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How to Leverage the Basement When Selling Investment Property

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As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, most investors love basements.  In fact, whenever I am in the process of buying a property, I tend to spend more time checking out the basement than any other area of the house.  The reason is that you can usually spot defects from the basement, for example rotting floor joists, water penetration, leaky pipes, etc.  Plus, a nice and clean basement tells me something about the seller, whereas a messy and unkempt basement tells the opposite story.

So whenever you are ready to sell property, if it has a basement you ought to take some time to optimize it.  First and foremost, you’ll want to get rid of the junk and conduct a thorough cleaning.  This will leave a good impression on potential buyers, and will also make the basement appear larger, both of which are good things.

Second, you’ll want to make sure that there is no dampness in the basement.  If this has been a problem during your ownership tenure, get it fixed before you try and sell because it can be a real turnoff for people.  If necessary, hire a contractor to seal the foundation, install a French drain system, adjust the grade, or whatever it takes to eliminate the water penetration.  Also utilize a dehumidifier to help keep the dampness in check.  Yes this will cost some money, but I guarantee that a property with a dry basement will sell much quicker than one with a wet basement.

Finally, consider making some cosmetic enhancements that will convert the basement into a semi-living space.  You do not have to completely finish the basement, but putting down an area rug, installing a couple of windows, concealing the utilities, and even putting up some paneling on the walls will make your basement look better than 99.9% of all other investment property basements out there.

The bottom line is that your property will sell faster if the basement is clean, empty, and dry.  And in extremely slow or competitive markets, adding some inexpensive cosmetic enhancements to convey a pseudo living space can really help your property stand out from the masses.

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