5 Ideas to Increase the Value of a Basement


Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

Article Submitted by Fixr.com

The basement doesn’t just have to be a space to throw all of that extra storage. Show it as usable space, and it may even help you increase the value of the home. Basement remodels typically recoup about 70 percent of their costs at time of resale, which can add a tremendous amount of value to your home.

Making it the coolest room in the house may not be too difficult either. After all, basements tend to stay cooler during the summer months, making this an ideal place for the family to hang out when the weather heats up outside.

Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

1. Create an In-Home Theater

Basements not only are typically cooler than the rest of the home, but they’re also usually darker. For that reason, they’re an excellent place to add a theater to watch movies on those hot summer nights. Best of all, you don’t have to do a complete basement remodel, with costs around $50,000, to gain this space. A TV mount costs around $250, while built in seating costs around $840 – $1,680. (Just be sure for safety to completely waterproof the room before running wires through the basement.)

2. Make a Children’s Play Area

Basements are often neglected areas of the home, used primarily for storage and not much else. So why not turn your unused basement space into a new playroom for your kids?

Start with the staircase. Most basements have only partially finished staircases so installing a new one will help make the space more comfortable as well as safer. Next, ensure that you have egress windows installed, and that the basement is fully waterproofed. From there, you can carpet the floors to make the space more comfortable, and move your children’s toys downstairs to make more space in their rooms.

3. Create an Adult Entertainment Space


Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

If you love to entertain, consider building a bar into your basement. Basements are already the ideal place to install a wine cellar, so why not take it a step further and put in an entertainment area and bar for parties as well? Basements that walkout onto patios can be the ideal place for summer entertaining, giving guests a way to get in out of the heat or a summer rainstorm. Consider putting in a tile floor to give the room a finished look and keep the floors easy to clean. Match the bar countertop to the color of the floors for a fresh, stylish appearance.

4. Create a Garden Utility Room

If you spend any time out in the garden, you probably know about the dirt, tools, and pots that accompany this hobby. Basements are a great place to install a utility sink and counter, and to store all of your garden paraphernalia. Installing a french drain and a hose will make cleanup a snap, while shelving placed just beneath the windows will give your plants a place to sprout before you take them outside for the summer.


Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

5. Create a New Family Room

Family rooms often get even more use than the more formal living room, so family rooms in a cooler basement can get a lot of use during the summer months. Basements finished as family rooms may be coveted by homebuyers too, giving you the maximum return on investment. This includes not only tiling or carpeting the floors, but also putting up drywall to complete the walls as well. Consider adding a suspended acoustic ceiling to help insulate the basement from the sounds above, while making the rooms more attractive at the same time.

To find out more about projects to tackle around the home, be sure to visit the Cost Guides.

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$165,000 :: 1920 GRAEFIELD RD, Birmingham MI, 48009

2 beds, 1 bath
Home size: 908 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 07/21/17, Last Updated: 07/23/17
Property Type: Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
MLS Number: 21345442
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Status: Active

Stunning! Wonderful light filled townhouse end-unit condo. Updated open floor plan! Living room is open to dining room which adjoins the Gourmet Kitchen with beautiful cabinets and granite counters. All upscale kitchen appliances are included. Hardwood flooring throughout. Spacious Master Bedroom with two closets and ceiling fan. Full Bath in neutral tones with tile and granite. Charming second bedroom with subtle colors and ceiling fan. Finished 18 x 13 cozy den area in lower level with generous glass block newer window. New 2016 Furnace and Roof. One parking space. Well-manicured grounds. Shows beautifully.

Listed with RE/MAX Showcase Homes

Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!

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$550,000 :: 851 S GLENHURST DR, Birmingham MI, 48009

3 beds, 3 baths
Home size: 1,928 sq ft
Lot Size: 14,374 sq ft
Added: 07/21/17, Last Updated: 07/23/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21345116
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Status: Active

Attention builders and homeowners looking to create your dream home close to downtown. Rare opportunity on a double 14,400 sq foot lot (120’x120′). Either remodel current home or tear down and start fresh. The value is in this sprawling yard that goes 120 deep. Great location near Seaholm High School, Birmingham Country Club, and many local parks. Space like this doesn’t come around often!

