By Dill Ward, March 12, 2021
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.