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Old 01-23-2018, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Georgia
2,506 posts, read 6,004,582 times
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Hi,
I am looking at a couple of houses - 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 just want to get a very general idea about approximate cost here. Was anyone in the same boat, or ship... dinghy ??? help !!

I just need a general thought process, appreciate your opinions.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Virginia
3,462 posts, read 1,641,512 times
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I can't give you dollar figures from memory, but time factors play a big role as well. When my late H and I bought our first home as a couple (a three story townhome), we elected to finish the lower walkout level ourselves. My H could do pretty much everything himself except the plumbing crimping, and we got my nieces husband to do that (master plumber with the necessary tools). My H built the laundry room first with the adjacent small workshop, then his den. it took a while longer to put in the full bath, due to us both working full time. We finally finished the family room that opened out to the fenced back yard, but it took several years. There are just a lot of other time "thieves" when both of you work and have other household responsibilities, and finishing spaces that are not necessary to everyday life tend to go on the back burner. YMMV, but that was our experience. Overall though, I believe it cost less and was built better and to our needs than the builder would have done. We had a really nice custom bathroom, for instance.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:50 AM
 
Location: annandale, va & slidell, la
6,376 posts, read 2,582,637 times
Reputation: 5372
Quote:
Originally Posted by zulu400 View Post
Hi,
I am looking at a couple of houses - 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 just want to get a very general idea about approximate cost here. Was anyone in the same boat, or ship... dinghy ??? help !!

I just need a general thought process, appreciate your opinions.
Most homeowners delay finishing the basement because of budget. If you can afford to have it done and rolled into the mortgage, then do it and avoid having contractors mess up your lawn and floors later.
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:32 AM
 
Location: Minnesota
1,651 posts, read 596,704 times
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I would just go with the house liked more. If it's the one with the unfinished basement go for that one. Then you can take your time dreaming up exactly what you want to do with it and how you want the floor plan.
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Bloomington IN
5,862 posts, read 7,085,877 times
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What's the current price difference between the 2 houses? That "should be" your answer. Notice I said "should be." Assuming you're looking at these houses with an agent, ask their opinion on the price difference.

That said, I suspect it's going to cost you more to finish a basement than the price difference in 2 identical houses-one with/one without a finished basement.

We've done it both ways. Finished the basement on new construction after we moved in and had the basement finished during construction. It's been enough years ago and enough years between the two houses that any numbers I used would be out of date.
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
11,876 posts, read 45,676,236 times
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If the bedroom and bath in the finished basement are a necessity- the answer is a no-brainer!

If the layout isn't exactly what "you" envision- go with the unfinished and finish it the way you want.

From a cost comparison it would be somewhat hard to say with so little information.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:14 AM
 
5,445 posts, read 4,393,490 times
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My thought is, would you finish the basement yourselves or hire out a contractor to do the work? Something to consider (at least here in Denver) is there is a shortage of contractors to do the work, so they are charging a premium if you can even get them to take the job.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:23 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,837 posts, read 57,830,396 times
Reputation: 29235
Quote:
Originally Posted by zulu400 View Post
...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.
Are you qualified/competent and experienced tradespeople?

Quote:
I just need a general thought process, appreciate your opinions.
If you had the skills needed you wouldn't be asking.

Even if you DO have the skills needed you're still probably be better off by
getting it all doneat one time under one bill under one warranty and one set of inspections...
and then using your skills to earn the money your life costs.

The difference in dollar amount between choices is TRULY the least of it.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,026 posts, read 37,656,456 times
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All other factors being equal (ish)...

If you are procrastinators, have never lived through a remodeling, have small kids or typically find yourselves cash poor, get the one that's already finished.

There's no way for us to ballpark from here the cost differences, because the options are endless.
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Old 01-23-2018, 12:19 PM
 
5,458 posts, read 6,121,819 times
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VERY ball park? $150 or so per square foot. 1100 sq ft of space is a LOT of finished space.....so you are talking $150,000 difference in price.


Depending.


Are we talking hiring a contractor to finish the basement later, or are we talking finishing yourself. If it is the latter, you might save a few dollars, but not much.. and you will deal with it forever trying to save a few dollars.


If you are talking having the builder finish the basement, you might be able to negotiate a lower cost per square foot--but beware that that could also mean lower cost materials.


All things being equal (like money is no object) you are better off getting the space finished at purchase and have the opportunity to enjoy it instead of it being an albatross which hangs over your head for eons.
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