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How To Convert Your Basement into an Apartment

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Overview

When you convert your basement into an apartment or rental unit, it becomes a great way to earn extra income. Almost within the first year, homeowners earn back their investment. You should consider turning it into something useful and profitable if you rarely use your basement.


These are all the aspects you should consider while converting the basement into an apartment.

Consideration while Designing a Basement Apartment

Is it permitted? First, ensure that you can covert an apartment in the basement legally. You're not restricted by some municipalities to what you do with your property, by certain zoning laws and regulations others will require you to abide. The number of tenants allowed to hold apartments, parking requirements, and fire escape plans for residents comes in common zoning codes. To see whether any zoning laws can affect your plans to create a basement apartment or not, you should check your city. You should know upfront so you can avoid that would consume in a change later in the process. If basement apartment rentals are not permitted in the city, a basement conversion for personal use can be considered, such as building an in-law suite. Determine the cost for the conversion of the basement into an apartment.


Setting the Budget Setting a budget is an important initial step when you're creating a basement apartment. When you budget the project, it helps in establishing the time that will be taken to start earning a return on your investment. Also, you will come to know whether the costs will outweigh the benefits or not. For most homeowners, spending $10,000 – $28,000 is the average national cost of remodeling a basement, according to HomeAdvisor. However, the cost of the full conversion of an unfinished basement into a rentable unit can be much more. The average cost for converting a basement into an apartment when adding a full bathroom and kitchen is $50,000 – $75,000. If you already have a finished basement, much less is expected to spend than if you were starting from scratch. You should consider making upgrades to increase your rental value.

Designing Your Basement Apartment

If you are looking to create a traditional apartment or a studio, the open floor plan of a studio apartment can save your time on building new walls while a traditional floor plan charges a higher price for the rental. Determine if a one or two-bedroom floor plan will work best by analyzing the square footage of your basement. It’s time to create a floor plan that will serve as the foundation of your renovation after settling on a general layout for your basement apartment.


Necessary Rooms for Your Basement Apartment • Living room • Kitchen • Full bathroom • Bedroom • Dining area • Closet and storage space To carry out the appropriate plumbing, insulation, and electrical work, you should consult with a contractor or another professional to help.

Begin Your Basement Conversion Project

The main steps that are required to convert a basement into an apartment are as follows: • Firstly, an exclusive exterior entrance to the unit should be installed. You should make sure that your basement apartment plans include an outside entrance separate from the house for legal reasons, fire safety and your renters’ convenience. • Defined living spaces and a functional layout should be created. Instead of a more traditional layout, if you’re planning to build a studio apartment, creating defined rooms won’t be necessary. • Heating and cooling with an independent system should be enabled. It is easy to split the bills or turn them off if you’re separating your new basement apartment’s utilities from the main house if space goes unoccupied for a long period. • Necessary electrical and plumbing systems should be installed. Electricity and proper plumbing will be needed by your renters, and the same point of easily splitting utility bills applies here as well. • The walls, floors, and ceilings if working with an unfinished basement, should be insulated and finished. You should make sure that your basement apartment is up to code with proper waterproofing, flooring, and insulation.


Additional Considerations

• Considerations while Flooring An unfinished basement usually has dirty and cold flooring. Typically, the best way to create a cozy, tolerable space is carpet. Keep in mind that you'll want to opt for engineered hardwood instead of solid hardwood for hardwood flooring installations below ground level. Many basements are prone to engineered wood that is much more resistant to temperature and humidity swings. • Important Amenities to Install There are useful amenities that need to be installed to create a completely livable basement apartment. A designated laundry room would be beneficial other than essentials such as a kitchen, bathroom, and living room, even if it's simply a stacked unit in closet space. Besides a refrigerator and stovetop in the kitchen, a built-in microwave would also be a bonus. • To Furnish or Not to Furnish It certainly is valuable while listing a fully furnished apartment. If you plan to use the space as an Airbnb, renting a fully furnished unit is important. If you are planning on using it as an apartment and want your monthly rent numbers, a boost in renting out the basement as a furnished unit can help you. However, you will need to be mindful that a few scratches and dents might incur on your furniture.

Rent Out Your Basement Apartment

Now it's time to start looking for tenants that have a beautiful new rental unit. To show off just how much hard work has been put into designing the basement apartment you should take photos of your finished space with a professional camera. Upload them to a listing website along with a unique description and the rental price once you have photographs.


These are a few recommended rental sites: • Airbnb • Zillow Rental Manager • Cozy • Apartment Finder • Apartment Home Living

That’s it!

After following the above steps you can feel confident in your newly converted basement apartment and now it’s ready for your hard work to pay off with additional income from your rental space.

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