Convert Your Basement into an Apartment
Earn Extra Income with a Basement Apartment
Do you have a basement you barely use, do you have bills to pay that you need some help with? If you’ve got a basement, then you have a solution. Converting your basement into an apartment is a great way to earn extra income! Most homeowners make back their investment within the first year, if your home has a basement with plenty of space, that once finished can function as its own living space, then you should consider taking the step. If your basement is rarely used why not turn it into something useful and profitable?
Before you start on your basement apartment project, consider the following:
Are You Legally Allowed to Create a Rental Unit?
Some municipalities don’t have restrictions on what you do with your property, but most will require you to follow certain zoning regulations and laws. Common zoning codes specify the number of tenants allowed, fire escape plans, parking requirements and more.
Contact your city officials to see if your area has any zoning laws that will affect your basement apartment plans. If there are, you may have to alter some aspects of your renovation that you’ll want to know about ahead of time to avoid making changes later.
Figure Out the Cost
Making a budget for your basement apartment conversion should be your second step, as it’s extremely important to know the cost before you get to work. Setting a budget will help you establish how long it will take for you to start earning a return on your investment, and whether or not the costs outweigh the benefits.
Basement apartments that are already finished will have a smaller budget than those basements that are starting from scratch. However you should consider making upgrades to increase your rental’s value, this would include updating flooring, fixing up the bathroom, and adding / updating kitchen unit.
Design Your Basement Apartment
Designing your basement apartment is one of the more exciting parts of doing this type of renovation. You can make it traditional or more of a studio apartment with an open floor plan. Keep in mind having an open floor plan will save you time and money on building new walls, while a traditional basement apartment will allow you to charge a higher price in rent, the initial cost of creating the space will be more. Measure out the square footage of your basement and determine the best way to split up the space, do you have enough for one or two bedrooms, where will the main living space be, and so on. Once you’ve got a general layout of your basement apartment, get started on the floor plan. This floor plan will serve as the foundation of your renovation.
Necessary Rooms to Include in a Basement Apartment:
- Living room
- Full Bathroom
- Storage space
- Dining area
Contact a Contractor
Contact a contractor to assist you with the electrical, insulation, drywall installation, and plumbing work. If you’re not a super handy person, or good with design, consulting with a contractor is your best bet. Remember to hire someone with credible references, and experience.
Start Working on Your Basement
Some basic tasks you’ll need to do when converting a basement into a rental include:
- Installing an exclusive exterior entrance to the apartment
- Creating defined living spaces with a functional layout
- Enabling heating and cooling with an independent system
- Installing the necessary electrical and plumbing systems
- Insulate the walls, floors and ceiling (if your basement is unfinished)
Remember, if you chose to go with a studio style apartment rather than a traditional layout, creating defined rooms won’t be necessary.
Choose the Flooring
Basement flooring is sometimes an issue, if your basement floors are cold and unfinished you may want to consider heating the floor, if not going with carpet for a cozy space is a good option. Keep in mind basements are prone to flooding, depending on where you live installing tile floors may be your best bet.
Install the Important Things
To create a fully livable basement apartment you’ll need to install some useful amenities. Besides the basic essentials like a bathroom, living room, and kitchen, consider creating a laundry space. To save space you can install a stackable unit in a closet, or add a built in microwave. Of course if you choose to add a laundry unit to the apartment, you can charge more.
Basements can seem dull, and you may want to brighten up the space with colorful walls, but try to stay away from anything too bold. Neutral colors play off of any natural light that can come in through the windows, lighter colors also give off the impression of a larger space, and also keeps the rooms looking fresh. Remember once a tenant moves in, their design ideas will be used, so pick something that anyone no matter their age or gender can design from.
Listing Your Apartment
Once you’ve finished renovating your basement, it’s time to show off your new rental unit and start looking for tenants. Take high quality photos of your finished space from multiple angles. You can even stage furniture to show potential renters what the space can look like once they’re in. Upload your photos to a listing website along with a description and the rental price.
Here are a few websites you can use:
Keep in mind when sorting through tenants, you want to find someone with the following:
- Good credit – Run a credit check on all applicants
- No criminal history- Do a background check
- Good rental history – Have they been evicted before
There are four basic questions you should ask your potential tenants during the application process:
- When do you plan on moving in?
- What is your monthly income?
- Can I ask for references from your former landlords and employer?
- Will you submit a rental application and consent to a credit and background check?
We hope you’ve found this guide helpful when converting your basement into an apartment. Remember if you’re doing a bigger remodel, or cleaning out your basements current contents, call us at Waste Solutions 123 for a dumpster rental!