Renovating your basement? Don't forget about resale!
1. Make sure upstairs and downstairs match in the quality of finishings. You won't recoup your money if you put a $50k basement in a house with a dated kitchen with ancient appliances. Likewise, if the upstairs is beautifully renovated, people will be really put off by a cheap basement reno, so you've gotta do the drywall ceiling & potlights.
2. In the layout, go for wide-open space, and maximize the height of the ceilings. New houses are now building 9' ceilings in the basement and people are going bananas for it. You will get a good return from maximizing ceiling height.
3. People LOVE storage. If you can afford it, maximize your storage with custom shelving, preferably sized to accommodate whichever size of big plastic storage container happens to be on sale the week of your reno. A beautifully organized & labeled storage area with matching storage containers is like cocaine to home buyers. You can literally see their eyes dilating when they see it.
4. People really want laundry in a finished room. Whether it's a combo with a storage area or not doesn't seem to matter, just don't put the laundry in an unfinished area. The tides have turned in favour of main and second floor laundry, so remember that if your laundry is in the basement you're already at a disadvantage on resale. Do what you can to make up for it by making the laundry room as cute as possible.
5. Build one 10 x 10 bedroom. As your realtor, I beg you to please include a window with egress and a closet. Otherwise I can't call it a bedroom when I list your house, which is a huge bummer considering what it cost you to build it.
6. Make the rest of the space into a big family room, or media room. If you have the budget for built in speakers, people go crazy for that. Otherwise a gas or even electric fireplace warms up a basement literally and from a design perspective. Electric is a lot cheaper than gas & just fine from my perspective.
7. The bathroom just needs to be in line with the rest of your house. An insert for the shower is fine for a basement bathroom in 99% of homes. Heated floors are so nice in a basement bathroom especially if you're doing a tile floor (vinyl is warmer). Not only will people like that on resale, you will love it while you own the home as stepping onto freezing cold tile in the winter will kill your post-shower buzz ASAP.
8. The #1 thing every buyer in Winnipeg looks at is the furnace & hot water tank. And they do not like old furnaces. Personally, I find this odd as furnaces are relatively affordable compared to some other upgrades that people get way less worked up about, and Hydro also offers some awesome payment plans and incentives to make it easy. Regardless, buyers really get wowed by a new furnace, so there's good return on this investment.
9. An upgraded electric panel with room left on it is really important to people. If your panel is full, fine, but make sure it's all neatly labeled & organized. People associate this with someone who is meticulous and organized, and they assume it means you've taken really good care of the home.
10. Wherever possible, hire a professional. I cannot emphasize enough that buyers can smell amateur and semi-professional renovations from a mile away, and they don't like it. Particularly when it comes to the finishing details like designers, drywall tapers & carpenters, my advice is to pay the price to have it done right. A basement renovation is a huge expense, and using these professionals to get a really quality level of finishing will get you the most return for your investment.