Making ends meet is getting harder, and renting out your basement has become a popular way to add a little something to your monthly income.
Finances can be complicated. If you bought your house more than 20 years ago, likely you settled on a price that’s only a fraction of what houses are going for today. But you might still have 10 years to go on your mortgage. Taxes and living expenses keep going up, but selling your house and moving will only cost you more money. You’ve got to find a way to make more while staying put.
If selling Amway is not your idea of a good income source, consider making your house work for you by renting out your basement.
Remodeling Is Cheaper
The most economical scenario is one in which your basement is already finished, but you want to remodel it to accommodate renters. At a bare minimum, you’ll need:
A full bath. If you only have a half bath now, you can save by adding just a shower stall versus a tub and shower surround.
Access to the outside. Even if you plan to let your renter use your main house, either to get to his or her room or to use your other rooms, you need a separate exit in the basement for safety reasons. In some areas, a large window well with stairs is adequate.
Check local codes for renting out your basement. Some prohibit below-grade sleeping areas that have no doors to the outside, and some mandate windows be a particular distance from the floor.
Proper HVAC. If your basement was hastily or cheaply finished, your builder may have not put in insulation. This means your basement will often feel cold and damp — not too inviting for paying tenants.
If it’s cost-prohibitive to tear out the walls and rebuild with insulation, you’ll likely need to take a close look at your heating system. Just venting in some warm air may not be enough, and space heaters in the basement can be a fire hazard.
Decisions to Make When Renting Out Your Basement
Once you have these basics taken care of, the rest is up to you. If you have a lot of space in your basement, you could make a whole apartment with a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bath. With smaller spaces, you can make it an efficiency — one large room with a bathroom and closet space.
Kitchens can be expensive to install, so you can get around this with an efficiency if you furnish it with a microwave, coffee maker, hotplate and minifridge.
In fact, if you furnish the whole room, you can likely get more for renting out your basement. It will look nicer too, since you will be able to choose the right size furnishings for the space. Remember to keep your color palette neutral so the space will appeal to all types of people.
If you’re thinking of renting out your basement to boost your income, trust an experienced general contractor like Falk Construction. We have remodeled hundreds of basements in and around the Ogden, Utah, area and we can help you get yours in top rentable shape.