Listed with Keller Williams Domain Birmingham

Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!

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$899,900 :: 1710 WEBSTER Street N, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

4 beds, 0 baths
Home size: 3,200 sq ft
Lot Size: 6,098 sq ft
Added: 07/22/17, Last Updated: 07/22/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 217064298
Community: Birmingham
Status: Active

**NEW CONSTRUCTION*120 DAYS TO COMPLETION* Located within blocks of downtown Birmingham! This stunningly beautiful 3200 sq. ft., 2-story, 4 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom home is designed with an open layout, and timeless elegance. Many generous upgrades; breathtaking front exterior brick and stone, exquisite millwork throughout, custom cabinets, elaborate tile work, 10 ft. 1st floor ceilings w/8 ft. interior doors, hand scrapped oak flooring, Anderson Windows, 2nd floor laundry room, solid wood tread staircase, and stone fireplace in great room. The stately master suite provides plentiful space with 10 ft. tiered ceiling, ample walk-in closet w/built in shelves, claw foot tub, stand up shower, and large vanity with double sinks. Come claim this gem and start making your selections!

Listed with Trillium Homes

Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!

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Home Price Change Expectations Flat

Many homeowners have enjoyed a return to positive equity in recent years, with home prices on a consistent upward trend in most markets. How high will values go?

Potentially not much further, according to consumers in the June 2017 Survey of Consumer Expectations by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who held firm on their expectation of a 3.5 percent change in prices—the same expectation given in May.

Consumers, in addition, anticipate the median inflation rate to be 2.5 percent in one year and 2.8 percent in three years. The likelihood of finding a job, based on their perceptions, grew to 59.2 percent in June, and the likelihood of losing a job shrunk to 13.5 percent. The share of consumers surveyed with improved finances over the last year soared to 34.8 percent—a record.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

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$824,900 :: 1587 BENNAVILLE AVE, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

3 beds, 5 baths
Home size: 2,655 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 07/21/17, Last Updated: 07/21/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21344384
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Status: Active

This one of a kind custom home features three bedrooms, four full bathrooms and one half bathroom. This exquisite residence also boast a custom iron front door, 19 ft foyer with coffered ceiling, 10 ft ceilings on first floor, 9 ft ceilings on second floor, a gourmet kitchen with premium wood cabinets, high end DCS appliances, large center island overlooking marble surrounded gas fireplace, SS vent, Quartzite counters, premium 5″ hardwood floors, extensive crown moldings and wood work, a luxurious master suite with marble floors and Euro showers with rain head shower head, large walk-in-closet, 2nd floor laundry, custom paint, lower level (in the process of being finished) with 9′ ceilings, full bathroom and daylight windows, expansive windows, and custom lighting fixtures throughout.

Listed with Signature Sotheby’s International Realty

Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!

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$799,000 :: 1059 FLOYD ST, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

4 beds, 3 baths
Home size: 3,024 sq ft
Lot Size: 4,791 sq ft
Added: 05/23/17, Last Updated: 07/20/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21299067
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Status: Pending


Listed with Keller Williams Domain Birmingham

Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!

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Water Woes: Tips for Reacting Quickly to Summer Flooding

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Living in areas prone to summer flooding means you must take quick action if and when flooding occurs. Why? Because all that moisture can ruin your home and your belongings. While awaiting a call back from your insurance company and maybe a visit from a professional mold mitigation company, you can get started cleaning up.

Water and summer heat are breeding grounds for mold that can grow in any areas left damp after a flood. So, it’s important to follow a few tips to help ensure your home does not become a petri dish.

