Is it time to expand your basement into the living space you’ve always dreamed of? Not sure if you should try your hand at remodeling your own basement, or if you should leave it up to a professional remodeling contractor? Before you get started, you’ll have to know the answer to these questions.

Remodel or Renovation?

How you complete your project depends on how ambitious you plan on making your basement remodel. If your focus will be on adding light to a dark space, rearranging the function of the room, or sprucing up an outdated area with fresh paint and flooring, doing it yourself can save you time and money. It can also become a fun family project. If you’re planning on changing the layout of the space or making significant changes to your plumbing or electrical work, it’s worth getting the advice of a general contractor. If you choose to use a contractor, be sure to get several quotes on the work and don’t necessarily assume that cheaper is better. If you’ll be making extreme structural changes, like moving a load bearing wall, consider hiring an architect who can advise you on the best way to utilize and adapt your basement space. Whatever you do, be sure to know what permits you will need before you start construction.

Benefits of Going Alone

If you are a DIY type of person, a basement remodel can be the perfect project to complete in your spare time. Managing a small remodel on your own can save you time and money and be a fun side project. Managing your remodel on your own also gives you complete control over the schedule and budget of your project. However, that control comes with responsibility- you will need to file all proper permits and ensure that all updates you make are up to code!

Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Professional

If your basement is unfinished or if you are making significant changes, consider finding a contractor who is certified for plumbing and electricity. A single contractor can take charge of getting the proper permits and will ensure that all electrical work and construction is done according to code.

Doing the job on your own will likely save you money in the short term, especially if your remodel is more cosmetic than structural. If you’re thinking about taking out a wall or adding a bathroom, however, it’s worth considering hiring a contractor.

Will you need permits?

A reliable contractor will apply and manage all proper permitting for your projects. He or she will also be familiar with your local state and city laws regarding permits. If you choose to go the DIY route, you will be responsible for filing your own permits. When reselling your home in the future, it is vital to have the proper permits on the books. Failing to get a permit for your remodel can result in a number of consequences. Depending on where you are completing your remodel, you could be subject to a variety of fines or penalties for every day that unpermitted construction happens. An unlicensed remodel can also negatively affect the resale value of your home.

Resale Value

If you are considering selling your home in the near future, keep in mind that certain remodels (such as additional kitchen space or extra bathrooms) will drastically increase your home’s resale value, making these remodels a better investment for your money. For example, if remodeling your basement includes adding an extra bathroom, wet bar and finishing details, Remodeling Magazine estimates that you could potentially increase your home’s value by an average of $14,000. Remodeling space you already have, such as a basement, is almost always more cost efficient than building an addition. While the resale value of your home is an important factor to keep in mind, it is better to make your remodel reflect your lifestyle. Whether it’s an exercise room, man cave, or movie theater, the basement is the perfect space to express your tastes and interests.

Top image credit: Follyn Builders & Developers, LLC