We say all to often that Quality isn’t an optional upgrade for us here at Everlasting Homes, it is a way of life…a state of mind and the foundation of our company. As such, we expect the highest quality work from any of our required sub contractors such as HVAC Technicians, Electrical Contractors, Plumbing Contractors, Framers etc. and will only use premium materials to go along side them. A key point to make though when considering the cost to finish your basement is not just “What quality of materials or allowances are we getting?” But also “What quality of workers are you bringing throughout the project to install that quality material?” These are very important factors when selecting a contractor. You wouldn’t put cheap cruddy tires on your expensive car would you? What good then is quality material without the right experts to install it. There are two ways to get a cheaper bid from a company. The contractor hires cheap labor or uses cheap materials. Quality work is represented through the small little, unforeseen details throughout a project. Details such as “what type of lumber is being used, Douglas Fir or Hem Fir” can make the world of difference in the end. At Everlasting, we assume that everyone wants their job completed using quality materials and labor and many times we are more expensive because we assumed wrong.
We love smaller projects and don’t shy away from small jobs at all, however there are some things to consider about smaller projects. Lets say for argument sake that you have a 1,000 sq.ft. basement with a single full bathroom which will be plumbed exactly where it is roughed in. The plumbing for that project would cost the exact same for that 1,000sq.ft. project as it would in a 400 sq.ft. project with the same bathroom layout as the 1,000sq.ft. basement. The point being, if your looking for a “Cost per Square Foot” number, you can see that this will change dramatically by the job. Since the cost is the same in the 400 sq.ft. basement as the 1,000sq.ft. basement, you can mathematically deduce that the cost per sq.ft. is therefore much higher in the smaller job than in the larger job. Furthermore, looking at ceiling heights can dramatically change an estimate to. Lumber is sold in 8′ and 10′ lengths for the most common basement ceiling heights in Colorado. Furthermore, drywall comes in 4′ wide sheets. Therefore if you have 9′ ceilings instead of 8′ ceilings, there will be a lot of waste as no one sells materials in 9′ increments so there is a lot more drywall and framing costs to finish a basement with 9 foot ceilings raising the cost per sq.ft. Ultimately what we are getting at is…every job is unique and you should know what unique features your job has that can either raise or lower the price. Don’t look at that as a bad thing though. Those with higher ceilings, while the costs are higher to finish, have a much more open floor plan once finished and therefore retain a higher resale value than those with 8 foot ceilings.
Lets talk about installing a bar or other optional upgrades in your basement. Bars are tricky because of 2 factors that we get asked a lot. “How much does this cost” and “Will we get our money back when we sell one day?” Lets dissect this for a minute and first properly label what a bar really is. A bar is a small Kitchen, using kitchen cabinets, countertops and in many times kitchen appliances. Therefore a bar can be a kitchenette, a themed space like an Irish Pub, or just a simple space to have a cocktail with some friends. Determining which of these you are looking for is the first step. In answering the more critical question…”what does that cost?” Its funny because anyone can agree that when spending money for a kitchen, they will spend $20,000 – $30,000 without blinking an eye because that space has a higher expected value to them. However, when discussing a full size kitchenette or themed bar, there is some expectation that the price will be really cheap compared to a kitchen. This is funny because the same materials and labor are used in both applications. The best way to design a bar is to first establish a budget you would like to stay within. This gives us a starting point to know what quality cabinets to put you in and what quality of countertop you will be able to afford. It also allows us to know your expectations without blindsiding you with a bid that you would have never guessed would add up to the same cost as your kitchen, even though they are the same size. Now to answer the question about ROI (return on investment). Simple bars, believe it or not, will not give you a significant return on your investment because they are a dime a dozen and no one really takes any notice to them and probably won’t even remember seeing the bar when looking at the home when it comes time to sell. Only install a simple bar because of the use you can get out of it. The depreciation for that simple bar is as high as a car, which doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy that new toy, it just gives you an expectation that isn’t far fetched later down the road when you’re ready to sell. Themed bars and Kitchenettes however, will retain their value and in many ways appreciate the value of the home. A basement that is centered around an exciting and creative bar, like the photo below, transforms that space and therefore is memorable and translates into value. Furthermore, kitchenettes can be very valuable because of the usability of that space to be converted into a mother in law suite, a vacation rental space, or a second living area. With this option being more and more profitable and popular, this also translates into value when discussing re-sale.
The final thought to leave you with…
Never shy away from creating an exiting and fun design for your new space. Ultimately, when looking at re-sale, you need your home to stand out among the competition. Show the buyer something they won’t see in any other similar model and that excitement to own something unique will translate into higher value and shorter times on market and hey…you get to enjoy that space too, as long as you have it. These little creative touches don’t have to be the $30,000 bars, they can be simple niche arched accents, or creative 45 degree angled walls that are much softer to look at and don’t cost very much to stand out amongst the competition.
Call us to help you design that one of a kind space, we will always help you determine the right course of action to take for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.