Should I Finish the Basement Before Selling?

There are lots of benefits of a finished basement that are attractive to homebuyers. It means there is extra living space, including extra bedrooms and maybe a bathroom. There is room for storage or maybe opportunities to create a special space like a man cave, home theatre, office or fitness room. Basement renovations in Winnipeg offer many possibilities, but is it worth the investment if you’re planning to sell right away?


Remodeling’s cost vs. value report shows that finishing the basement can add up to 70% of it’s renovation cost to your home at resale. If you plan to do the work yourself and can do it well, the pay off can be more than that. Keep in mind that while a professional renovation can add value to your home, a bad renovation can remove value, so if you’re unsure about it you should hire basement builders for the job. Remember that it will add value and help attract more buyers to your home, but it will not completely pay for itself at resale.


Before doing anything, ask your real estate agent to evaluate the market your home is in. If it is depressed, it might be difficult to recoup the costs of any home improvement, let alone expensive basement renovations. And in this case, a home that is priced lower because of it’s unfinished basement could be more attractive to renovation savvy buyers that want to purchase a less expensive home and upgrade it themselves.

If the market has a demand for more usable square footage and more buyers in the market want homes with finished basements, a basement renovation might help your home compete. Your real estate agent can help you determine the best move for attracting the largest number of buyers depending on the current market in your area.  


Knowing the market also means knowing where your house stands in it. If all the homes on your street are selling around the $300,000 mark, spending $100,000 on a basement renovation will not be worth the cost. Buyers won’t spend $400K on a house sitting on a $300K market. Maybe they’d rather purchase a larger home in a different neighbourhood for the price. 

It works the other way too. If all the homes in your market have 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and you only have 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, building an additional bedroom and bathroom in the basement can help it compete. Whatever you do, make sure it’s standard with the other homes in your neighbourhood. 

Find renovation tips in this home renovation blog.