This is a recent picture of a basement from a model home we walked through, and is a topic of great discussion amongst our household of whether or not to go ahead and finish ours. The discussion never fails to grow into subjects ranging from age of kids, usability, eliminating existing clutter, how suh-weet it would be compared to our dungeon, but also, why bother?
The “Why bother” is that my wife and I go back and forth about whether to keep this house in the first place. We’ve tossed around relocating closer to my work (to eliminate commute costs/ 50m per day= 6k per year based on the latest I’ve heard from economists,) and just finding a better place to suit us (nicer, newer, more space, etc.) Our current house is a 4 bedroom 2 1/2 bathroom, but has lots of square footage.
In our day of venturing through model homes we did get a nice wake up when we spoke to the realtor about price… Double our mortgage payment. Cough, cough, hack.. Huh? Double= $540,000 over the course of a strategic 15 year payoff for early retirement. That was for a 315k new home after we used equity for a down payment.
Realization flowed after that tour. We are way ahead in this real estate game. Knowing that we owe less than half that amount that we can still pay off in (barring catastrophe) 7 or 8 years made us start liking our house much more.
So, on to the basement. Questions and answers to follow..
Do we need the space? Yes and no. My wife’s son (11) and daughter (19) live with us, but my three sons (19,17,15) don’t live with us year-round. They are getting to the point of being done with high school over the next couple of years. It’s not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but all three (big kids) share a room. My middle guy is thinking of attending Colorado School of Mines, which is within driving range (if the school allows it) from the house. Im thinking, enough is enough, he will need his own room. Our daughter is 19 and we’re thinking she will want to get out on her own soon. Some coming/some going, but there will always be at least a couple kids here. I’m not even going to touch on the subject of aging grandparents.. 🙂
Could you modify upstairs to add a room or two to lessen the cost of finishing the basement? Yes and no again. Some call it a bonus room. Some call it a home theatre room 🙂 Either way, we have one of these upstairs. It currently houses various couches, chairs, xbox, surround sound. It’s pretty cool. The problem is that the space isn’t big enough to hold two rooms. It could make one big room for two to share. Still better than stuffing three teenagers into a small room.
Is the basement large enough for a couple rooms? YES! It’s huge. In fact, the project looks so overwhelming that I haven’t even considered what it would cost to frame, drywall, and add a bathroom (it is plumbed for it). A big chunk of change certainly, but could end up looking like that kick-ass picture at the top plus 2 more bedrooms.
There are retirement plans to mention as well. We can payoff this house in the next few years (quicker if there’s no remodel) and rent it out to move on to the next. The 100% rental income would be nice to have to help pay for the next house. Or we remodel (one way or another), pay off the house, and purchase a home specifically to rent out. One more or… we remodel, pay it off, and put everything into investments after that. Plus travel, maybe an RV, who knows. What could you do if you didn’t have a mortgage payment ever again.
So what do we do?? Anyone face this conundrum?