If you have been thinking about transforming your basement into a functional space that not only makes the most out of it but also brings you some additional income into your household, then a basement apartment may just be the right fit for you.
Countless homeowners search for basement apartment ideas that give them the best return on their money. While this may involve extensive costly renovations, converting your basement into a basement apartment is well worth the investment, especially when you consider that you can make your money back within the first year of renting out your basement.
Building a Legal Basement Apartment
The first question for homeowners to ask when considering adding a basement apartment to their home is whether these types of apartments are legal in their area. The answer to this question can be found by simply asking your city if basement apartments are legal.
It’s not enough to live in an area where basement apartments are legal, though. Depending on where you live, you may be permitted to remodel your basement or other areas in your home without having to seek approval from your municipality.
However, zoning laws and regulations that determine things like the number of tenants permitted to reside in an apartment and parking requirement for residents, are quite common in many areas and must be complied with.
If you live in an area where basement apartments for rent are not permitted, you can still have a basement apartment to house guests when they visit you and your family.
How Much Does it Cost to Convert a Basement into an Apartment?
Your budget is a major determining factor when it comes to knowing what you can do with your basement space. Having an understanding of the average cost to build an apartment in your basement is important. This way, you can assess whether the benefits are worth your investment.
How much renovating your basement will cost will depends on the current state of your basement.
If it is already a finished basement, you will spend significantly less than if you are beginning with an unfinished basement. Most homeowners spend between $10,000 – $28,000 to remodel their basements, according to HomeAdvisor.
However, if you are converting an unfinished basement to an apartment, the costs are higher and can run anywhere from $50,000 – $75,000.
Basement Apartment Designs
The type of design you choose for your apartment can influence how much you can charge a tenant to rent your basement. The more rooms (and walls diving the various rooms), the more you can ask for in rent. This does not mean you should create as many rooms as possible for the sake of increased value of the space. Keep in mind that the basement apartment design you choose must complement your space. That is, consider the square footage of your basement area in determining whether a one- or two-bedroom floor plan is best.
Some homeowners may find themselves second-guessing their decision to turn their basement into an apartment, thinking their basement area is too small. If you are working with a small area, you may need to find creative ways to maximize your space so as to avoid a cluttered basement, but you can still achieve your goal. Explore small basement apartment design ideas to see what possibilities are out there.
Your basement apartment should include the following rooms:
- Living room
- Full bathroom
- Bedroom with closet
- Dining area
Things to Remember When Creating a Basement Apartment
When considering the layout and floor plan for a basement apartment, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Incorporate a Separate Entrance to The Apartment
This is important for a number of reasons. You want your tenant to have as much convenience and privacy as possible. Having a separate entrance not only provides both but also serves as a safety measure in case of a fire.
Install a Separate Heating/Cooling System for The Basement.
Doing this will help you separate the utility bills or shut them off if the basement is not being rented out for a time. It also gives your tenant the ability to adjust the room temperature in the basement to suit their comfort level.
Make Sure the Basement Walls Are Properly Insulated
If you are starting off with an unfinished basement, you will need to ensure that your apartment is in compliance with building codes regulating insulation, flooring and waterproofing.
Flooring Options for Basement Apartments
Since basement floors are known for being cold, one good way of keeping the floors warm is by carpeting the floor. This will also make the room look and feel cozier. If you don’t feel like installing carpets, though, a great basement flooring option is laminate. Laminate floors are wonderful for basements because they have wood-like designs that make them look luxurious. But unlike hardwood, laminate will not expand nor warp and is a lot more durable.
For basement kitchens and basement bathrooms, you want to install a flooring material that’s fully waterproof. Ceramic or porcelain tiles are a go-to for this purpose.