estimate from a local contractor? It may be much more reasonable than forum information.
Fair point. But we don't live there yet. We're planning a move from California, and before we pick a house, we'd like to know what we're in for with the basement project. After some of these posts, homes with already-finished basements are looking a lot more attractive. So yes, forum information has been useful. :-)
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