A finished basement can increase the value of your home and make it more appealing to potential buyers. For some buyers, a lack of a basement can be a deal breaker. But what if your house doesn’t even have a basement to finish? That was the case with my parents when we moved out to Palos Verdes from our Kansas City home. After about the 4th or 5th home the real estate agent showed my folks, my Dad finally asked, “… uh, where’s the basement…” I had heard of Jennifer Bell and asked her write a guest post on the topic of “Finish Your Attic to Add Value for Palos Verdes Homes”.
There is another little-used area of your home that you’re probably writing off as unusable space: the attic. A properly finished attic can provide the extra space a basement provides without putting a literal hole in the ground and a figurative hole in your wallet.
There are several steps you will need to take to finish your attic and make it a safe and livable space. Here are the most important steps to take when finishing your attic.
Finish Your Attic to Add Value for Palos Verdes Homes
6 Steps to Take When Finishing an Attic
1. Make Sure There’s Actually Enough Space
You might think there’s enough space up there, but your local building codes might disagree with you. As a general rule, your attic should be seven feet high in most places, at least seven feet wide, and provide at least 70 square feet of space.
This space needs to be available after you finish the basement. If you’re barely cutting it before it’s even finished, you’ll likely need to add more space by raising the ceiling or knocking down walls or give up on the project and just use the space for storage.
2. Figure Out Your Electricity, Heating, and Cooling Needs
How do you plan on powering the new room? Do you have heating and cooling ducts in the attic already? Will the room need a new HVAC system, or can you make do with baseboard heating and window air conditioning units?
Figure out what fits your budget and your needs best. In the summer, it will get incredibly hot in the attic because heat rises. Air conditioning of some kind will be necessary. In the winter, a pellet stove or wood-burning stove might be enough to heat the room as long as it’s properly insulated.
3. Make Sure You’re Allowed to Finish Your Attic
It’s your property; you should be allowed to do whatever you want to it, right? Wrong. If you’re messing with the electricity and ventilation, you might need a building permit.
Call the local permitting office in Rancho Palos Verdes at (310) 544-5280 to find out if you’ll need a permit to finish your attic. You can also drop by the office at 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. For Palos Verdes Estates 340 Palos Verdes Dr West, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274. For Rolling Hills Estates 4045 Palos Verdes Dr North, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274. For Rolling Hills 2 Portuguese Bend Rd, Rolling Hills, CA 90274
4. Add Sturdy Stairs & Check Your Structure
This is as much a safety concern as a convenience issue. How do you expect to get furniture up there without solid stairs? You won’t be able to get a sofa or dresser up rickety stairs, and a ladder isn’t an option either.
And once you get the furniture up there, are you sure the attic will be able to handle the weight? It’s in your best interest to have a professional inspect your home to make sure what you carry up to the attic won’t find its way back downstairs.
5. Finish Your Attic to Add Value for Palos Verdes Homes
Now that you have a solid plan, permission, and a way to safely get in and out of the attic, you can start working on finishing the basement. You will need to:
- Clean It
- Install Electrical Wiring
- Install an Insulated Subfloor
- Insulate the Walls
- Add Drywall and a Ceiling
- Paint the Walls
- Choose Your Flooring
All of these steps can be completed by yourself or by a professional. Home Appraising Group, an NJ home appraiser, recommends calling a professional to install electrical wiring and the walls and floor. This will ensure it’s done properly and will increase the value of your home the most.
6. Design Your New Room
This is probably the most fun part of the finish your attic to add value to Palos Verdes homes projects. If you’re selling your house, you get to stage it perfectly for a potential buyer. Keep things simple, and make sure the room fits the style of the rest of the house.
If you’re going to continue living in the house, you get to personalize it for you. If you’re fortunate to have property in Rancho Palos Verdes with a view of the water, you can even install a deck to the roof of your house. A door can lead from your new attic room to the deck. Check with the local permitting office again to see if you’ll need a permit to build the deck.
What will you use your new attic room for? Will it be a bedroom or an office? Is it the perfect spot for a quiet reading nook? Let us know in the comments below!
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey