While many people might see a basement as a spooky, cold, and damp part of their home, a properly finished and maintained basement can actually be a huge asset. If you are considering buying a home with a basement, here’s what you need to check before making the deal:
- Water damage – The basement is the most common area of the home to incur water damage. It usually gets less ventilation than the rest of the home and because it is below ground level, it makes sense that water would flow and settle to this point of the home. Before buying a home that has a basement, do a careful check for water damage. You might even want to call in a water damage expert to make sure that the basement is properly sealed and will not be subject to the damp that invites pests and mold.
- Ceiling height – Nothing will make you feel claustrophobic faster than a low ceiling. While you might think that six-foot ceilings are fine for your needs, ceilings under six foot high are probably not up to code. This is most common in older homes, where basements were originally intended to be used as storage and were not finished until later.
- HVAC – Is the basement connected to the rest of the home’s HVAC system? While being underground will mean that the basement’s temperature is better regulated than the rest of the home, it still might be too cold in the winter or too warm in the summer to be comfortably used, meaning that you will want to be able to access your home’s HVAC system. If it does not have HVAC, how difficult would it be to extend the ducts to your downstairs?
- Legality – If you are buying a home with a basement with the intention of creating a separate apartment down there either for renters or for a family member, you need to do a little research and see if this is even allowed in your residential area. In most areas, you can finish a basement, but some have special codes and regulations governing construction. Just make sure that it is completely legal to make changes to the property before buying.