Blog Stories Is it Finished?

Is it Finished?

By Dill Ward, March 12, 2021

Chill-Space, meditation room, speak-easy, surprise guest quarters, or hobby storage; if you’ve looked in some of Portland’s basements you’d agree that homeowners are quite versatile at creating ways to make the most of these spaces. When touring homes we’re often presented the question, “Is the basement finished?” Surprisingly, this is a complicated question which also may apply to attic space. The finished nature of living space exists in three stages: unfinished, partially finished, finished. Each of these phases have some subjectivity, but there are some recurring topics to reference when determining “How finished is this basement?”


When deciding if a basement is finished is whether heat or cooling is present, and how well it will stay. If the area is conditioned, it’s a step toward finished, but an equally important assessment of insulation can be a quick tell of how finished a basement is.


So you know for sure that the walls are insulated, because you can see exposed insulation … that basement is not yet finished, textured and painted drywall or paneling are a better look for wall coverings. Check for leveled ceiling finishes, Looking at whether the floors are just really clean or if they’ve got appropriate flooring and necessary barriers and moisture control for the area. Sometimes we’ll see industrial feeling concrete walls with painted surfaces, and though that can feel finished a painted concrete barrier might not be sufficient for as many home buyers as leveled drywall and trim.


Extension cords, ceiling outlets, visible conduit tubes, are not the most ideal or normalized supplies for someone looking to create an entertainment room, or perhaps establish an extra bedroom or office. Lighting also falls into this category; are there fixtures and switches or does your basement require sonar, night-vision, or steel-toe boots? If your basement’s electrical setup is noticeably different from the main living space, you might be only partially finished.


If you’re going to call a basement room with a closet a bedroom, you got to make sure that the window is properly sized and positioned to be legitimately considered a bedroom. If getting into your guest suite requires crawling through a screwed-in-place panel, then you’re not looking too finished no matter what amazing feats you’ve accomplished to get your basement feeling ready to entertain. Similarly, tall people know how unfinished a living space is when they’re hunched over rubbing their foreheads after finding the lowest spot in a basement. If getting into your basement or attic requires an unavoidable dance with danger, you’re probably not yet finished.

These four aspects are crucial to getting my “it is finished” vote. As far as the subjectivity of the finishes scale goes, selling a more complete basement always appeals to more buyers than selling a partially finished space. Partially finished basements have a great deal of appeal, but will narrow your prospective buyers when you sell your home.

What features of a finished basement/attic give you a sense of completion?


Dill Ward

Principal Broker | OR


I'm a strategist at heart. Once we've got a clear vision on your goals I love drawing the road map how to get there. I'm a natural problem solver and resiliency is my superpower. I get excited by nudging you to see the bigger picture of your goals when the process can drag you down into the moment. I've been called by my clients as, "contagiously enthusiastic". Selling a home or taking the leap to buy is an exciting transition which can create other shifts and opportunities for you to take control of the direction of your life and discover the next version of yourself.


Negotiating was a skill I honed early in life, whether it was persuading for a later bedtime, or heading down to South Florida flea markets where my parents would encourage me to, "work a deal" on a comic book or a kitchen gadget. Even back then, I loved the thrill of asking for what I want.


For those of you who geek out about self development and personality tests, my "Strengths Finder" results are: Positivity, Strategic, Activator, Learner, and Ideation.

I LOVE PORTLAND! (and welcoming new people)

I relocated to Portland from Florida in 2010, and am grateful to have built an incredible life here in this weird city. It's always an honor to be a welcoming face and a warm smile to others arriving and looking for home.


Wait, is that a thing? I'm always thinking about real estate. I love wheeling and dealing! Before I was a REALTOR®, I started the journey as an investor. Fun fact: I helped an investment group flip over 100 properties my first 2 years in industry! I've had a rental portfolio for over 10 years and dabble in all areas of the industry. My speciality is the concierge level service we can deliver when someone wants to sell and let us take the wheel. My team and I love to work as project managers and orchestrate the 50 different vendors & contractors to make miracles happen in short amounts of time.


• My husband & biz-partner Nicholas. (He's a High Performance Coach & REALTOR® -- dreamy combo!), and our young daughter Nori. • Building Community! Check out Women who Own it, a monthly meetup community for women homeowners. • Offering networking opportunities, encouragement, and business coaching for women in business at Women with Moxie. • Spreading motivation and inspiration in the world through public speaking and event emceeing. • Finding ways to make people smile. Enough about me -- if you are still reading this far, i'm dying to know about you! Use my easy online scheduler and let's book a meeting! Buy, sell, just a get-to-know each other to possibly collaborate on some amazing project? Easy breezy!


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