Think Safety Always
You should begin cleaning up and drying out your home right away, but don’t let this urgency mean you skimp on safety. Remember, flooding means there could be mold or other bacteria growing in and on items in the home. Keep your children and pets out of the house during the cleanup process to avoid making them sick.

If your HVAC ducts got water in them, do not turn them on until you can have them inspected. They’ll need to be cleaned to remove bacteria from floodwater. Before entering your home, make sure your electricity isn’t on if you believe electrical wiring was affected by water. You should not enter the home until you’re sure there is no risk of electrocution.

You must wear a mask, gloves and some good water-resistant footwear to keep yourself and anyone working with you safe. Depending on the extent of the flooding, you may want to wear hip- or waist-high boots or waders. Don’t touch any items in the home without wearing gloves, and throw out any food that has come into contact with floodwater.

Drying Out the Home
Do you know mold can start growing in as little as 24 hours? It’s important to get in there and launch the drying process. This includes opening doors and windows to let air in and using a wet/dry vacuum to begin sucking water from carpets.

You should also invest in the equipment needed to help dry out the home. Carpeting is hard to dry out and is often an area where mold can grow quickly. Investing in a portable fan that is stackable, lightweight, and easily portable can make drying out a carpet a little quicker and easier, especially if you live in a coastal area that floods often. The key is to get air flowing through the home in order to dry out wet basements, too. You can also place fans around the house to help circulate air.

Get Damaged Items Out
Depending on the amount of water in the home, you may have water damage in the basement—but sometimes the water rises into the first floor of the house, as well. Unfortunately, this means you’ll need to throw out water-soaked belongings. This includes many items in your home, such as:

  • Carpeting and padding
  • Pillows and mattresses
  • Baby toys
  • Stuffed animals
  • Books and other paper products
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Rugs
  • Cosmetics
  • Wall coverings
  • Food items
  • Anything made of foam rubber
  • Insulation and drywall

You can usually salvage clothes — but wash them in hot water—and upholstered furniture may be salvageable if it can be professionally cleaned. Wood furniture may be saved if you quickly take it outside and remove any drawers or shelves to allow it dry out. However, keep in mind that wood does soak up water and can become moldy and unsalvageable.

Always take photos of items damaged by floodwaters for insurance purposes. To decide what to keep and what to save, consider the monetary and sentimental value. If it’s valuable to you, check with mold mitigation specialists to determine if you can properly clean the item.

Disinfect the Home
Once the home is drying out and you’ve removed all the damaged items, you can begin the disinfection process. Clean walls and floors using disinfectant cleaner and warm water. You can also use a solution of one cup of bleach mixed with five gallons of water.

Go over these areas more than once to make sure you’ve removed any bacteria and germs that may have come in with the floodwater. Sometimes floodwaters are contaminated with sewage that can make your family sick.

Prevent Future Damage
Once you’ve been through a flood, you may want to consider what steps you can take to reduce the damage next time, especially if you live in a flood-prone area.

Store your belongings up high. Instead of storing items in your basement, place them in the attic. At the very least, move them up off the floor and keep items in plastic storage bins.

Get rid of any items you no longer use. The less clutter you have, the less you’ll have to clean up should your home flood again.

While there’s not much you can do to stop acts of nature, you can jump in right away and begin cleanup to make your home safe, clean and livable as soon as possible. Have a plan in place and invest in any equipment you might need so it’s on hand and ready to clean up your waterlogged home.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Typical U.S. Home Worth More Than $200,000 for First Time

Home values across the country are up 7.4 percent over the past year, to a median home value of $200,400, according to the June Zillow Real Estate Market Reports Continue Reading →

Home Safety: How to Protect Your Family at Every Stage of Life

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

We all want to keep our families as safe as possible, but home safety requirements change as your family grows and evolves. From newborns to pets, a variety of different strategies can ensure your home is as safe and accommodating as possible for your family. Here are some simple tips to help keep your family safe through every stage of life.

