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Renting out Your Basement

Some homeowners consider their basement a wasted space. It's used for storage, they say, and maybe during tornado watches, but for the most part, it can be a vast unused area just dying for some renovation. With property values on the rise, many homeowners toy with the idea of turning that space into a rental property.
If you've thought about renting out your basement, there are a few important things you should know first.
First of all, you have to clear it with the authorities. Head to your local building department and find out whether or not rentals are allowed in the area where your house is situated. If they're not, renting- even just your basement- is not going to happen. If you are allowed to rent your space, you must make sure it clears all building codes. These involve having the required electrical systems (outlets, light switches, and wiring), exits, smoke detectors, ventilation, and the ability to heat and cool the space. Some areas have much stricter building codes than others, so it's important to check what applies in your neighborhood. In order to make your basement a rental, you'll have to bring it up to speed.
Many homeowners hit a stumbling block when it comes to the doorway factor. Having a tenant in the basement means that the tenant needs their own entrance and exit that opens to the outside. It can cost big bucks to remodel a basement door into a usable entrance, and some basements don't have a door to the outside at all, which means construction costs will be first on your list.
Even if your basement meets all of the above requirements, there's still work to do. Unless you have a particular tenant in mind and know their needs, you must realize that your city is probably full of apartments, and your basement has to compete. This probably means the installation of painted drywall, carpeting, and other small amenities (including a bathroom and kitchen area!) to make this space truly appealing. Is this beginning to sound like a big investment yet?
Before you make the plunge of building a basement rental, it's strongly suggested that you think seriously about whether or not you truly want a tenant. Unless, as stated before, you have a particular tenant in mind, you will have to go through a screening process before allowing a stranger to essentially live in your home. Also keep in mind that your basement, unlike apartments in a complex, was not built to be a separate living space, and there will be sound leaks and other nuisances that might pose problems. It's a big jump to go from a private home to a private home with another private home beneath it. Make sure it's a jump you want to take before you start laying out the cash to make it happen.

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About The Author:
Peter Dobler is a veteran in the IT business. His passion for experimenting with new internet marketing strategies leads him to explore new niche markets.
Read more about his experience with real estate; visit

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