People don’t always spend a generous amount of time in their basement and therefore, it often doesn’t get furnished and doesn't get the attention it deserves. This often carries through when owners are getting ready to sell their home. Research shows us that kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms are main areas of interest to buyers, so when we are selling we focus on making these rooms look great. But, let’s not forget that a simple basement makeover can also help you earn top dollar for your home. It adds that extra living space that home buyers are looking for and gives a feeling that the home is complete. Here are some ways to achieve a more livable and sellable basement.
Before you do anything else, you must clear out your basement. Basements often become a dumping ground for Christmas ornaments, old furniture and out grown toys. It is common for many homes to have a second fridge in the basement—frequently mostly empty. These fridges are huge energy wasters and do not add to the feel of room. If you have a bar area, consider a mini-fridge instead.
It’s time to get rid of these unused items and store those that are used neatly. Today’s buyer is looking for space. If you are showing a home with a basement that is crowded to the rafters with stuff, potential buyers question whether or not there is enough room for their belongings. An attractive and functional storage area allows the buyer to see the potential for storage and makes it easier for them to see the real value in the space.
Maybe you have too much furniture upstairs and you would like to clear some of it out for a cleaner, neater look. Why not find pieces to put in the basement. You can do the same with choice pieces of artwork, as well. Sometimes you can create a great room just by rearranging and repurposing pieces that you already own.
Touching up old furniture can be an affordable way to add to your basement as well. A new coat of paint on that old table may be just what it needs to look new and modern.
Paint is always an inexpensive, easy way to make a room look updated. Use neutral colors when painting furniture or walls. You want the potential buyer’s to focus on the features of the room, not the furniture in it. They may have a different style than you, and you want them to be able to imagine their things in your house. Tear down that old paneling and paint a nice neutral color or add a fresh coat of paint to wainscoting. You won’t believe the difference!
Basements tend to have lighting issues so be sure that any windows are unobstructed. Clean these windows inside and out and use minimal window treatments to allow as much light in as possible. Don’t let there be a single shadowy corner. Bring in table lamps and floor lamps to light these areas. Install fixtures if your basement is lit by bare light bulbs. Make sure light switch plates are clean and in good repair. Any lights that have pull cords should have a clean, neat looking cord even in unfinished parts of the basement such as the furnace room.
Air it out
Don’t let the stigma of a basement being a musty place hold true in your house! Remove carpeting that is worn. Check for mold and water damage and take care for your own health in fixing these problems. Use a dehumidifier or air purifier to clear the air. If the furniture that has been down there retains that musty and dusty smell, get it cleaned or let it go. To make the basement feel like part of your home, make sure it is well heated and not drafty. Keep in mind that if you don’t use your heater often, it will have a dusty smell when you turn it on. So, be sure to turn on the heat on well in advance of potential buyers coming to see the house.
An inviting and functional basement can add a lot of value to your home. So, make sure you are using the space to its full selling potential. Don’t let it be “just a basement”, turn it into another room in your home, full of potential for the future home owners.
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© 2008 Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Phone: (902) 233-1577 Fax: (902) 455-0553
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