Deciding to Finish your basement in Michigan can be an incredible experience, plus it has a decent return when it’s time to sell your home. However, without taking the right process, the basement of your dreams may become an expensive nightmare. Here are some things you need to do before you buy lumber and drywall or sign an agreement with a contractor.
Finish A Basement: Inspect Your Foundation
Before you go past dreaming of your ideal craft room or man cave, take some time to inspect your foundation. Even if your home is just a few years old, you want to make sure the foundation is solid before covering anything up. It is best to hire a professional inspector to perform a formal inspection.
Before having an inspection, you can check to see if there are any signs of possible problems. The things to look for include cracks or bulges in the wall, slanted or uneven floors in your home, or doors or windows that won’t latch.
All of these are indications your foundation is going to need attention. If there are problems with the foundation, plan to have these resolved before starting your project. Ignoring these problems may mean your investment will be wasted if the foundation degrades further.
Get Physical Designs
Don’t start a basement finishing project without having drawings of the final result you have in mind. This ensures you’ve considered where plumbing and wiring will go, and you’re satisfied with how the room will fit together.
One of the most important things you’ll need to consider is what is currently in your basement. Be sure to consider utility sinks, your water softener, furnace, and sump well. If your washer and dryer are in the basement, be sure to consider their location as well. Building codes may require a certain clearance around these areas, so you want to factor that in before designing your space.
Getting a physical design allows you to control the expense of running new utilities and appliances. For instance, it’s less expensive to run plumbing for a half-bath closer to already existing plumbing. Your contractor will help you identify the most cost-effective method for adding the features you want in your space for the most reasonable cost.
Discuss Permits & Inspections
Permits are another important consideration when finishing your basement. Most locales around Michigan have permit requirements for many major renovations, including finishing your basement.
You want to make sure you discuss with your contractor the permits that will be required for your project. Then discuss with whether your contractor will handle this, or if you’ll need to cut out the time to do so.
You’ll want to make sure this is detailed out in your contract. Also, be sure your contract stipulates whether the fee for the permits is included, or whether that’s an additional expense.
Along with permits, consider the inspections needed to complete your project. Will your contractor meet with the building inspector, and are those fees included in your estimated cost? These are important details to hammer out before the work begins to ensure you have a smooth building experience without feeling like you have ballooning expenses.
Consider Current Building Codes
Finally, compare your home to the current building codes. You’ll need to have inspections along the way, and the inspector will cite you for existing issues that need correcting. For instance, if your local ordinances require egress windows, you’ll have to ensure you install them if they’re not already in place. Bringing your current building up to code can dramatically increase the cost of your project, so be sure you discuss these upgrades before beginning to finish your basement.