If you’re thinking about finishing a basement or turning an attic into a bedroom, you’ll accomplish the envious advantage of adding living space as well as recovering a good chunk of your investment when it comes time to sell your house.

Finishing an attic

Converting the attic into a bedroom costs on average $49,000, according to the Cost vs. Value 2014 Survey from Remodeling Magazine. When you sell your home, it’s estimated some $41,600 of that — 84.3 percent — will be recouped.

Costs include installation of a bathroom with shower, windows, closet space, a carpeted floor and insulation of the walls and ceilings. Also included in the cost are bringing the HVAC to the bedroom and adding wiring and lighting (and bringing it to code).

Finishing a basement

If you opt for a living or entertaining area in the basement, it will cost an average of $63,000, with a 77.6 percent cost-to-value ratio. Costs include finished a living area along with a bathroom.

But if you’re eyeing a bedroom in your basement, there are some safety issues you’ll need to take into account and potential changes you’ll need to make if you want to use the basement as a living space. For example, in Gwinnett County, you’ll need to apply for a building permit, which will include any necessary HVAC, electrical and plumbing work. You’ll also need to submit a floor plan — to scale — of the finished basement.

And, perhaps most importantly, you’ll need a way out of the basement in an emergency. Local jurisdictions generally require a basement with living space or bedrooms to have one emergency escape that opens and closes — a window or door. If a window is the way out, the sill can’t be higher than 44 inches off the ground.

Another critical element of a basement remodel is ensuring you don’t have any moisture problems. If you’re going to put your heart and soul — and a good chunk of money — into refinishing the basement, you want to make it a space that isn’t prone to potential problems with humidity, mildew and mold. Talk to a contractor to determine if you have any moisture-related obstacles and what can be done before you get into the design phase of your project.

Bedroom or bonus room?

According to the American Home Inspectors Training Institute, a bonus room is an added feature to a property that is not listed as a bedroom, living room or family room. More importantly, when you are looking to sell your home, appraisers usually disregard bonus rooms in determining the property assessment. The term “bonus room” could also indicate a converted attic or basement that may not be up to code required to be considered a bedroom. In order for your remodeled space to be classified as a bedroom, it will need to meet all building and zoning codes.

Talk to a contractor about all codes before beginning your attic or basement remodeling project.

Image source: Flickr

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