Converting Your Basement into an Apartment

Remodel Your Basement & Turn it into Extra Income

If you have a basement you barely use, why not turn it into a source of extra income. Converting your basement into an apartment is a great way to put some extra cash in your pocket, or toward some bills. Homeowners usually see their investment return within the first year, if you’re looking for a way to earn an extra income, and have the space then you may want to consider taking the step. Why not turn a room that you barely use into something useful and profitable, read below for some tips on how to turn your basement into a functional apartment.

Check to See if You’re Legally Allowed to Have a Rental Unit

Some municipalities do not have restrictions on what you do with your property, but many will require you to follow certain zoning regulations and laws. Zoning codes commonly will specify the number of tenants allowed, parking requirements and fire escape plans, among other things. Call your city officials to see what your local zoning laws are that may affect your basement apartment plans. If you do find your city does have laws that will affect your remodel, you’ll want to make sure you’re aware and fully understand to avoid any issues later on.


Find the Cost

Make a budget for your apartment renovation, this step is very important as you’ll need to know the cost before getting to work. Creating a budget will help you establish how long it’ll take you to earn back your investment, and whether or not the costs outweigh the benefits. If your basement is already somewhat finished then your budget will be smaller than those who are starting from scratch. You may still want to consider making upgrades to increase your rental’s value, this would include updating the flooring, bathroom, and adding / updating a kitchen unit.

Designing the Apartment

Designing your basement apartment should be one of the more exciting parts of your renovation. You can choose to make it a more traditional apartment, or a studio with an open floor plan. Remember having an open floor plan will save you time and money since you won’t be building any new walls. Traditional basement apartments will allow you to charger a higher price for rent, but the initial cost of your renovation will be more.

Measure the square footage of your basement and determine what the most functional to split up the space would be. Do you have enough space for one bedroom or two, designate a main living space, and so on. When you have a general layout of the apartment, get started on the floor plan, this floor plan will serve as the foundation of your renovation.

Necessary Rooms to Include:

  • Bedroom
  • Living room
  • Kitchen
  • Full Bathroom
  • Storage space
  • Dining area

Hire a Contractor

If you’re not a handy person it’s best you call a contractor to help you with the electric, insulation, drywall installation, and plumbing. Even if you’re not good with design, consult with your contractor as they can assist you in making any decisions, remember to hire a credible, experienced, contractor, references are always a plus!

Get to Work

Some basic tasks you’ll need to do when converting a basement into a rental include:

  • Installing an exclusive exterior entrance to the apartment
  • Creating defined living spaces with a functional layout
  • Enabling heating and cooling with an independent system
  • Installing the necessary electrical and plumbing systems
  • Insulate the walls, floors and ceiling  (if your basement is unfinished)

Remember, if you chose to go with a studio style apartment instead of a traditional layout, creating defined rooms won’t be necessary.

Choose the Flooring

Basement flooring is sometimes an issue, if your basement floors are cold and unfinished you may want to consider heating the floor, if not going with carpet for a cozy space is a good option. Keep in mind basements are prone to flooding, depending on where you live installing tile floors may be your best bet.

Install the Important Things

To make a fully functional, livable basement apartment you’re going to have to install some useful amenities. Aside from the basic essentials such as bathroom, kitchen, and living room space, you may want to also consider creating a laundry space. If you choose to add a laundry unit, you can charge more, if you’re concerned about space, consider installing a stackable unit in a closet.

Go Neutral

Basements are often dull, you should brighten up the space with some colorful walls and appropriate lighting. Stay away from colors that are too bold, you should stick to neutral colors that play off natural light. Lighter colors give off the impression of a larger space, and give the rooms a fresh look. Keep in mind when potential tenants check out the space you’ll want to have colors that appeal to all, so avoid any harsh or bold colors. Once a tenant moves in, their design ideas will be used, so choose colors that anyone no matter age or gender can design from.

Listing Your Apartment

When you’re finished with your renovation, it’s time to show off your new rental until and start looking for tenants! Take some high quality photos of the finished space, get multiple angles of each room to give potential tenants a better idea of the space. If you want, you can even stage furniture to show what the space could look like once they’re in there.

You can upload your photos to a listing website along with a brief description and the rental price. Here are some websites you can list your rental on:

Remember when looking through potential tenants, you want to find someone with the following:

  • Good credit – Run a credit check on all applicants
  • No criminal history – Do a background check
  • Good rental history – Have they been evicted before

There are also four basic questions you should ask any potential tenants during the application process:

  • When do you plan on moving in?
  • What is your monthly income?
  • Can I ask for references from your former landlords and employer?
  • Will you submit a rental application and consent to a credit and background check?

We hope this guide can be helpful to you when converting your basement into an apartment. Keep in mind when doing any type of renovation you may end up with a ton of waste and debris, call us at Dumpster Rental Inc for an affordable dumpster rental that won’t break your budget!

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