Finishing Your Lower Level to Sell Your Home – Part 2

If you didn’t catch Finishing Your Lower Level to Sell Your Home – Part 1″ย  please click the link to check that out. Along with the new bedroom and bath photos is gives an explanation as to why you may or may not want to finish off your lower level prior to selling.

This post continues to show you the before and after photos of my finished lower level. Besides the added bedroom and bath (on previous post), I was able to add 3 additional living areas. The TV area, the game/eating area, and my favorite…..the cozy fireplace sitting area.

For 20 years this lower level had been a dumping ground to put whatever we didn’t want to deal with at the time (you didn’t see the half of it!) and a place for 1-3 Saint Bernards to come in from the backyard and not have to worry about the mud and dirt.

As with the bedroom and bath, decisions were made on the fact that it is a lower level and will be sold in five years. Luxury Vinyl Planks were put on the floor for durability for us with Saint Bernards but also the the fact it is water proof for a lower level with a sump pump and walk out to a pond.

The flooring was continued throughout the entire space including the bedroom and bath making it one continuous space. The durability and look will be a selling feature as well. The goal was a budget of a lower level but a finished space that doesn’t look like a lower level. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Before and After TV Area (aka my hubby’s area):

 

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Before and After Game/Dining Area (tough to move the big dog; her favorite spot):

 

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The Hearth Area (my spot and personal favorite):

 

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With the cost savings mentioned in the first post due to being my own general contractor, it has been determined that the added bedroom, bath and living areas will increase my selling price at least equal to what we spent; and hopefully it will continue to increase. Plus we get at least five years to enjoy it before we move. Win Win!!

So if you are looking to finish off your lower level to sell your home you need to:

  1. Determine how many years until you sell.
  2. Discuss the added value for the additional square footage with a Realtor that works in your area.
  3. Get bids from all contractors and vendors to determine the total costs.
  4. Research costs on ALL materials such as hardware, paint, trim, faucet, toilet etc. that may not be included in any of the contractor or vendor quotes.

At this point you can begin to make some decisions and move forward if it makes sense. My big caution to you: DO NOT OVER BUILD FOR YOUR AREA AND TIME FRAME. Meaning, there is only so much you can get for your square footage and don’t go all out and with a massive wish list. If you notice, I did not do any built-ins as I was not going to get the return on my investment within the 5 year projected sale date.

It’s a big decision but one we decided to make at this point for us. Be sure to bring in trained and certified professionals to guide you through the process.

 

Finishing Your Lower Level To Sell Your Home – Part 1

This subject is close to my heart because I just went through the process. I also have many clients that wonder about finishing off a lower level or doing a major renovation when pondering an upcoming sale of their home.

Let me first state that it all depends on WHEN you are selling your home. You do not want to complete a lower level or do a major renovation and turn around and sell your home within a year. The chances of you getting your money back are low. There are exceptions to finishing small areas, updating kitchens and such but I am talking a full big renovation or finishing.

Personally we are looking at perhaps selling our home in about five years so we started wondering if it made sense to finish our lower level. This would add a 5th bedroom, a 4th bathroom and three distinct living areas. I did a lot of research and got a lot of bids.

We were starting with only cement floors and the exterior walls insulated. We needed to frame up the rooms, add HVAC, Electrical etc. And purge

 

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Here is what I did….I took on the task of being our own general contractor. I am not a licensed contractor, I became the ‘manager’ of all the trades involved. By doing this I saved more than 50% of the contractor bid prices. THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE AND I AM NOT SAYING CONTRACTORS AREN’T WORTH THEIR WEIGHT IN GOLD. I just found myself with a lot of time on my hands during Covid and made use of it.

I got bids from all trades and made bargain purchases at outlet centers and big box stores.

So….let’s cut to the chase and show you some ‘after’ photos. I am going to start with the bedroom and bath. You have to wait for the next post to see the really cool stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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I made decisions based on the fact I was selling in five years and that it was a lower level. I did not tile the shower, I purchased a prefab vanity and top, the blinds are not special order and so on. I was strict on my finishing budget so that I love it now for my enjoyment, but also kept in mind the return on investment for sale purposes.

Check in for Part 2 to see the finished living areas and we will determine if I can get my money back in five years.

 

Should I Paint My Kitchen Cabinets To Help Sell My Home?

Such a good question and one that I get at least once a week during a Home Staging Consultation. It really is something to take a hard look at. Questions to consider:

  1. How old are the cabinets?
  2. What is the price of my home?
  3. What is the current market?
  4. Is there a lot of competition in my area?
  5. What will be the cost to paint the cabinets?

I did a consultation for a starter level home in a suburb of Minneapolis. The cabinets were original and in pretty good shape but in a medium oak stain which is not what the buyers are looking for. Since this home was a starter level home we know that the buyer may not be coming in and gutting a complete kitchen right away.ย  They want a kitchen they can live with for a while until improvements can be made down the road.

 

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It is a hot market rightย  now and homes in that price range are going fast but you also want to get top dollar.

I had the homeowner get a bid to have the cabinets painted which came in very reasonable. I recommended the painting be done.

 

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Isn’t the difference amazing!! Because the cabinets were being painted they could also take down the decorative bar across the top of the sink that is very dated and add an updated pendant light. The home got a couple other small updates, was staged and the outcome??? The homeowner received an offer the first day with multiply offers coming in and selling for over the list price! Painting the cabinets paid off with a quick sale, did not leave any money on the table and in fact put a little extra in the homeowner’s pocket.

If you are selling your home be sure to get professional advice from a Certified Home Stager.