Getting Your Home Ready for a New Baby
Babyproofing a home is largely about protecting them from their own curiosity. Once a baby learns to crawl, anything in reach is fair game to be grabbed, touched, or chewed on.

  1. Install baby gates to keep certain rooms off-limits. This is especially important near stairs.
  1. Fill unused electrical outlets with plastic plugs. Outlets are like magnets for babies.
  1. Store breakable items out of reach.
  1. Keep small items out of reach, as well. Small objects that could be put into mouths are a major choking hazard. A good rule of thumb is if it can fit in an empty toilet paper roll, it is small enough for a baby to choke on.

Home Safety for Toddlers and Elementary-Age Children
Toddler-proofing is a little different from babyproofing in that a toddler is usually more resourceful about getting into things they shouldn’t be. Toddlers will climb, open doors and drawers, and generally get themselves into trouble.

  1. Move anything small or breakable up higher now that your child is walking and climbing. You’d be surprised at what they can reach.
  1. If you have a pool, build a fence around it. You’ll want a barrier at least a few feet high to make it harder for your toddler to climb over.
  1. Secure drawers and cabinets with childproof latches.
  1. Place safety locks on windows and doors to prevent them from being opened.
  1. If you don’t have a home security system, install one for added safety. Choosing a system with the right features, like motion sensors and security cameras, can help you know if your curious toddler runs out the door or it can help you keep tabs on things while the babysitter is over.

Safety During the Teenage Years
As your child grows into their teens, the focus moves further from physical safety and more towards online safety and general home security. Online safety is extremely important with teenagers in the house.

  1. Set clear boundaries and expectations with your teen regarding potentially dangerous situations. These could involve simple subjects like safe driving or complex topics like drinking and drugs.
  1. Keep alcohol, firearms, and any prescription or over-the-counter drugs locked up in a safe place.
  1. Educate your teen about safe internet usage. This includes avoiding malware, being smart on social media, and using privacy settings.

Pet-Proofing Your Home
Pets make great additions to the family, but they come with their own safety needs. In many ways, pet-proofing is similar to babyproofing. Pet-proofing involves keeping harmful items out of their reach and making sure that they can’t escape the house or yard and run off.

  1. Keep cleaning products, chemicals, and medications in high places or locked where pets can’t stumble upon them.
  1. If your pet likes to chew on (or eat!) household items, make sure that you don’t leave anything lying around. It can be helpful to do a quick walkthrough of your home a couple times a day, such as when you leave and return from work.
  1. If you have a home security system, make sure the motion sensors are capable of detecting and ignoring your pets.
  1. If you have a fenced yard, check it for weaknesses or small gaps that a pet could squeeze through.

Getting Your Home Ready for Your Parents to Move In
As our parents get older, it’s not uncommon for them to move in with us. This can help ensure their safety and prevent the loneliness that often comes with old age. It can also present some unique challenges when it comes to home safety.

Depending on your parent’s age and their physical and mental well-being, you may need to make small home improvements for their convenience or physical safety. In general, you’ll want to try to minimize the potential for falls and make sure that help is always within reach.

  1. Install grab bars in the bathrooms near the toilet and shower. These bars can help support a person as they move in and out of the shower or tub, both making this task easier and helping prevent falls. Make sure they can support the weight of the person who’ll be using them.
  1. Walk through your home and check for objects that might make tripping hazards. Throw rugs, children’s toys, and pet toys can all be dangerous for people lacking the eyesight or reflexes to maneuver around them easily.
  1. Set up a medical alert system. This is a wearable device that essentially functions as a panic button—if a person falls or has a medical emergency, they can push the button to get instant access to help.
  1. Learn which foods are hazardous for senior health. As your parents age, their immune system weakens, making them more susceptible to food poisoning and health risks. Prepare meals at home that won’t threaten the health of your aging parents.

Your family grows and changes as time goes by, and so should your home safety plans. If you want to keep up with each of your family members, continually assess their needs. These tips should give you a great starting point towards building a safer home for your family.

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