Buying a House: The Basement - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

If you’re looking to buy a home, then you already know it can be a pretty complex process. There are only about a million things you have to be thinking about as you’re shopping around. Like most things in life, how much prep work you do will play a major role in how easy or difficult the process is.

In this week’s installment of our Buying a Home series, we’ve created a checklist of some of the main things you should be thinking about and looking for in the basement of a home. Thinking about all of these different things beforehand can help you decide on the right home for your needs.

Is There Water Damage?

H2O can be a basement’s worst enemy. Water can be a lot more devious and sneaky than you might think. When you go down into a basement, there are a few different things you should look for.

Is there a sump pump, and if there is, how old is it? Sump pumps have a relatively limited lifespan. So, if the basement has an older one, it might not last much longer, which means you might end up with an unwelcome indoor swimming pool.  You’ll also want to check out the water heater, making sure it’s not too old or leaky.

While problems with basement appliances may be obvious, water seepage can be more subtle. Check for discolored areas where the floor meets the wall – water stains and damage will be noticeable on unfinished concrete walls and floors, and on paneling, drywall and baseboards in a finished basement.

Along with visual cues, you can search out water-related problems from a musty smell, which is usually a sign of dampness. You also want to check for mold because it can cause you serious health problems down the road.

Is It Finished?

This one is probably more of a personal preference, but make sure to notice if and how the basement is finished. If it’s not, how big of a deal is it for you to have it finished? How much will it cost you to do it if you buy the house?

If it is finished, do you like the way it’s set up? Would you want to redecorate it – you’ll need to figure out that cost, too.

Is It Usable?

Another really important thing to keep in mind is what your goals/plans are for your prospective basement and how the basement you’re looking at would work with that plan. Is the basement one big area or are there multiple rooms?

If you’re going to finish it and set it up like a den/TV area, are there enough cable/electrical outlets?

What about a laundry area and a workshop? Is there enough space and the proper lighting? Do you want a bar and lounge area? Think about these things beforehand, and then try to imagine how what you have in mind would fit in the basement.

Whatever your particular must-haves and like-to-haves are, there a ton of little details you’re going to have to juggle when you’re considering buying a home.

Do you have other ideas or things you look for in a home? Share them with us below!


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