Buying a single-family home with a finished basement is one way to get more living space without having to pay too much extra. Homes with finished basements may be priced similarly to those in the neighborhood with unfinished spaces. However, not all basements are created equal. Be sure to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each basement setup before you make a decision to buy. Here are a few things to think about as you start looking at homes.
Some basements simply have one narrow staircase that leads downstairs. This can make using the space as a spare bedroom or guest suite a potentially bad idea. Having just one exit can be dangerous in the event of a fire or flood. Instead, consider looking for a home that has a walkout basement. These homes feature backyards that are graded to include a separate exterior door. A walkout basement can also provide more natural light, leaving your living space looking bright and inviting.
Current Floor Plan
The benefits of an already finished basement greatly depend on the existing floor plan. If you don't host a lot of parties or gatherings, a basement bar probably won't get a lot of use. Some basements are simply open spaces with carpeting and finished walls that you can use to your liking, while others have a series of spare rooms that can be used in a number of ways. Be sure to think about how your family might use the basement before you decide to buy a home with a fully finished basement.
Even in areas that don't experience a lot of flooding, basement floods are a potential hazard for homeowners. Having a finished basement with carpeting can be a liability, depending on where the home is located. If it is situated in a flood-prone area, you may have to replace the carpet at least once. Consider a basement with tile floors instead. Tile can withstand flood waters better than carpet in some cases, though it's important to remember that tile is not waterproof.
Windows are an important consideration for a number of reasons, so be sure to inspect them when you are looking for single-family homes for sale. They bring direct sunlight into the basement, and they can also make the basement seem a bit less claustrophobic. If the home has glass block windows, consider how you might escape the basement in the event of a fire or flood. Glass block windows don't provide an easy exit from the basement. The best finished basement will have larger windows and a properly graded yard. This brings natural light into the space and provides an added sense of safety by giving you windows that can be opened in an emergency.
To learn more about single-family homes, contact a real estate agent near you.