When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

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Mpmarvin
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When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by Mpmarvin » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:30 am

Say I have a basement that I want to make look better than what it is but I don't want to deal with permits and tax increases etc. I'm guessing some paint won't count. But if I lay some vinyl tile on the floor am I stepping into the unwanted hassles? I'm assuming framing automatically puts me smack in the middle of finished basement territory. Where's the line?

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A. Spruce
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Re: When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by A. Spruce » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:17 pm

I would say that any attempt to make a space livable will make it fall under tax assessment and code/permit requirements. Just painting the cement walls and hanging some crappy lighting, who cares, actually make it so someone would want to spend time down there and the tax man is going to want to know about it.
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Shannon
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Re: When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by Shannon » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:09 pm

Every community has slightly different rules but basically if you wanna make it “livable” you will need a permit. Contacting your local inspection branch will go be you the info for your area.
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mikeyitis
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Re: When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by mikeyitis » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:02 pm

You can do it the correct way and get a permit or you can do what I do and just say it was already there. However, if you're doing electrical work, it is wise to get a permit just in case the house burns down after the fact. But of course you can always just say it was already there...

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Shannon
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Re: When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by Shannon » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:29 pm

Adding some flooring,painting I would not even worry about but usually as soon as you start any major framing then most areas will want a permit
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A. Spruce
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Re: When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by A. Spruce » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:52 pm

Also, where more and more municipalities are tripping you up is at point of sale, the current condition of the house will be checked against what is on record, if there have been unpermitted improvements the municipality can require removal of those improvements and assess penalties for having worked without permits. Real estate agents are on the look-out for such things and thereby alerting buyers to be wary of unpermitted work as well, regardless of the quality of the work done. In most cases, selling "as is" does not apply to unpermitted work that changes the tax assessment of the property

Word to the wise, play by the rules, it will be far fewer headaches and much less expensive in the long run.
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mikeyitis
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Re: When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by mikeyitis » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:00 pm

Yeah if the basement is listed as unfinished in the property records, you would really have no choice but to get the proper permits. If it is listed as finished then they would probably never know.

Like the others have said, It really depends on the area you live in. Some places are really strict and require very thorough inspections by the city and won't let you sell until things are fixed and in order and other places don't check anything.

Maybe just pay the permit fees on any large project so you can sleep better at night.

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Mpmarvin
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Re: When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by Mpmarvin » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:44 pm

Well I did some mulling it over and I'll probably just go ahead and do it up right. It's technically listed as a partially finished basement so I guess I'm already paying up for half of it already. Even though it's old as dirt:
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A. Spruce
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Re: When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by A. Spruce » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:42 pm

It looks like a fairly simple project to modernize the space. I'd strip the 70's era paneling and install drywall. Take the opportunity to upgrade plumbing, electrical, and communications while the walls are open. Insulate as necessary. Drywall. Paint. Flooring. Done! Shouldn't take more than an afternoon or two. ;)
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mikeyitis
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Re: When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by mikeyitis » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:17 pm

Haha, an afternoon or two... You're funny A. Spruce.

It looks like your basement has good potential. Don't hesitate to post pictures when you're finished. Good luck!

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Mpmarvin
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Re: When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by Mpmarvin » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:22 pm

Yeah you know I already translated that to "a month of afternoons or two"

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A. Spruce
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Re: When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:48 pm

Hey, you know, we all work at our own pace. ;) :mrgreen:

I think we all know that I was teasing. 8-) The length of time will be based on level of finish and the expertise involved in the process. A pro would take a week or two for a basic remodel, an experience DIY'r in their spare time, probably a month or so, a DIY'r new to the craft a bit longer. In the end, none of that matters, so long as the space is transformed into your vision. 8-)
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Shannon
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Re: When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by Shannon » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:27 am

My guess is once you start getting the paneling off the outside walls you will find they are only 2x2 framing . Time will tell?
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Mastercarpentry
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Re: When is a finished basement technically a "finished basement"?

Post by Mastercarpentry » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:05 pm

Around here it is popular to finish the space above the garage and call it a "Bonus Room" which then relegates it to 'storage' space instead of 'habitable' space. Almost always it gets used as a bedroom anyway which is semi-legal since it meets code requirements for bedrooms even though it isn't being taxed as such. On selling the house a lot of folks call it another bedroom to add value, which screws up the sale and causes legal headaches when it gets discovered that it is legally not that at all.

Habitable spaces have specific requirements so as long as any one of them is not met you should still call it a partially-finished space but you'd do better to ask both the codes and tax folks locally to know how they will classify it when you're done, then approach the renovations accordingly.

Phil

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