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Basements are popular sites for home renovations because they’re extremely versatile spaces that can be designed to fit whatever your home may need. However, knowing what to do with the space can be tricky – maybe you’re wanting something more practical than a home theater and the last thing you need is a rumpus room. If that’s the case, consider turning your basement into an income property, and making some extra cash. These five tips can help you get started.
The direction you want to take your income property is entirely up to you, and there are a lot of options out there. If you don’t want to be a full-blown landlord, you could always go for a simpler renovation and rent the space out temporarily on vacation rental sites.
So, what exactly do you need to know?
1. Building code
Step one is to check your local building code to make sure you meet the legal requirements. Your local code authority might have its own rules, but 90 percent of communities in the U.S. have adopted the standards of the International Code Council (ICC). You’ll want to inspect your space for potentially hazardous materials, such as asbestos, as well as water problems. Leaks in your foundation can lead to mold problems down the road, so you’ll want to nip those in the bud.
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2. Doors and windows
Unless you’re okay with potential tenants or guests traipsing through your personal space, you’ll want to add a secondary entrance to your basement. Building codes require at least one window for egress (emergency exit requirements). Added bonus: no one has ever complained about too much natural light. If your basement doesn’t have windows of the proper size, you may have to dig below the foundation of your house to create a window well.
Before you start raking in any extra income, your rental space will need at least one bathroom, and perhaps even a full kitchen. This will mean removing part of the concrete slab and connecting new waste and supply lines. Waste lines require enough of a slope to allow waste to travel by gravity alone. If your lines aren’t deep enough, you’ll need to install a sewage ejection pump. Alternatively, most codes call for up to 7.5 feet of clearance. The easiest way to make sure you meet this requirement might be to move some of your main house’s plumbing.
4. Sound insulation
For the sake of your new guest or tenant’s privacy – and your own – soundproofing the ceiling of your basement is an excellent idea. Installing an RC channel along the joists before putting up the drywall creates a sound break and reduces noise transmission.
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5. Plan ahead
If you’re thinking about remodeling any part of your main dwelling in the future, you should take steps now in order to reduce disruption to your new income property. Installing extra electrical circuits, and running extra waste and supply lines are good things to take care of before everything is put back together and rented out.